USATSI_7903082_154511044_lowresThe GBT – The Good, The Bad and The Telling sandwich, where The Bad is nice and lean and the The Telling is ripe.

Orioles 4, RAYS 3 (boxscore)

THE GOOD: Cesar Ramos. That was exactly what you hope for from a guy that is supposed to be in the bullpen, 5.2 innings and 2 runs…Yunel Escobar. How good is this guy defensively? It’s nuts. He makes a gold glove-level play every night including a reaching grab on a line drive and a sweet turn on a double-play started by Ben Zobrist. But maybe my favorite part of his defense is his arm. 99% of his throws to first base hit James Loney smack dab in the middle of his chest. Remember how good Carlos Pena was at scooping bad throws? That was because we saw him do it all the time. With this infield, we almost never see a bad throw.

THE BAD: Brandon Gomes. We were a little surprised to see Gomes in high leverage situations early in the season and it seemed to indicate a new, bigger role for Gomes in the bullpen. But can Joe Maddon keep going to him in tied and 1-run games? In 3 of his last 11 appearances Gomes has allowed multiple runs and in another one he allowed an inherited runner to score. The problem is, Grant Balfour, Joel Peralta, and Jake McGee are already slated for innings 7-9. Josh Lueke is the White Flag pitcher and Brad Boxberger just got here and is probably not ready for regular appearances in big spots. That leaves Gomes and Juan Carlos Oviedo. So Maddon will have to keep going back to Gomes occasionally as long as starting pitchers continue to get knocked out early.

THE TELLING: The Rays have now lost 4 in a row at home…The loss was the Rays’ first 1-run loss since August 31 of last season.

THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • Jake McGee recently had a pitch clocked at 101.7 mph. [TBO.com]
  • Joe Maddon would like to see Joel Peralta get back to using his fastball more. [TampaBay.com]
  • DOWN ON THE FARM [boxscoresEnny Romero was pounded for 5 runs in 5.2 innings for Durham as he struggled with his control, walking 6. Robby Price hit his first home run of the season and Mikie Mahtook went 2-5 with his 5th stolen base…Ryan Brett went 1-2 with a walk and stole his 7th base for Montgomery.

We are declaring a new nickname for Josh Lueke.

01

What a beautiful double-play.

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12 Comments

  1. Ken says:

    One step forward, two steps back...didn't watch the game due to being out of town but did check in during the 9th on MLB...first and third, one out, Zorilla up, figured we'd tie it up at the very least...a few minutes later, Rays lose. During our playoff years we win both games againall ups won't help, firing Shelton won't helpst the O's, this year we don't, at least not yet. I'm sure JoMa stressed during his post game that we hit the ball hard, had some bad luck, blah, blah, blah. Fact is that, up and down the lineup and in the pen, the players we count on are not getting it done. AAA call ups won't help, firing Shelton won't help, nor will salsa bands, penguins, or Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders. Wish I was smart enough to know what would help, but I'm not. We're fortunate for the parity in the AL East right now. I do know that this team is seriously under achieving right now and that's got to stop soon...End of Rant, Go Rays.

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  2. Rob says:

    Seems like the Rays are sleepwalking a bit - would like to see a little more cripsness out of them. Zobrist's error is an example of what I'm talking about. By the way, Zo seems to have been at the plate quite a bit this year in crucial ABs and he has hasn't pulled through in many of them so far this year.

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  3. Mike says:

    Gomes problem is that he is being overused because our starters are not going deep enough. 16 appearances only 34 games into the season is way too many for him considering he only pitched in 42 games total last year. Add to that he has often been called on to pitch more than 1 inning and you see why he is having trouble. Very few pitchers can handle that work load and be successful, and there is no reason to think at this stage of his career Gomes is one of them. Maybe in a few years, but it is too much to expect out of the guy this year. He can be a great reliever if he used less frequently or if he is only expected to through an inning at a time.

    Lueke is being overused too, but he is primarily just picking up mop up innings and I don't care if we waste him.

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    • Dave L says:

      Precisely. Your second tier bullpen guys always have flaws in thier game. Last years low leverage guys were Jamie Wright and Ramos. And Gomes was used primarily as he is this year but was not exposed as much.

      Lueke actually pitched a scoreless inning for the record although he did give up a line drive and bloop hit. There was no damage. And he and McGee, whos lately our best reliever, kept us in the game

      As I noted he has the fewest walks per 9 on the team behind Price and thats a good thing. So he's a strike thrower which every pitching coach wants that. Unfortunately when your stuff isn't as good as Prices and your K% is half of DP that means more hits, so its best to avoid bringing him in the middle of a bad inning.

      If you want to analyze the usage of the pen and haven't committed the season to memory try this and scroll down to "Team Relief Pitching"

      http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/TBR/2014-pitching.shtml

      Alot of interesting stats there

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  4. starmand says:

    Just like hitting and pitching, it seems that dozing off during a game is contagious. For both players and spectators.

    Fortunately, for those suffering from insomnia it's a blessing.

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  5. BB says:

    Actually, I dont remember Pena making all those glove saves (relative to the league). I never thought he was a particularly good first baseman, regardless of the gold glove.

    This is admittedly a terrible analysis, but it does show that one of these things is not like the others:

    Year - 1st Baseman - Total Team Errors
    2008 - Pena - 90
    2009 - Pena - 98
    2010 - Pena - 85
    2011 - Kotchman - 73
    2012 - Pena - 114
    2013 - Loney - 59

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    • Cork Gaines says:

      Pena was not a good first baseman in 2012, something that has been discussed at length elsewhere. But his first couple of years with the Rays he was one of the best defensive first basemen in baseball.

      The other difference in that analysis is this

      Year – Shortstop – Total Team Errors
      2008 – Bartlett – 90
      2009 – Bartlett – 98
      2010 – Bartlett – 85
      2011 – Brignac – 73
      2012 – Elliot Johnson – 114
      2013 – Escobar – 59

      One of these things is not like the others.

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      • Gus says:

        The upgrade in throwing from Elliot Johnson to Escobar is night and day; that said Zobrist was the SS for the last third of the 2012 season when the Rays got hot.

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  6. Beth says:

    Indeed, this sort of over-exposure will quickly reveal the flaws in any bullpen. Normally, having good 7th, 8th and 9th inning guys should be sufficient -- you then only see the rest of the bullpen doing more than mop-up work only if a starter struggles or a game goes into extra innings.

    That said, it would be nice to see a more effective Gomes. I know he struggles against lefties, but he's got to be able to keep it in the park against righties.

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  7. Joe Dunn says:

    Cork - - I used to Love Pena and thought he was SUCH a NICE GUY!!

    I recently heard from a very good source that he was out of himself only and not well liked in dugout - - - true??

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    • Cork Gaines says:

      I had not heard that. I doubt they would have brought him back if it was a concern unless he was just different his last year.

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