USATSI_8037286_154511044_lowresThe GBT – The Good, The Bad and The Telling sandwich, where The Bad is nice and lean and the The Telling is ripe.

Tigers 8, RAYS 6 (11; boxscore)

THE GOOD: (none today)

THE BAD: Free Passes. Rays pitchers walked 10 batters, a season high, including 4 in the 11th inning and 2 with the bases loaded. The worst came from Grant Balfour, of course, who walked 3 batters (1 intentionally) in the 11th inning. In all, Balfour threw 14 pitches and only 2 were strikes. The third strike Balfour threw was his foot hitting a cooler in the dugout after being pulled.  He has now walked 38 batters in 47.1 innings, the most among all MLB relievers. This all led to a loss after leading the game 4-0 (via @WorldOfIsaac)…

Kevin Kiermaier. Leading off the 11th inning, Ian Kinsler hit a low-line drive to right field. Kiermaier dove and miss the ball, leading to a triple. The problem with the play is less about the dive and more about just not keeping the ball from getting by him. He has got to keep that ball in front of him. He had a chance to catch the ball, so leaving his feet is not terrible. But there are ways to do that and still keep the ball from getting by…

8-19-2014 10-12-17 PM

Evan Longoria. Earlier in the game, Longoria just missed hitting a long home run that probably would have landed in the party deck if it had stayed fair and missed the D-ring. But later, with 2 runners on base and the Rays down 3 in the bottom of the 11, Longo hit a ho-hum single through the left side of the infield. Why ho-hum? The pitch was a fastball with no movement that was right down the middle of the plate. Joe Nathan couldn’t have teed up the pitch any better for Longo. At the very least, Longoria should have hit a long double in the gap. At best, it should have been a 3-run home run. Instead, Longo had a bit of a defensive swing and couldn’t drive the ball.

8-19-2014 10-47-39 PM

THE TELLING: Ben Zobrist was hit by a pitch in the first inning by Max Scherzer. It sure looked intentional and Zobrist was pissed off…The blown 4-run lead matched the largest of the season for the Rays…Vince Belnome picked up his first career hit on a misplayed fly ball that bounced over the wall for a ground-rule double. He also thought he hit his first career home run later that was eventually overturned and ruled a foul ball.

THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • Most MLB teams have seen their attendance go up this season. The Rays are not one of them. [BI Sports]
  • DOWN ON THE FARM [boxscoresWil Myers went 0-3 with 2 strikeouts in the Bulls’ 2-1 loss. Nick Franklin was 2-3 with a walk. Enny Romero struck out 6 and allowed 1 run in 6 innings…

After one strikeout to end an inning, Chris Archer looked back towards the Tigers dugout and did something? Did he kiss his bicep again? Was he just wiping his nose on his sleeve? I want to give Archer the benefit of the doubt, but it is hard.

8-19-2014 7-19-08 PM

Here is the tribute video for David Price shown by the Rays during the game.

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21 Comments

  1. Dave L says:

    As we see over a larger sample size, the Kiermaier method of fielding cannot be maintained as I noted early on. The rush to judgement that he was a superior fielder and a an obvious heir apparent who made Desmond expendable was a hasty one.

    I like KK but his adreneline fueled start to his MLB career could not be sustained obviously.

    Myers return will be just in time, hopefully he is working on closing the giant holes in his plate coverage and plate discipline in addition to getting his health back.

    Going into 2015 we have a nice selection of young cheap bats and gloves of which 4 or 5 will emerge to give us a solid outfield with depth.

    I think Jennings continuing at center full time is the only constant. KK's .863/.486 R/L OPS splits indicate some platooning will be in his future as he develops and we get Myers back, who is still a work in progress.

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  2. Jim says:

    How dead on was I on this post way back in May? We kept waiting on a streak to put this team back at the top of the division, while hoping everyone else would fall apart, holding on to Price until the last minute, waiting too late, and likely turning down more lucrative deals that were offered earlier(we’ll never know the true offers). But the real gem in this post was about Balfour, and I gladly included Mr. Smith 1980’s ”dumb” response.

