7-9-2014 7-02-49 PMThe GBT – The Good, The Bad and The Telling sandwich, where The Bad is nice and lean and the The Telling is ripe.

Royals 5, RAYS 4 (boxscore)

THE GOOD: Kevin Kiermaier. At some point he has to cool down, right? Last night it was 4 more hits including a grand slam that gave the Rays a 4-2 lead in the 4th inning. He is now second on the team in home runs despite playing in less than half of the team’s games. His stats projected over a full season would be .297 with 32 doubles, 14 triples, and 28 home runs. Since 2000, only 4 players have hit 30+ doubles, 10+ triples, and 25+ home runs in a single season (Nomar Garciaparra, Jimmy Rollins, Bobby Abreu, Grady Sizemore), and only Sizemore did it before turning 26…Dave Wills. Have you heard Wills’ call of Kiermaier’s home run yet? Obviously I am biased. But I do listen and watch a lot of baseball. There are a lot of very good announcers out there and many have specific things they do very well. But for my money, there is no better voice in baseball when it comes to calling a big home run. You can see the home run and hear the call at this link.

THE BAD: Joe Maddon. Did anybody feel good about bringing Kirby Yates in the 9th inning with the tying runs already on base? At that point, don’t you have to sink or swim with Joel Peralta? Of course, maybe Peralta should have never been in the game. We have talked about how bad he has been on back-to-back nights this season (10.13 ERA). So if Yates is a possibility, why not go with him to start the 9th inning with nobody on base and a little less pressure and have Peralta waiting in the wings? After the game, Maddon said he felt good about Yates in that spot (of course) in part because Yates was used as a closer in Durham. But again, there is a huge difference between starting the 9th inning with the bases empty in Durham than coming in with the winning run at the plate in St. Pete. Maddon was in a tough spot with Jake McGee since he had to get a 4-out save the night before and maybe Maddon was hoping McGee would get through the 8th so Brad Boxberger could pitch the 9th. So maybe it is hard to put it all on Maddon. But he has 7 relievers. Yates can’t be the guy with tying runners on in the 9th inning. Which is exactly the down-side to the closer-by-committee. At the end of the day, it is hard to predict what the situation will be in the 9th inning, but everything else being equal, 9th inning outs are more valuable than earlier outs (no room for error) and bullpen-by-committee limits the managers options if things get hairy in the final inning.

THE TELLING: Marc Topkin notes that the Rays technically don’t have to use a 5th starter for the next 3 weeks (July 29) because of days off and the All-Star break. So it will be interesting to see when Jeremy Hellickson will be used again…Yunel Escobar played 5 innings for Charlotte and is expected to be activated for tomorrow’s game…The Rays are now 42-52, 9 games behind the Orioles (11 in loss column) and 8.5 games behind the Mariners in the Wild Card (10 in loss column)…

THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • DOWN ON THE FARM [boxscores] The Durham Bulls were rained out…Yunel Escobar went 0-3 with a strikeouts in his second rehab start with Charlotte…Bowling Green won a 9th inning, 2-run, walk-off home run by right fielder Johnny Field, his 6th of the season…Casey Gillaspie went 3-5 (all singles) for Hudson Valley.  Last year’s 11th round pick, Hunter Lockwood, went 5-5 with 2 home runs. He has 3 home runs in the last 2 games and 8 in 24 games.

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16 Comments

  1. Kevin says:

    That one hurts are really illustrates why the Rays are out of playoff contention. Even when a team is playing well games like last night are going to happen from time to time and you lose a series you feel you should have won. Unfortunately, the Rays have put themselves in a position where that can’t happen…they have to win every series and likely do even better then that.

    • Rob says:

      Yeah – that one stings, but you could almost feel it coming. They had way too many opportunities to score and didn’t take advantage of it. Then the bullpen kept giving up walks and bloop hits.

  2. Gus says:

    AJ Pzyernski available for nothing? I know as a person he may have issues, but might be an inspired signing. Plus, the Red Sox slimed him on the way out of town, so he’d have a nice chip on his shoulder there.

    • Drew says:

      I hate that guy. One of my top 5 least favorite baseball players. Having said that, I recommend we replace Jose Molina with him. That is how bad Jose Molina is at baseball.

