USATSI_7923244_154511044_lowresThe GBT – The Good, The Bad and The Telling sandwich, where The Bad is nice and lean and the The Telling is ripe.

RAYS 5, A’s 2 (11) (boxscore)

THE GOOD: Alex Cobb. Wow. It was like he never missed a day. Even with a pitch count of 90-100 pitches (He threw 96), Cobb tossed 6.2 shutout innings with 6 Ks and 2 walks…Hot Rod. You gotta hand it to Sean Rodriguez. He has really embraced this Zorilla Jr. role. That is, he is a utility player, but he really doesn’t play that often (mostly vs lefties). But for a bench guy, he is versatile, plays steady, if not spectacular, defense, and quite often comes up with a big hit. He’s been doing this for a while and I’ve never once heard him complain or even hint at a complaint about playing time. Dude has a job. He does it. And he does it pretty well.

THE BAD: Grant Balfour. This is not going to change. Unless Grant Balfour suddenly finds an extra 2-3 mph on his fastball, this is going to be a struggle all season and a lot of it is mental. Balfour is an adrenaline junkie and that means trying to overpower batters. But right now he doesn’t have the confidence to do that and instead of unleashing his furor on hitters, he is unleashing it on himself. The result was his second blown save. That being said, Balfour did a solid job rebounding after the save was blown. I’ve said it before, I hate leaving closers in after they blow saves. There always seems to be a let down. But with the bases loaded and just one out, Balfour kept the game tied with a couple of easy fly balls…The White Flag. If you ever wanted the perfect example of how silly the Win stat is for relievers, this game was it. Josh Lueke comes in, presumably because nobody else was available. He gives up a leadoff double who eventually scores on a sac fly. Lueke left the mound in line for the loss. But because the Rays rallied in the bottom of the 11th inning, Lueke’s loss turned into a win even though he did nothing different.

THE TELLING: Cole Figueroa picked up his first big league hit with a groundball through the right side in the 7th inning…The Rays actually looked like they were going to play a game in under three hours. But then Balfour blew the save requiring an extra 2.5 innings of baseball. So of course the game took 3:45…Ben Zobrist is hoping to return a week from today against the Red Sox. Also, Jeremy Hellickson threw a live batting practice.

THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • Some fans booed Grant Balfour. Other fans got mad at the people who booed. I don’t boo players. But I also figure if you paid money to go to the game, you can boo whomever you want. Just keep it clean. As for Balfour, he says the booing is “not going to help me out…it’s not a good vibe. The fans have got to be pulling for the team, everyone’s got to be pulling for the team. You can’t be going back and forth like that.” [TampaBay.com]
  • It’s time for some Durham Bulls charts! [WDBB]
  • Somebody redesigned all of the MLB stadium logos, including The Trop. [imgur]
  • SportsCenter is about to get a makeover. Here’s what it will look like. [BI Sports]
  • DOWN ON THE FARM [boxscores] The Bulls rallied with 1 run in the 8th to tie the game on a Vince Belnome RBI single and then took the lead with 2 runs in the 9th on a Kevin Kiermaier double. Enny Romero struck out 5 and walked 3, giving up 2 runs in 4 innings. His ERA is now 4.73…Richie Shaffer hit his 7th home run for Montgomery. He added a double, a single, and a walk. He is hitting just .232. But 19 of his 29 hits are for extra bases…Jaime Schultz’ first two starts of the year for Bowling Green have been impressive. The 14th round pick in last year’s draft struck out 12 of the 22 batters he faced in 5.2 shutout innings yesterday. He gave up 2 hits and 3 walks. He has yet to allow a run in 2 starts (10.1 ip) and has 21 Ks and 4 walks.

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17 Comments

  1. JMN says:

    S. Rod needs to be playing a lot more than he does. He is the only one with any life in his bat right now.

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    • Gus says:

      S-Rod should get time at 2b with Zobrist out.

      Molina's offense is truly historic. Has any non-pitcher had a worse season than this is shaping out for our beloved catcher? His re-signing may be the single worst move ever made in Rays history. .121 avg. .161 obp. 7 hits all season. 0 RBI. 1 run scored! His runs scored per plate appearance may be an all-time low for non pitchers. He can only score on an HR it would seem.

      Dude need to retire this weekend. He just can't play anymore.

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      • Sarah says:

        It will be hard to win the "worst signing" prize as long as Pat Burrell's $16 million contract is still out there.

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  2. Drew says:

    Well, I guess some other good news is the Red Sux have lost 7 straight. No one is running away with the division any time soon.