    I don’t claim to be smarter than AF, it’s not my job. But I can promise you this, if I were the GM of this team, I wouldn’t have the “smartest man in the room/we’ll prove you wrong” disease that seems to permeate the AF and JM offices. My assessments were in MAY!!! We supposedly scouted Hanigan for years, We also shit the bed on what was billed as “3 veterans with closing experience”. We have a ton of young starting pitchers that tend to have some short outings, the bullpen was crucial, and we missed. Yet all you here and on 620 keep bringing up Longo can’t hit and what a POS Molina is. AF is to blame for the woes of this season.

    May 28th

    me
    “so is everyone still on the "wait to the deadline" to pull the trigger? unlike previous years, there's no "spark" or "streak" that is all of a sudden going to turn this thing around.
    "firesale"? no, but the Price talks need to heat up, and please try to find a trade partner that will take Balfour, and we'll gladly pick up the rest of this years salary. after his "booing" tirade, he's about done here.”

    Mr. Smith 1980
    “The mere suggestion of dumping Balfour and eating his salary is about the dumbest thing I've heard all year, and I teach 4th grade, so I hear some fairly dumb stuff.”

    Me
    what's the difference between picking up the rest of his salary for this year in a trade and paying him to pitch for us the rest of the year as a non playoff team? if we can find someone to take him next year, then he's done here. he's a pitcher that get's his best performance after getting jacked up emotionally. the booing rant shows us just how fragile he is.
    we failed miserably on our offseason bullpen hires.

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    • Mr. Smith 1980 says:

      I can only assume your words are dripping with sarcasm when you typed the following statement:
      " I wouldn’t have the “smartest man in the room/we’ll prove you wrong” disease"

      All you do is post about how you're so much smarter than everyone in the room... you practically invented the disease.

      Own it. And stop begging for everyone to bow down and tell you how brilliant you are... find some other site upon which to bestow your greatness- we don't play the 'I told you so' game here (or at least not to the ego-maniacal level that do).

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      • Ken H says:

        Mr. Smith, we all need to take Jim's posts in stride. He reminds me of the angry young prep student, who, when turned down by the Prom Queen, decries "I told you so" months later when she dies in a DUI related accident.
        I do take a bit of issue with your last sentence. There are more than a few that post here that remind us of their prescience about the state of the Rays months after the fact. They just do so with less drama, and more innocuous flare. I offer the top post as a glaring example.
        To paraphrase a tune: "No reason to get excited", the thief he kindly spoke. There are many here among us who feel (the Rays) are but a joke. But you and I, we've been through that, and this is not our fate. So let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late".

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        • Rob says:

          That was an odd similie.

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        • Dave L says:

          I think thats an oblique stab at me??

          Cmon Ken, my point always is that people around here get too excited when things are good and too nasty and pessimistic when things are bad. All these get rid of this guy, DFA that guy blah blah blah just gets so old. The Rays have to cobble together a lineup with half the resources of the competition and thats not easy.

          I for the record prefer the Hendrix version as the greatest cover of all time.

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        • Jim says:

          Yeah, I’m 100% sure that NONE of you would have been gloating and throwing it in my face if we would have pulled off another miracle. No way in hell that would have happened. You guys can whine and complain about my attitude, but when you call my observations and suggestions “the dumbest ever” and then they turn out to be dead on, then simply just admit “Jim was right, we were wrong”, instead of whining and telling me to go away.

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    • Dave L says:

      You can afford to be bombastic and make bold negative dire predictions but an MLB GM cannot. Even if Balfour washes out totally and is never an effective relief pitcher again much less a closer, the Rays would have been dumb to DFA a guy who has a a $15M 2 year contract less than two months into the contract. When you owe a guy alot of money for two years you have to give him a chance to regain his form, its as simple as that. That he failed does not make you correct.

      You make wild assumptions about the supposed trade values of a struggling Balfour in May and especially Price's value in late May being much higher than his value at the trade deadline. There is no historical MLB evidence to support this 'fact' you always assume.

      Baseball trading is not like selling gold, you have to have a willing partner so we can never know what the Rays turned down.

      Honestly your hindsight evaluations of the Rays 'losing' trades make me think you have no logical concept of MLB trades to begin with Jim.

      It doesnt matter if the Rays went 0-99 after May 28th. That doesnt make your April or May firesale suggestion any more wise in hindsight.

