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

Angels 6, RAYS 5 (boxscore)

THE GOOD: Brandon Guyer. I don’t know how Joe Maddon can get Guyer more playing time with so many outfielders on the roster, but this guy needs it. Fantastic game last night with a home run, an RBI single, and a great catch. Not bad considering it was his first start in a week…Erik Bedard. As we discussed after his last start, there are reasons to be worried that Bedard is eventually going to come back to something a lot less dominating. But for now, he is pitching well, and getting lucky, and the results have been great.

THE BAD: Joe Maddon. When you do things that go against what most people will do, it is going to fail sometimes. And if we are going to praise Maddon when it works, he deserves just as much criticism when it doesn’t. I’m a big believer in pulling a closer the second he blows a save. But what is the point of having a 9th inning guy and paying him all that money if Maddon is going to pull him after 3 batters and the Rays still have the lead? Yes, Balfour looked bad, walking 2 and giving up a single. But you go out there. You insult his mom or his wife or something. You piss him off and then hope things work out. You don’t pull him for a rookie with one of the best hitters in baseball coming to the plate. I love Brad Boxberger. But is there anybody in the world that would want Boxberger over Balfour in that situation? Maddon did and it backfired. Trout hit that ball so well, Boxberger was walking to the dugout before Trout finished his swing…Brad Boxberger. When Boxberger struck out 3 batters on 9 pitches I praised him for not being afraid to start off with a changeup when the batter was clearly looking for a rookie to throw a fastball. Trout is a different creature. He may have been sitting fastball on the first pitch and sure enough Boxberger threw a change and Trout took it for a strike. The second pitch, just before the home run, was the big one. Boxberger went with a changeup again and kept it even lower seeing if he could get Trout to chase it. He did not, giving a faint check swing. That should have been a HUGE indicator that Trout was not only ready for the changeup, but he had it timed and was seeing it well. Boxberger should have never thrown a 3rd changeup. He did and Trout crushed it. Game over.

THE TELLING: Cole Figueroa took out the lineup card for his first big league game…Alex Cobb will make a rehab start on Saturday with Charlotte and could rejoin the rotation as early as next Thursday. Jeremy Hellickson is now targeting a late-June return.

THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • Here is the positive side of this year’s Rays story. It might make you feel a little better. [Sports on Earth]
  • DOWN ON THE FARM [boxscores] Both Durham and Charlotte were rained out.
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15 Comments

  1. Ken says:

    "We've had a couple [of tough losses in 2014]," Maddon said. "The one in Chicago was difficult. This one was also very difficult. You can't take too many mulligans like this. There's not that many available." (posted by Bill Chastain of MLB).
    Dear Joe, just like crying, there are NO mulligans in baseball. I, for one, am tired of your pop-philosophical quips. I'm also tired of the inordinate amount of credit you receive when the Rays are doing well and the total lack of blame you admit to when they're not. Your half-assed in-game decisions are getting tiresome. You have NO mulligans left in my book.

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  2. Bobby Fenton says:

    I have to say, I didn't have a problem with him lifting Balfour. You come in and walk two guys with a multi-run lead like that, screw you. And if Balfour isn't happy about it, then stop dicking around and walking guys. But he can't stop because he can't locate his fastball because it has lost its velocity so he tries to nibble. This will keep happening and he won't be the closer by year's end.

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    • OriginalTom says:

      I was asleep before the 9th inning but I, too, have no problem with lifting Balfour.

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    • Beth says:

      Even worse, you come in and walk the # 8 and 9 batters.....maybe switching to Boxburger wasn't the right move, but Balfour was certainly quite capable of blowing that game on his own. Blame Grant for failing to get it done.

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    • Dave L says:

      Yes I agree, Maddons decisions didnt lead to a win, but after the granting of ball four to #8 and 9 and the leadoff man getting a hit, can anyone seriously argue leaving the Aussie in would have been a smart move as well?

      He was a mess. He was scared sh*tless to try to locate a fastball. Against the heart of the order he was doomed.

      So Maddon tried to catch lightning in a bottle twice in an identical situation with Boxy but it failed spectacularly. At least the coup de grace was executed with swiftness. Boxberger deserves little blame. He already had a "mulligan" in bases loaded.

      The sad thing was all the positives and momentum that was wiped out in one half of an inning by weak, horrible pitching by Balfour.

      Some here have tried to claim other relievers 'lost games' by allowing inherited runners to score or not holding on to a tenuous 1 run lead for 1 or 2 innings.

      Now THAT was was a reliever losing a game truly looks like. Remember that next time.

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  3. Rob says:

    Seems like the entire staff is walking more guys than usual, but Balfour seems to walk at least two everytime he's in there. I don't have a problem with Maddon sending him a message by pulling him for a rookie. He is giving up 6+ runs per nine innings. Completely unacceptable.

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  4. bbmern says:

    I am never comfortable when Balfour comes in to "save" the day. He totally sucks to this point. I watched the game while they were up by three runs and went to bed with high hopes. So disappointed to see the outcome this morning but not totally surprised. Maddon can't be too comfy with him either when he pulls him out, though I don't blame him because I would have felt more comfortable with Boxy. Ah, another game bites the dust.

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  5. little ray says:

    the move was absurd. we hired balfour to close out games. baltimore didnt want him. why? boxberger is a little league pitcher up against trout. come on? maddon lost that game. balfour peralta and company. there garage sale pitchers. and when is longoria gonna take it to the next level? we need 35 hrs each out of will and evan. but we keep winning by the skin of our teeth or losing the same way. meanwhile maddon is thinking up his next theme trip instead of studying laRussa

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  6. Gus says:

    Maybe the Orioles knew something we didn't about Balfour?

    The bigger money free agent signings/contract assumptions of the winter of 2013-14 continue to disappoint.

    That said, signing Eric Bedard out of the scrap heap for no $ looks like the acquisition of the century. That may have been the best pitched game out of a Rays starter all season, even with some awful defense behind him. Maddon's quick hook there burned the bullpen a little early (again). Brandon Gomes has lost all confidence and needs to go to AAA to get right.

    Maybe McGee becomes the closer when Ramos gets back to the bullpen.

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  7. Dean says:

    I, too, was not lifting an eyebrow when Ballfour was yanked. He tried to make a mess out of a 7-0 victory over the Indians on Saturday, and, really, walking those two bum 8 and 9 hitters and allowing Cowgirl to drive in a run in the ninth last night ... unacceptable.

    These aren't the good times.

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  8. Ken says:

    So where does that leave us? The net effects of Maddon's decision last night: Balfour now knows Maddon has little confidence in him and Boxburger's confidence, after a stellar appearance, suffers a setback as well.
    For the last four years we've had closers who, from time to time, got into jams like Balfour did last night. I can't recall Maddon pulling Farnsworth, Soriano or Rodney as quickly as he did Balfour last night.
    If Balfour simply doesn't have it anymore, why did we sign him? What do we do with him going forward? Closer by committee, we all know that doesn't work. Release him, not likely. Admit that, like Bell,we screwed up? 17 million in screw-up's and it's only May makes me shudder.

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  9. Geoff Peterson says:

    It's time for McGee to be the closer. Balfour can be the 7th or 8th inning guy along with Peralta but you can't be the closer if you're not earning it.

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    • Beth says:

      Why, so Balfour can blow the lead in the 7th, rather than the 9th? There's nothing special about being the "closer." Either you can be trusted in high leverage situations, or you can't.

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  10. Beth says:

    Doesn't the catcher call the pitches? Not sure the poor pitch selection is necessarily Boxburger's poor judgement.

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  11. buccanAy says:

    At least, you're a fan.

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