USATSI_7983703_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 4, Royals 3 (boxscore)

THE GOOD: Jeremy Hellickson. It was good to see Hellboy back on the mound and he delivered exactly what we hoped for, pitching into the 5th inning and allowing just 1 run and walking just 1 batter…Brandon Guyer. With the Rays trailing 1-0 in the 6th and Ben Zobrist on first, Brandon Guyer hit what looked like a standard single to left-center, that he hustled into a double. Evan Longoria then followed with a beautiful opposite-field, 2-run single. Joe Maddon has been calling for his players to be more aggressive and it paid off last night…Jake McGee. It was shaky, but once again McGee closed the door and he did it with more than 3 outs. We speculated early that McGee would end up as the Rays’ unofficial closer even though Joe Maddon was saying closer-by-committee. Sure enough, in his first 11 appearances since Grant Balfour was demoted, McGee has 6 saves and pitched the 9th inning in 7 of those games. No other pitcher has more than 1 save during that stretch…Win Series. A win today would give the Rays 4 straight series wins. Joe Maddon always talks about winning series and there is a lot to that. Win every series and you are a 108-win team, so there is room for error. But if you can even out the series losses and the series wins that are sweeps and you can be a great team.

THE BAD: Logan Forsythe. OK, Forsythe hasn’t been bad. Quite the contrary. But what is bad is Yunel Escobar is returning as early as tomorrow. OK, that’s not bad either. But it is hard to ignore how well the Rays have played with Ben Zobrist at shortstop and Forsythe at second base. Forsythe was originally pegged as a utility player with time in the outfield. But his outfield glove was horrendous.

THE TELLING: Yunel Escobar played for Charlotte last night, going 1-4 in his first rehab start. He could be activated as early as Friday. Wil Myers could have his cast removed as early as Friday with a mid-August return. David DeJesus is hoping to return in early August…The Rays have now won 4 of 5, 9 of 11, and are 18-9 since June 11. They are 42-51, 9 games behind the Orioles (11 in the loss column). For the first time in a while, the Rays are actually closer to the Wild Card as they are just 8.5 games (10 in the loss column) behind the Mariners. This is good because for a while it looked like there would be no fall-back playoff spot this season even though there are now 2 Wild Card spots.


  • A Florida-based NFL developmental league? Yes, please. [JoeBucsFan]
  • DOWN ON THE FARM [boxscoresAlex Colome was roughed up for the second time in 3 starts as he gave up 6 runs (5 earned) in 4.2 innings with no strikeouts and 3 walks in Durham’s 7-4 loss. Left fielder Justin Christian hit his 7th home run. Mikie Mahtook went 2-4 with a strikeout…Right fielder Taylor Motter had 3 hits including his 6th and 7th home runs for Montgomery…2013 first-round pick Ryne Stanek gave up just 1 run in 6 innings with 3 Ks and 1 walk for Charlotte. Yunel Escobar went 1-4 in his first rehab start…Casey Gillaspie went 1-6 in Hudson Valley’s double-header.

MLB Network is now experimenting with a graphic that shows the position of the fielders. I would love to see this for Rays broadcasts. The dots even move in real-time so you can see when players even shift as the pitch is delivered.

7-8-2014 9-33-10 PM





  1. PoliticalMan says:

    The Mariners have made some nice improvements but I think they are due for some regression. That leaves us with trying to catch the Blue Jays, Royals, and Yankees. In this case 2 of the 3 teams being in the AL East which gives a lot of head to head match ups for that last Wild Card spot.

    I think this is doable. If the bullpen gets right the Rays have better pitching than any of those teams. They have to keep playing at this pace though obviously. Man if they can just rip down like 9 in a row and get back to .500 then the odds start swinging back our way IMHO.

  2. Kevin says:

    I like the idea of the positioning graphic. I've been yelling at my TV for sunsports to show a shot of the field from the press box POV as each batter steps into the box to show defensive alignment. But the rays shift based on the count so this graphic would be a simple way to capture the defensive positioning information at all times.

    • Joe Dunn says:

      For some reason ALL TV broadcasts are 100% stuck on showing the center field view EVERY tome as the pitch is thrown . . .they cant vary the shot once in a while?? They are boring as Joe Buck.

  3. edward williams says:

    to much stuff on the screen as it is, although it is interesting, i guess giving it a shot to see how it would look wouldn't be so bad. Just to see the positioning, now you got me thinking , that is not a good thing lolololol go rays.

  4. Rob says:

    Does the graphic take into account ballpark nuances (corners, angles, etc) or is it a generic shape?

  5. Dave L says:

    I dunno about that graphic. Nice idea but look how busy that freakin screen shot is. Maybe people in the video game generation can process all that info simultaneously but I cant nor do I wish to.

    The Masters and the 2014 World Cup (shockingly by ESPN) show us what a simple beautiful specatcle sports can be on HDTV with a bare minimum on the screen. Maybe mine is the shrinking old geezer POV. I know gamblers and fantasy players need every blessed stat in every sport, but I am neither.

    Hopefully technology will soon bring us a simple toggle on/off of advanced graphics like SAP now and use the AB buttons. I like the simple score-count-baserunners with a commercial logo that cant be toggled off.

    Baseball has loads of dead time for flooding us with data, but when the pitcher toes the rubber and the batter enters the box, turn that junk off.

    • Joe Dunn says:

      How about the boring and predictable Sunsports pre-game show? It is a re-cap of the day before every single time!! Most of us KNOW what happened...we saw it. How about just once in a while showing us some batting practice live shots? How about interaction between players? Game is over 3 hours and I cannot waste another house before and after the game listening to what I already know . . . . .and 620 is worse with another pre - pre - game and post -post game shows.

  6. Gus says:

    Early precincts reporting, but I did like what I saw in Hellickson's change up. The hardest part of being a fan is evaluating a player not knowing what his relative health is. But I think Hellickson -- who has been in the general fan's doghouse for a long time now -- may deserve a fresh review if that elbow is right again. I know his first couple of seasons he was a joy to watch piching off of that change up.

    If he is really right, it makes the (seeimgly inevitable) Price trade a whole lot more palatable in terms of this season.

  7. doug says:

    Rays playing 18-8 in last 26. It will take that same pace over the next 69 games for them to reach 90 wins...they must play .625 ball just to reach 85 wins. It is a deep hole to climb out of...mathematically and statistically possible, but is it probable?

    • Rob says:

      I wouldn't bet the house on it, but the improved play makes the team a whole lot more fun and interesting to watch.

  8. Lane Meyer says:

    Somehow that graphic needs to be named after Maddon. The Maddon Box or something similar.

    • Lane Meyer says:

      Couldn't they make it just one graphic though with both the baserunners in yellow and positional players in red?


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