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

Rangers 13, RAYS 2 (14; boxscore)

THE GOOD: Jeremy Hellickson. Another strong outing for Hellboy with 6 shutout innings with 6 Ks and just 1 walk. These last 2 starts are as good as I ever remember Hellickson being. He actually looks, dare I say, dominant. Hellickson has the stuff to be a poor-man’s Greg Maddux or a rich man’s Andy Sonnanstine. For a while he was inching towards the latter. Now he looks like the former…Kevin Kiermaier. The Rangers TV broadcast had the best description ever of Outlaw’s D when he threw out a potential go-ahead run out at the plate, “he charges the ball like a mad man.” Later, he charged a soft liner and doubled-up a runner at first base to end the 10th inning.

THE BAD: Lights out. The offense came alive in the 6th inning with a pair of triples. But after Matt Joyce’s triple+a throwing error run, the Rays went 3-28 over the next 7.1 innings with no walks…Joe West. I am not going to pound on West too much, because at least he was consistently bad for both teams. But good lord, is Joe West umpiring, or just his ego?

THE TELLING: There is speculation that the Rays will call up a reliever from Durham after last night’s extended use of the bullpen…The Rays are now 58-61, 3.5 games behind the Yankees for third place in the East and 1.5 games behind Cleveland for 5th place…Saturday’s game against the Yankees is a sellout and Sunday’s game is close to being a sellout.

THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • Kevin Kiermaier with a strong take on Josh Sale: “You control your own destiny, and he hasn’t made many good decisions … We all know what we sign up for. There’s certain things we’re allowed to do and certain things we aren’t. Drugs? There’s no place in this world for drugs. For him, third offense, anyone who feels bad for him, I don’t know why. It’s just foolishness.” [TampaBay.com]
  • Why wouldn’t the Rays give David Price a long-term contract? Just look at Justin Verlander. [BI Sports]
  • Joe Maddon talks about using Grant Balfour and why he is struggling. [TampaBay.com]
  • It looks like a 2012 Olympics silver medalist will make the Bucs roster. [JoeBucsFan]
  • DOWN ON THE FARM [boxscoresTim Beckham was in the lineup for the Bulls for the first time after a 9-game rehab with the Gulf Coast Rays and Charlotte. He singled in his first at bat, but the game was suspended after 2 innings due to rain.
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20 Comments

  1. monte says:

    I watched this game 'til the end and it was a very sad ending. Ramos just did not throw strikes. How can a pitcher be in extra innings in a tie game and not throw strikes, and especially with the bases loaded.

    He threw no strikes to the last four hitters he faced that were no put into play. In the bottom of the 14th he made 17 pitches and only two of those were strikes not put into play. I do not know if the 5 balls put into play were strikes, but clearly Ramos was not even close to the strike zone pitching to Rosales with the bases loaded and the game on the line.

    Pathetic!!!

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    • Skateman says:

      No, this one's on the offense and Peralta. Concerning the former, Desmond Jennings inability to lay down a bunt in three chances killed us. And Peralta just doesn't have good stuff anymore, sorry. We have tons of great young pitchers down in the minors. Surely one of them would be better than a late 30s reliever who can barely hit 90.

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      • Woodrow744 says:

        Skateman - I have no idea about the number of good pitchers we have in the minors, but your comment about our hitting and Jennings' inability to bunt is spot on.

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    • Gus says:

      Don;t forget Longoria's error (with a catcher running) was the catylst for the disaster. He almost made an error on Soto's prior at bat bun Loney dug out his errant throw.

      But the inability to even threaten in the extra innings and all the first pitch swings(!) made it look like a team that has kind of given up on itself.

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  2. Jim says:

    Beckham, Sale, Guerrieri, Bush, Colome, Lueke, all complete screw ups, yet our FO will gladly give them chance after chance.
    Now factor in Bell, Balfour, Oviedo, and Hanigan. The FO and Joe Maddon get all the praise and credit for winning the past few years when in reality we had damn close to, if not, historic pitching staffs that made them look like superstar decision makers.