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  3. Paco says:

    Booing your own team/players is a sign of low intelligence. Yeah, you paid money and you can do whatever you want. But you might as well bring your sign if you're going to boo your own players. The ONLY valid reason to boo your own players if it there is clearly a lack of effort. If a guy is playing hard, but struggling, booing is most certainly not going to help. And about 99% of the time, the team isn't going to have a better option than the player who's struggling. Sure, Maddon could put McGee or somebody in as closer, but then somebody has to pitch the 7th inning and you've got $12 million committed to Balfour. If you truly want the team to succeed, you support the players when they're struggling and hopefully they'll improve. Why would you boo? Do you think Balfour feels good about blowing the lead? Will making him feel worse help improve his confidence for the next outing? Nope and nope. Booing has ZERO positive effects, other than pointing out who the entitled jerks are in the crowd. So thanks for that, i guess.

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    • bbmern says:

      Well said, Paco. I'm going to the game tonight and, hopefully, we'll continue to help Boston continue with their losing streak. The walk-off win yesterday was huge for us and hope it will propel this team to do better, especially Grant Balfour who I so want to see succeed.

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    • Skateman says:

      Whether we have $12 million committed to Balfour is irrelevant. He's a sunk cost. The money is already effectively gone. Better to acknowledge the bad decision and put somebody else in there that can actually save games.

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      • Paco says:

        If you have someone that could do it better, perhaps. McGee, maybe. Don't see anyone else capable at this point. Then you still have to try to do something with Balfour. The best solution is for Balfour to turn it around. I'm not saying you're wrong and that we shouldn't make a change, i'm just saying that it's not an open and shut case.

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        • Skateman says:

          Oveido. Put Balfour into lower leverage situations. Maybe he can work his way back. If not, cut bait and accept that a bad decision was made.

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  4. Dean says:

    Why boo when you can come here and rip 'em?

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  5. ken says:

    If there was a stat for failing to hit with RISP we'd be booing the whole team besides Loney.

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  6. john says:

    its LONGO who should be booed! he is so bad at bat. back in Philly when Mike Schmit was going bad fans would boo him and he would respond by performing like the allstar he was.!

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  7. Dave L says:

    I like Jake McGee just where he is. IMO he is our best relief pitcher and he is in the most difficult high leverage situations not Balfour. Balfour's job is a piece of cake compared to McGee's

    How many runners has Balfour in inherited? Zero. All his disasters were of his own making. So now you want him to inherit runners in the 7th? Thats suicide with his walk rate.

    Guess how many runners Jake inherited? 13 (third on the team) and guess how many scored? ZERO. I dont want to waste our best bullpen arm trying to hold a 3 run lead in the ninth. Other guys like Gomes and Lueke have slightly more IR but they are in lost causes usually or big leads and they have allowed 35% and 57% to score respectively.

    McGee comes in when the starter is gassing and he's just walked a guy or 2 or given up a hit and usually has no outs. McGee comes in when the teams collective b*lls are in a vice. A closer job is cake comparatively.

    Jake is our bullpen ace and he is just where he needs to be.

    A closer job like Balfour is easy by comparison. The Rays aren't going to give up on Balfour 50 games into a 300 game commitment but if they do JC Oviedo could do just as well as Balfour at this stage.

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    • ken says:

      Agreed Dave. let's not mess with Jake right now. Maybe next year he takes over Peralta's role. Here's a thought on Balfour. I don't believe we lost a draft pick by signing him and we didn't lose a player either. His contract is back loaded so we haven't even paid him Heath Bell money yet. Continue to use him to close, but pick the spots carefully. Begin blending Oviedo into the closer slot during the next 6 weeks. Trade Balfour to the NL if the opportunity arises close to the deadline. I'm sure we could get at least a decent AA prospect for him. Addition by subtraction.

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  8. Rob says:

    If he doesn't want to get booed then he should grow a pair and challenge hitters instead of pitching around them with junk and giving them free passes.

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  9. ed williams says:

    i wouldn't boo any rays player, well maybe molina, lol but as far as i know you paid good money to get into the game, so if you want to boo go ahead and boo, i like balfour i said when they brought him bad at least now we have some fire back, something we have been lacking. But he has not been as good as advertised. But than again i didn't expect much more than what he was when he was here last. Oviedo looks like he might be able to do the job, but you have to give Grant a chance. Oh by the way, don't slam the people who pay your paycheck Grant, just go out there and shut them up, GO RAYS

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