USATSI_7946756_154511044_lowresThe GBT – The Good, The Bad and The Telling sandwich, where The Bad is nice and lean and the The Telling is ripe.

Mariners 3, RAYS 0 (boxscore)

THE GOOD: Good? Yeah, right.

THE BAD: David Price. Guess who had yet another start where he looked like the best pitcher in baseball, you know, except for that one inning where he looked like Andy Sonnanstine…Desperation. You can’t be the Tampa Bay Rays and act like you are smarter than every other team in baseball and then search CraigsList and call in a SEMINOLE INDIAN MEDICINE MAN to try to reverse any bad fortune that may or may not be haunting the Rays. And OH MY GOD it rained during the game. Maybe the medicine man made it rain, you know, instead of making more hits and runs. Because, you know, rain is what the Rays need right now. And wow, an afternoon shower in St. Pete in the summer? What a miracle. HOLY WHAT THE F*** HAS HAPPENED TO THIS TEAM?…DAMMIT. Why the hell is Fernando Rodney shooting the moon at The Trop in a Mariners uniform while a guy making pretty much the same amount of money is being demoted from the closer’s role?

THE TELLING: The Rays are now 24-41 and have the worst record in baseball, 3 games behind the Cubs and Phillies and 4 losses worse than any other team…The Rays have not scored in 19 straight innings…No surprise here, but Josh Lueke has cleared waivers and has been outrighted to triple-A Durham.

THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • “Joe Maddon invited a rainmaker to the clubhouse … so of course it starts raining above the Trop.” That is an actual headline. [MLB Cut4]
  • “While it didn’t rain inside, a heavy downpour began outside Tropicana Field after Henry’s visit, which was noted by the team on its Twitter account.” That is an actual line in a story about the game. [ESPN]
  • Alex Cobb has signed an endorsement deal with IsoBLOX, the company that makes protective skull caps that can be worn under a baseball cap. Specifically, Cobb will endorse the product made for children. [ESPN]
  • DOWN ON THE FARM [boxscoresMike Montgomery  tossed 7 shutout inning, giving up 3 hits and a walk while striking out 5. Wilson Betemit hit his 12th home run and added his 7th double.

This is what baseball’s replay system has become. Joe Maddon interrupts the pace of the game to come out to the field and say, “good call, Tim.”

Just a reminder: Jose Molina is not without value to the Rays. But at what point do the positives behind the plate cease to outweigh the lack of production at the plate, especially when you consider the offense needs more help than the pitching?

Bpt-auTCYAAobNU

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28 Comments

  1. Jason says:

    If I have to listen to those clowns on AM 620 tell me that Molina behind the plate means more than his bat I'm gonna lose it. I understand we are paying him for his framing not his defense or offense BUT when the team is going like this having only 8 batters in the lineup is BS and a liability. We should be using the DH for the catcher position and letting the pitcher bat. I also don't get how people can say this isn't Derek Shelton's fault. He may not be swinging a bat but no one has gotten better under his tutelage. He must be the scapegoat. Growing real tired of these antics and advanced analysis, especially when it doesn't work. Maybe we can get all the guys one of those bats that Shelton is selling in that terrible commercial he has

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    • Jim says:

      Jason,
      Molina stinks at the plate, but to put the spotlight on a backup catcher that SHOULD have less than 150 ABs for the year is not realistic. Is he a major league quality catcher? No. I equate him (as Price's personal catcher) as a knuckleball catcher. That's should be his ONLY role on this team, 1 out of 5 starts and who cares about his bat.

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    • Drew says:

      I think Shelton is below average at his job. I also think the bigger problem that is contributing to the lack of hitters is either the organizational hitting philosophy or the coaches in the minors. Or both.

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      • Jason says:

        I think the coaches in the minors are ok because when anyone gets called up they usually are pretty good hitters until Maddon and Shelton get their philosophy on them.

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  2. angrybuddha says:

    I love the anger Cork. Seriously. Sometimes we have to jettison the analysis and just get pissed.

