BmBZXLECEAA5-TYThe GBT – The Good, The Bad and The Telling sandwich, where The Bad is nice and lean and the The Telling is ripe.

Twins 9, RAYS 7 (boxscore)

THE GOOD: Desmond Jennings. Have you seen The Catch?Ben Zobrist. Zorilla is once again quietly having a very good season. Three more hits yesterday and he is now hitting .310 with a .404 OBP and an .845 OPS.

THE BAD: Erik Bedard. A commenter said it best yesterday, there is a reason Bedard couldn’t find a job when he asked for his release from the Rays in spring training. There were 150 starting pitchers at the start of the season and not one team, including the Rays, thought he was better than one of their five. In his last two starts, Bedard has allowed 17 baserunners and 8 runs in just 7.2 innings. But really it’s the walks. At his best, Bedard was 92-93 with his fastball. Last year Bedard was 89.5. This year it is down to 88.3 mph. When that happens to some pitchers, they start to get afraid to throw the ball in the strikezone and try to hard to get hitters to swing at bad pitches. At his best, Bedard walked 3 batters per 9 innings. Last year he was at 4.5 walks per 9 innings. This year it is up to 6.5. He needs to start trusting the defense behind and be more aggressive in the strikezone.

THE TELLING: The Rays had their first themed road trip of the season, hats (above)…Michael Pineda of the Yankees was suspended 10 games by Major League Baseball but will probably miss just one start because of an off-day. That means he will miss 6-7 innings. Joel Peralta was suspended 8 games and probably missed 3-4 innings…Juan Carlos Oviedo pitched in his first game since 2011 when he was known as Leo Nunez…In 21 games, Leslie Anderson is hitting .364 with 4 home runs for the Yomiuri Giants in Japan.

THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • “Why Pitchers Use Pine Tar.” [BI Sports]
  • Joe Maddon with the best quote yet on legalizing pine tar: “I’m in favor of legalizing pine tar, but it’s usage may have to begin with the Rockies and Mariners.” [@RaysJoeMaddon]
  • When it comes to beer prices, the Trop is in the middle of the pack among all pro sports teams. [BI Sports]
  • Several Durham Bulls hitters are off to very good starts, including Jerry Sands. [WDBB]
  • Mason Foster is the new play-caller on defense for the Bucs. [JoeBucsFan]
  • DOWN ON THE FARM [boxscores]: Matt Andriese gave up 4 runs (3 earned) in 7 innings. Wilson Betemit hit his 4th home run and had a pair of walks…In double-A, Victor Mateo had his second straight start in which he threw 7 shutout innings. This time he also had 9 strikeouts and just 1 walk. Ryan Brett was 3-5 to raise his average to .294…Andrew Toles had 2 doubles and a single and Tyler Goeddel went 4-5 with a double for Charlotte.

At the 0:50 mark of this video, watch Leslie Anderson hit a grand slam in Japan.

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12 Comments

  1. Dave L says:

    Right now we are starting our #1, 5, 6, 7 and 8 starters. For the time being we are stuck with what we have no use crying about it. We will get spot starts from some Durham arms and relievers will shuttle in as well.

    Good news is that our "winning the game" pen has been good. No blown saves (only team in MLB) but with only 4 save opportunities (least in MLB) they dont get much productive work. They have held us in close games.

    The "losing the game" pen for the Rays is never very good and usually we can hide thier deficiencies with deep working starters which have evaporated. So we get exposed. DFAing everyone struggling in April is not an option for a responsible MLB organization but it makes for good venting on fan sites.

    Actually I am pleseantly surprised with Bell's arm, last night not so good. He is just getting way too much work. He's worth only 3 outs max IMO. Hes appeared in 9 games already. Belle (12) and Lueke (13.1) have more innings than anyone in the pen so far but what can we do? Its so many big leads and big deficits, thus the only 4 aformentioned SO. You cant burn our "good" pen in hopeless causes.

    Fausto Leo Carlos Oviedo might help us now that the Feds have finished working him over the coals for the mismanagement by his 'advisors' as a youth

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    • ken says:

      We'll soon see the Rays way of approaching this difficult situation. Rather than wholesale "DFAing" I believe the stat boys will find 15 days (2-3 starts) for a Bull pitching well and DL (Dead Limb) Ramos, Bedard or Ordo for those same days. Other than Kelly none of our AAA pitchers have been consistent to date. The rest need seasoning. I look for the Rays to try anything reasonable to hang tight until mid June then begin to solidify.
      I do look for them to address the RH bench issue soon. We do need a bit more balance there. Sands, Betemit and Figuroa seem to be the likely candidates to move up while Forsythe and Guyer seem to be on the bubble to move down.
      Outside of the wonderful Jennings catch, yesterday's most memorable moment came watching Molina run the base paths. He was seriously chugging. Gotta love it.