      Pierzynski: .254/.286/.348
      Molina: .187/.224/.194

    • ken says:

      Yeah, AJ is an intriguing possibility. Seems to be a bad apple wherever he goes. Could Maddon turn him around? Bigger question is what to do with Molina. If the Rays could convince him to quit and accept some kind of coaching job all would be well. L/R platoon at catcher, and AJ with a chip, very interesting.

  3. doug says:

    Based on performances up to the middle of June, what we saw last night may be an accurate representation of where the team is: 1 for 9 with RISP; ineffective bull pen; and below average defensively (this did not factor last night, but poor throws and inability to dig them out could have been more costly). Lastly the lineup just lacks a guy who has to be pitched around…note how the Rays pitched around Hosmer all week…who is that person in the Ray’s lineup?…there isn’t one right now and for the most part of the season. I love the team; I am going to the Toronto series looking for competitive baseball and wins. But over and over this group does not live up to the performances of previous editions. Unfortunately, there is no room left for games like last night on the remaining schedule.

  4. David Spenn says:

    Tough loss. The bad news is the Rays didn’t gain ground on the teams that lost. The good news is, Rays only lost ground to the Yankees I believe (who we face several more times this season, and are hurting right now). Still not impossible. The telling will be where the two teams are about week prior to the trade deadline.

  5. David Spenn says:

    btw, I’ve maintained since the last game of the Astros series that the Rays must go at minimum 13-7 in their last 20 and be 9-10 games back at the break. So far, they’re 11-6 and a series win would give them the 13-7 mark I’ve outlined, and should they win the series we’d be no worse then 10.5 games out, and that’s if Baltimore sweeps! Get to six games by august 1st, and three games by september first. That should be the team’s goal…Go Rays!!

    • ken says:

      Totally doable as our division foes have unfriendly schedules the rest of July. We have to do our part, particularly Longo. He’s had hot 2nd halves in the past. The team desperately needs another this year.

  6. Hurricanes says:

    I cringe whenever Peralta comes into a game. The Rays get what they deserve as long as they hang on to him.

    • ken says:

      Age and overuse seems to have caught up to Joel. As Cork indicated in an earlier post his days of back to back outings are done. Maddon must manage accordingly.

  7. Woodrow744 says:

    I saw an interview with Wil Myers on the telecast and I got the impression it was designed to say “hey, remember me?” Kiermaier is, I think, what we were hoping Myers was going to be, when he came to us via the KC trade. Yes, I remember Myers was Rookie of the Year and yes, I know outfield is not his natural position, but the hustle and energy coming from Kiermaier is palpable. Admit it: when he comes to the plate, you are expecting anything from a bunt to a HR and even on a walk, he’s balling down the line to first base.
    Defensively, I’m not an expert on what constitutes a good fielder (Cork alluded to a less than great arm a few days ago), but he comes from the “Super Sam” mold of balls-out effort. If nothing else, I like underdogs and maybe when Wil does come back to RF, he’ll remember that a 31st round pick made a lot of fans forget about bat flips and mop hairdos for awhile.

    • ken says:

      Your KK comments are right on the money. His bio indicates that he’s had to hustle just to get noticed at every level he’s played. As for Myers, my greatest fear is that he turns out to be another Billy Butler. OF doesn’t seem to be a fit for him thus far and I doubt the Rays are thinking about a conversion back to catcher. In his defense, Shelton did him no favors once the league’s pitchers started throwing him low and away. Once off the DL maybe a few weeks with Montoya in Durham might help correct that flaw.

      • Rob says:

        KK deserves a starting role in this lineup going forward. Maybe Myers can play OF against righties, DH against lefties and have Joyce DH against righties. Just keep KK in the lineup permanently. Absolutely love his hustle – I make sure I am in my seat and watching when he is at the plate. Myers doesn’t need to worry about losing a job, obviously, but I am not sure the same can be said for DeJesus when he returns.

      • OriginalTom says:

        Myers is much more athletic than Butler. If it were not for the Molina’s, Butler might be the slowest player in the game.

  8. mp645 says:

    KK is doing great and the fans have forgotten about Wil. What would the Rays w/l have been with Wil? I don’t think the same stats as KK for the past 46 games.

    Hopefully there is room for both or one or both goes to Durham for a little while before the Sept expansion.

    The energy level of KK is directly opposite of BJ Upton. Let’s hustle and get runs. Even Loney ( who isn’t fast) and Molina are showing more enthusiasm. Keep this going!!

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