    Any case, I was on the same page as you were with the whole medicine man shenanigans, but Gabe Kapler (who seems like a pretty good/smart guy) tweeted this:

    https://twitter.com/gabekapler/status/476179130648920064

    ... different perspective... something to think about.

    Also, stay angry, my friend.

    -angrybuddha

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    • Dave L says:

      Yeah. Its not just Maddon though. Anyone expecting a Billy Martin or Bobby V like 'moment' from any MLB manager in 2014 is in for disappointment. At this point each individual player is playing for his professional pride, livelihood and ultimately future compensation if not for the teams current seasons success.

      Rays fans aren't used to watching meaningless games lately, so it hits them hard.

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    • Cork Gaines says:

      I understand Kapler's point, but I don't how this particular gimmick is going to impact the players or their psyches.

      Bring some penguins or a salsa band into the clubhouse and that will get the players' attention. If you get the players' attention, you have changed their focus which can ultimately "shake things up."

      In this case, I don't know how a medicine man walking around The Trop is going to impact the players other than they have to answer questions from the media about it. Otherwise, their routine is completely unchanged which does nothing to shake things up.

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  3. Jim says:

    What happened to this team?

    You have no leaders on this team or staff to motivate or rally this team out of a dire situation. The 3 longtime Rays that you expect to step up in the clubhouse, simply haven't. Longoria and Price have NEVER been on a losing MLB team, and I'm not sure that they've grown up enough under Maddon to ever assume the role as clubhouse leader. That leaves Zobrist, and we've all seen that he simply appears to just be a nice guy.

    All of this falls directly at the feet of Maddon. He's ran a frat house type locker room the entire time he was here. No fault, no blame, no discipline. The players that "grew up" here assume the attitude of their environment.

    Let's be honest also. in the past few years, it took NEAR HISTORIC pitching performances by our starters and bullpen, and quality defense, to mask our hitting deficiencies. That's not the case this year, and our hitters putting more pressure on themselves to perform. In hockey term's "they're squeezing the stick too tight"

    Our hitting philosophy is completely flawed. I realize that we will never be able to afford big bats, but we can do better with what we have. Maddon keeps talking about we need to hit the ball harder, yet they are "taught" to work the count. We get to two strikes and our hitters are now neutered. They are defensive hitting, on their heels, just trying to make contact, all while at the mercy of the pitcher's two strike pitch selection advantage.

    Under Shelton and Maddon we have had one year in which we hit .250+, yet the 3 years before Shelton, we hit .260 or better. Coincidence? Hardly. Walks don't drive in runs. How hard is that to see?

    Many ingredients to this stew.

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    • Drew says:

      Since Shelton was hired, the Rays offense ranks 12th in MLB in wOBA, t-6th in WRC+, and 13th in OPS. They also have the highest walk percentage during that time period.

      These numbers aren't as bad as I thought. They are obviously performing MUCH worse this year, but the bottom line is this: I think all of us believe this team could have created more offense over the last 4+ seasons with an altered approach at the plate (or different hitting coach).

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  4. JMN says:

    Well hard to disagree that Molina plays a decent game behind the plate, but that is not an excuse for him to be a total void in the batting lineup. There are pitchers in MLB that have a better batting average than Molina! Molina is part of the problem and deserves some of the blame as does pretty much the entire Rays batting lineup. 620 Steve D. is wrong saying that Molina is not part of the problem. And with Shelton, he either needs to change his philosophy (we need the batters to be more aggressive), or the Rays organization needs to fire him. We all know the definition of insanity. Whatever he is teaching is not working and we need to find somebody who is effective!

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  5. Jim says:

    Cork and everyone,
    Do you honestly think that Shelton will be fired? Do you think that Maddon and the FO will pull the trigger and admit they were wrong about him? Thus giving the appearance that the fans and media were correct in calling for his head.

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    • bbmern says:

      I would be surprised if they did. Something has to change!