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  2. Dean says:

    Good points, Dave L. As fans it's easy to lose perspective and not realize how long the season is and how many games there are still to be played. I'm not blind we're in a difficult situation here because of our pitching injuries and over-reliance on the pen. We have to somehow stay within 5 or so games of the leaders until Cobb and Helly get back, hopefully by late May.

    They might be curse for it by a lot of fans, but thank goodness Maddon and Friedman are patient. They've both forgotten more about running team than any of us will ever know. Have faith the boys will turn it around.

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  3. Man, Dave, I don't know what you're smoking, but it must be good stuff. Bell, Lewke and Bedard need to be released/optioned immediately.

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    • DRR says:

      And replace them with whom, exactly?

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    • Dave L says:

      Yes answer the question please. And when that knee jerk, can't take it back, Late April move when we are around .500 yields the same level of pitching results or worse, what then?

      Bring the 'hot' guys up from the Biscuits?

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      • Rob says:

        Guyer - replace with Keirmeyer. Guyer is 28, so this is supposed to be his best year statistically and we're not seeing much. No advantage for either at the plate, but Keirmeyer brings + defense, + speed, + arm and a left-handed bat off the bench

        Forsythe - replace with Figueroa for now until Lee is ready to be called up. Forsythe is redundant. Bringing up Keirmeyer and Figueroa balances the bench. Two lefties, two righties. An infielder, an outfielder, and a guy (Rodriguez) who can play either.

        Bell - replace with Boxberger. Bell is obviously not in baseball shape and he's going to cause a bench clearing brawl at some point because he keeps hitting batters. Send him to Durham to work it out, put him on a diet and give Boxberger a shot. By the way, are we on the hook for all of Bell's $5m? If so, that's a bad deal.

        Leuke - replace with Riefenhauser. Riefenhauser may not have had a great outcome in his appearance, but his stuff looks really good (and Bell put him behind the 8 ball right away when he did come in). Time to let Leuke go for good.

        Bedard - replace with Romero or Montgomery. I know they are not lighting it up in Durham and they are probably not ready, but Bedard is going to ruin our bullpen if we don't make a change.

        Ramos - stick with him for now. I have not been a believer, but I did see signs of improvement in his last outing.

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        • ken says:

          Rob, I for one, and probably some other fans who post on here, can see the logic behind each of the proposed moves. If Steinbrenner and Martin ran the team all the moves would be happening soon. If they didn't work out they'd just keep throwing money around until something did. But they don't run it...So, let me say this, rank those moves from most to least important, then figure a way to implement them slowly, very slowly, without losing too many existing assets, dented or not.
          Keep in mind that each move has an impact on team chemistry. Making all those moves right now would have a negative effect both at the big league level and below as far down as AA.
          My life long buddy in Durham, retired like I, attends most Bulls games and raves about Figuroa. He's starting his 2nd year there and has had pretty nice stats since turning pro. He'd be my first move.
          One other point: look at our schedule, from 6/12 to 6/26, we play 13 games in 15 days, 7 against Houston. Might be a perfect time to give one or two AAA arms a shot, especially if Cobber and Helly aren't ready yet. Go Rays, and Go Rays fans, patience is a virtue.

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        • Dave L says:

          Ok good job. All possibilities for the future. Just not all right now. Romero will probably get a spot start maybe in place of Bedards next start. If he does well...lets see then.

          Its too early to give up on Guyer for an even weaker bat. But all ae good plan B's

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  4. Drew says:

    Sure they can wait and see on all these guys but I'm fairly certain that whatever 'good' they may do for the team down the road will not outweigh what 'bad' they have already done

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  5. Gus says:

    You can't keep giving away games via Bell and Lueke (3 in that llast week). We have better options; none of those guys is turning into Kyle Farnsworth. Lueke knows his time is up here, the only reason he made the team is that he's out of options.

    These losses are Friedman's losses. A failure of upper management. They do lots of great things, but are not infalliable. Lueke, Bedard and Bell cannot get meaningful innings.

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  6. chris says:

    Guys, you are putting too much blame on the bullpen. They are having to work 4-5 innings a night right now. The problem is in the starting pitching. If that were shored up (losing Cobb and Moore really hurt) the bullpen would look just fine.

    The Rays have to think about finding a starting pitcher somewhere and hope Cobber and Helly make it back real soon.

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