    Yet look at the bombs they signed this year and wasted draft pick after wasted draft pick. Yet, I’m sure some if not most will blame the players for their own actions. It’s an organizational issue. Our “we can turn them around” attitude is mostly to blame.

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    • Rob says:

      I agree they have made some terrible acquisitions and even worse draft picks, but weren't they also responsible for constructing that "historic" pitching staff or was that just dumb luck?

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      • Jim says:

        Soriano
        Rodney
        Benoit

        I would make the case that Jim Hickey made all the difference in the world to resurrecting their career, either finding mechanical adjustments or getting to them mentally.

        I just think that AF gets way to much credit for his “moves” yet he seems to be bulletproof on his failures. We have drafted very poorly, and we made some horrible offseason moves. Is that really debatable? Bell, Balfour, Oviedo, and Hanigan were all huge mistakes, both in money wasted and in valuable roster spots. For a team that is built primarily on pitching, you simply can’t miss on that many players.

        I just find it laughable that most people on this site will dwell on Jose Molina stats and he gets 10X more blame on the failure of the 2014 Rays than our GM does. Hell, it’s not just this site, it’s most of the 620 “experts” also

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  3. Rob says:

    I agree with not signing a pitcher to a long term deal - it's just too risky. Finding someone who's going to give you 7-8 years of dominance is very rare.

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  4. Steve says:

    Ballfour and Peralta both need to find another couple MPH on their fastballs. Otherwise they need to get outta Dodge. They can both be replaced easily

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  5. Hurricanes says:

    Thank you, Jim, for your comments. The GM is ultimately responsible for bad drafting and lousy trades. Liars figure but figures don't lie.

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    • Jim says:

      If the GM isn't responsible for drafting poorly and questionable trades then who is? you can only get away with "they underperformed" for so long

      We drafted Taylor Guerrieri who had red flag after red flag. And what happened? He quickly failed a drug test. Shocker, 18yr old kid that had a questionable past with coaches and the law, we give him a ton of money and he goes to pot.

      Cork has had article after article about risk vs reward for the Rays. When exactly are we going to see reward on these players?

      I'll say it once again. AF and the FO put together a great pitching staff for a few years, both in a #1 pick and bullpen diamonds in the rough. Without Jim Hickey's input, I'm not sure that they would have been anywhere near as successful.

      Our minor league top prospects are non existent, Our top picks are in the news for the wrong reasons. Beckham, Guerrieri and Sale were all 1st rounders and have all been suspended for drugs. To not place blame on the vetting process, and to not blame AF is a farce.

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      • Rob says:

        I wish they would stop drafting high school kids. I would much rather have a near major league ready college kid who's been part of an advanced baseball organization than some teenager who has zero life experience just for the benefit of a couple more years of control so they can spend 4 years toiling away in the minor league system getting in trouble while figuring out who they are and want to be.

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  6. Ken H says:

    3 #1 picks in the 2010 MLB draft: Sale (3 time suspension) O'Connor (finally promoted to AA a few weeks ago) and Vettleson (not on the radar). Cork posted a graph last year showing it takes about 5 years +/- as the amount of time it takes a MiLB player to make the majors. Rays whiffed. Look at 2011 when we had 10 of the top 100 picks, only one playing AAA. Couple these disasters with Friedman's sketchy record signing FA's and 2015 and beyond looks bleak.

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  7. Skateman says:

    I don't agree with all these negative comments concerning the Rays' future. Here's our pitching staff right now:

    Cobb - age 26
    Archer - 25
    Odorizzi - 24
    Smyly - 25
    Hellickson - 27

    Let's also not forget we'll have Matt Moore coming back next year (age 25).

    We may not have that number one ace, but we have a superb, extremely young, and cost controlled staff from top to bottom that will be Tampa Bay Rays for years to come.

    We also have a number of young arms in the minors that will contribute further out such as Guerrieri, Colome, Montgomery, Stanek, Karns, Marquez, Mujica, Honeywell, and Varga.