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    • Skateman says:

      When money is involved, and a lot of it is, I suspect AF will make the cold, hard, rational decisions. So, yeah. I expect that Derek Shelton will be fired this year. I also expect Price, Zobrist, Joyce, and others will be traded at the deadline.

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      • ken says:

        Speaking of money and cold, hard facts when will Friedman fall into the petri dish and have his work examined as closely as all others. How many starting position players have been drafted and are still with the team during his era? 2, Longo and Jennings. How many drafted position players are at AAA and seem destined to play with us next year. 1, Kiermayer. Outside of the Shields trade, which should be a win, only the Huff/Zobrist trade looks like a winner. Where are all the players taken in the big draft hauls of '10 and '11? Still in the minors, most still at AA or below.
        I really don't get way the local and national press extol his virtues. He's done less with more than any GM in baseball over the last 5 years.

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        • Jason says:

          I think part of it is a lot of the guys he drafted were high school kids so they take more time to develop. I didn't look at the number but I know quite a few were 18 coming out of HS.

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          • ken says:

            Problem is Jason, most of these guys are now 22, 23 years old and still playing at AA or below...and no publication has any of them on their top 100 prospect list. That is simply unacceptable.

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    • angrybuddha says:

      I'm with everyone else calling for Shelton's head, but my fear is that it's not really him. This FO seems to have an integrated/holistic strategy for everything - everything is linked to everything else. So Shelton is simply executing the strategy that the FO & Maddon have put together.

      So if we fire Shelton, we're just sawing off a branch. The tree is still there, telling hitters to work counts, getting hitters that will work counts, squeezing out whatever secret 2% they're trying to squeeze out.

      [Taking that metaphor too far...] I'm not saying we cut down the tree, but the tree needs to change it's ideas about hitting if we're really going to see the change we're clamoring for.

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  6. bbmern says:

    Everyone is totally frustrated to this point. The fans are ready to send some of our players back to Triple A (except for Kiermaer), fire Maddon and some or all of the coaches. It's very hard to watch this team right now, though I will always continue to support them. I am wondering, like Cork, wtf is going on with this team! I would love to hear some frustration coming out of some of our players as well. I'm sure they're not having a whole lot of fun either. I hated watching Rodney do his arrow thing too, but that's what he does. We could have avoided seeing that crap by simply WINNING!

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  7. Dean says:

    Guys, we don't spend any money on offense. We never have. We lack talent there that an extraordinary pitching staff normally hides. Now we're amid a historically bad slump combined with an average pitching staff.

    Add it up and its 17 games below .500.

    I know everyone wants a scapegoat, and Shelton is the obvious choice with Maddon right behind him, but that won't solve anything, in my opinion.

    Better offensive talent and a healthy pitching staff is the elixir.

    Flame away at a fan just trying to make sense of everything that's gone wrong with our seasons. I do enjoy reading and respect the opinions of other Rays fans here.

    Oh, and EARLY NO-HITTER ALERT: Adam Wainwright starts for the the Cards tonight.

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  8. mp645 says:

    Horrible time for the Rays. Rotten batting, inconsistent pitching, not one running the bases except SRod and KK. Depressed and boring.

    What can be done to shake this team up? Team bashing doesn't work. Maddon is useless and just looks at his paperwork. No Pop or enthusiasm. Medicine man didn't work either. How about some real managing? HUH? DUH?

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  9. Dave L says:

    It was interesting hearing the MLB TVs Mariners broadcast perspective for a change during these tough times. Those guys were so milquetoast it made me appreciate Staats wry humor and BA's enthusiasm for the game.

    When the lightning and thunder made its appearence above the dome I thought they would pick up on the fact that that dome is what kept the game still going in such conditions, but it slipped by them. I'm sure the 5,000 in attendance wouldn't have weathered a delay very well as far as sticking around is concerned.

    Price's body language and demeanor reflects a completely demoralized pitcher.

    For most of the past 6 years the Rays as a team were greater than the sum of their parts. This year they are much less than the sum and its hard to watch after such a good run.

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  10. Gus says:

    The game was lost on an 0-2 pitch from Price that Cano doubled in the 2 runs. Very frustrating to see Price continue to make that mistake. For a guy who went to Vanderbilt and plays for a brainiac manager, he has been the most idiotic pitcher ahead with 2 strikes I've ever seen. Just the last few months.

    That said, if you can't score, not much matters.

    They need the medicine man to go fumugate the front office. This team is fundamentaly broken. You can't ignore offense forever. Since the 2% crew took over, the offense seems consistently going in the wrong way. Even when they spend money on position players, it is guys who are defense first like DeJesus, Loney, Miolina and Hannigan. As that group has totally hit a wall offensively, Longoria and Des have regressed, Myers and Zobrist have been hurt and below their expectations, you have a team that seems like a shutout candidate every night.

    Ironic in the year the front office tries to open up its wallet a little bit, they get the worst team since the 2006 D-Rays.

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  11. Jim says:

    Holy Crap, I can't believe I'm defending Jose Molina.

    Doug Maribelli was Tim Wakefield's personal catcher for 7 years. The last 4 years of his career he hit .202 or less. That is what Jose Molina's role should be on this team, David Price's personal catcher and a night-day fill in. Unfortunately, due to our starting catcher being on the DL, and little to no plan by the front office for an everyday replacement for Hanigan, he is now playing a lot more than he should and being exposed.

    Lose math here. Molina should be getting around 1/4 of the starts. So he should be getting 130 or so plate appearances at this point in his career. At 5500 total ABs for the team, Jose's contribution for the offense is around 2.5% of the total ABs. In the grand scheme of pathetic offense, this is NOTHING!!!! Especially considering that you don't expect that much out of a #9 hitter anyway.

    Is he horrible behind the plate? YES, but the other 97.5% of the offensive effort is just as OFFENSIVE. The most troubling part is that we have a "starting" catcher in the first year of a new contract, that already has hamstring issue, which for a catcher, is a red flag.

    Jose may put up a historic low batting avg this year, but the ENTIRE team may also break a couple of offensive records themselves. Shutouts being one of them. Jose is just a drop in this shit bucket.

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    • Gus says:

      You say he should start 1/4 of the games, but Molina caught in more than half the games last year (his career high) and will probably do so again this year. Not his fault perhaps, but if he's playing, he has to play better than the shitshow he's put out this year. His real problem is that he is such a bad runner that every ball he puts in play with runners on is a potential double play (like his epic double play sac bunt last week). I find myself praying for a strike out or a ball in the air. His defense is lazy too -- just ask the home plate umpire from Sunday who took a fastball to the shin because Jose couldn't be bothered to block it.

      He is also so bad that you are effectively creating an "8-hole" hitter situation like you see in the NL that the 8 hitter gets pitched around in clutch situations. And because the Rays are never leading comfortably, he ends up getting pinch-hit for in viurtually every game, which means the other catcher NEVER gets a night off. So having a 33-year old partner for Molina was particuarly poor planning.

      Again, if the top 5 were hitting like the top 5 of the Blue Jays, it would be less of an issue. But never in the Rays existence have they had a great offense, so to never turn the top of the order in a rally mode is hard.

      Molina is an easy target, but that doesn't make him an illegitmate target. But there are others. I love him, but Loney's offensive season (shades of 2012) is probably a much bigger reason for the epic disaster that is the Rays 2014 season.

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  12. STARMAND says:

    If something more radical than a medicine man is required, I might suggest the use of a santero.

    However, it might probably involve the ritual sacrifice of a goat at home plate every inning the Rays don't move runners in scoring position.

    Of course, the goat population in the area might dwindle to historical lows.

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  13. STARMAND says:

    ...and somebody has to clean up the mess.

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  14. chris says:

    I would love to have John Jaso in the lineup right now.

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