    In the pen (that I like) we've got McGee, Boxberger, Yates, and Beliveau. There's tons of guys in the minors that could end up good relievers like Romero, Andriese, and Riefenhauser.

    What about position players?

    Catchers - Of course we have Hannigan, but I'm excited about Casali and Justin O'Conner.

    First Base - Loney's great for now. Further out we have Gillaspie and Leonard who can both mash.

    Second base - Zobrist now, Nick Franklin and Ryan Brett later. Kean Wong much later.

    Short - Escobar now and Adames and Unroe later. Much, much later we have Rondon. I've given up on Lee, though.

    Third - Longoria but maybe Adames much later

    Outfield - Shorter term guys are Joyce and Dejesus. Mid-Term we have Jennings. For the long term we have Myers, Kiermaier and Guyer. We're set here for a long time. The farm here is kind of weak, though Mahtook and Milone have potential.

    DH - By committee

    This isn't to say we won't have holes to fill in the coming years too. I can see an issue at short / third in particular as Longoria ages/Escobar leaves and Adames/Rondon aren't ready yet. Hopefully Franklin and Brett can fill Zobrist's shoes once he leaves.

    Anyway, here's the great thing: With all of these young guys, we have a ton of payroll flexibility to go out and fill in the positions we're lacking. Starting pitching is covered. The outfield is covered. First base is covered. Catching is mostly covered. The infield is mostly covered. I think we look good.

    Friedman has certainly made some bad signings and drafts. But so has every GM out there. And the proof is in the pudding. The Rays have been competitive for 6 years. We're still not out of it this year. And we look competitive going forward. All this on a shoe-string of a budget. I frankly think they've done a great job, and I'm as excited as ever about the future.

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    • Jim says:

      The biggest hole by far is catching. Sorry folks but Hanigan is a gigantic bust. A MLB catcher that can't stay off the DL is a giant red flag. You can't platoon players into that position so you had better have a great backup or some true AAA studs that can be called up when needed. We have neither.

      He was brought in to take most of the starts, he hasn't, He was brought in for his great arm. Joke. He was brought in for a decent bat. Another fail. This is a player that we have been supposedly scouting and trying to sign for years.

      We're now at the point of trying to re-sign one of our former catchers, one that we've discarded earlier. I know that catchers are probably the toughest players to actually find or develop. But when Navi will probably goes down as the best catcher in recent memory, then we have a huge problem there.

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      • Skateman says:

        Casali looks good and O'Conner looks potentially great. We also have the money to hit the free agent market in the off-season. Or we could make a trade with our surplus outfielder(s). Every team has holes. But this one's not un-fixable.

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    • OriginalTom says:

      Skateman, What are you seeing in O'Connor and Casali that I am not. Is O'Connor great defensively? This is his first good year with the bat an he is a 22 YO playing A-Ball.

      I like Guyer he plays the game hard but he is already 28 so I doubt he is a long term solution in the outfield

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      • Skateman says:

        Casali's basically done nothing but hit the whole way through the minors. I expect he'll be an at least average hitting catcher in the coming years, though probably not initially. Defensively, just average, though.

        O'Conner has broken out offensively this year. But he's always been great defensively. His arm is basically all-world, throwing out more than 50% of runners. Age-wise catchers take longer to progress. His ceiling looks pretty high to me.

        Guyer started older, but he's not a free agent until 2019, so we have him for a while.

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  8. Hurricanes says:

    Jim:

    You're on fire!!! Everyone of your posts is dead-on perfect. Bullseyes!

    Skateman, what the heck are you smoking??? I sure hope Andrew paid you enough.

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    • Skateman says:

      Not a cent. I'm usually a pessimist about things - ask me for my opinion on the economy or politics, for instance. But I don't know how you can't look at this young rotation we have, the young outfield, the infield prospects like Franklin and Adames, and the farm system below AAA, and not feel pretty good about the Rays future.

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