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      • Jim says:

        SHOW ME WHERE ANY OF MY BOLD PREDICTIONS WERE WRONG!!!! There lies the problem. It was obvious early on that Balfour was a mistake and we weren't making the playoffs. OBVIOUS, except for those that were hoping on another miracle.

        They weren't as much predictions as they were CLEAR observations. Observations made with prejudice. AF and JM both are guilty of sticking with their decisions based on cockyness and wanting to hold it out long enough to prove everyone else wrong.

        So when someone responds to my post about Balfour being done here, not being mentally fit to be a closer in this market any more with "that's the dumbest thing i've ever heard." You're god damn right I'm going to throw it in his/her face when it is now clearly obvious that I was 100% right about it 3 months ago.

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        • Dave L says:

          MrSmith was still correct.

          Dumping him in May would have been foolish, we had to give him a chance to get better because we still owed him alot of money for for 10 more months and 250+ games of baseball.

          Again, even though he never got better they had to give him a chance to. It still doesn't make DFAing him in May a smart move.

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          • Jim says:

            NEVER said DFA. TRADE for anything, eat the salary for this year. Save the team millions of dollars for a mop up reliever (which is what he is now) on next years deal. That what I was suggesting.

            We ate millions on Bell, but AF wasn't going to admit he fucked up badly twice in the offseason.

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          • Jim says:

            i'm still waiting on any explanation as to why trading Bafour for 3 buckets of balls and eating his salary for this year as a trading enticement, was the "dumbest thing I've ever heard".

            Once again if AF had made the move I suggested and gotten Balfour off the books for next year, and Balfour's woes would have continued at his new team, then you guys would be praising him as a genius for admitting his mistake early on and cutting losses. Priceless, pun intended.

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        • Jim says:

          Dave,
          I was suggesting we trade him for anything and basically ate his salary for this year. Not a DFA, a trade we could have made early on, especially if we would have offered to pick up some or all of this years deal. We could have found someone to take him, no matter what we got in return.

          Admitting that we made a mistake with Balfour just like we did with Bell. But instead, he's now completely damaged goods, and we're stuck. We could have spun it simply as "he just didn't fit in personally in the clubhouse this go around. That's a huge front office screw up.

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  3. Jim says:

    Cork, here one for the BAD

    "That's the story of my season, I feel like. ... I see guys go out and make the same pitch and a play gets made" - Balfour

    Blaming others for not being able to throw strikes, not being able to be the closer that we signed for 2 years, on our defense. What a complete farce at this point in his career.

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    • Rob says:

      Maybe if Balfour would throw a strike every now and then the defense would be more ready to make a play. It's hard to stay alert for everyone when Grant is nibbling (and missing) the outside of the plate over and over and over.

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  4. Mike10 says:

    Look I agree with what everyone is saying here about Grant, and on my side of the TV, I'm booing him too. He's lost it - his power and control - and I'm not sure in which order. I can tell you that it's tarnished the 'legacy' (using that term loosely) that he left a few years back as there wouldn't have been a person in town that wouldn't have told you they didn't miss his purposeful fire. Again, he's lost it. I love Joe and I loved Grant but Joe has got to either stop playing him, option him (which I'm not sure is even an option), or just stop putting him in in high leverage situations. As long as we the fans are on the same page as Joe tho (which we are), we gotta stop booing this guy. It's not helping anything and further forcing a dangerous divide between the fans and franchise that has awkwardly been developing for the the past few years now. And while we're handcuffed to both keeping this stadium in St. Pete and maintaining a low attendance, we gotta maintain some sort of draw for players. But again, this falls mostly on Joe: stop trotting Ball Four out there and maybe he can come back next year with that pop.
    And speaking of pop - not a single person in this lineup has had any of it this entire year. And of even greater concern, we haven't been able to develop power for nearly the past decade; You may even be able to argue players regress under our system. Now we can keep saying we're a team based off pitching and defense and use that as our excuse to ignore offense, and that's fine, as long as your goal entering spring training is to make the playoffs (If those other 2 components remain first-class). But this has to be addressed in the offense and the Shelton situation has to be seriously looked at objectively; I don't care how nice of a guy he is. A team batting average of somewhere in the .250 range, where 2 guys every night are hitting under .200 is absolutely unacceptable, even if you're marching out the Tigers starting rotation (cough, cough). If we're going to be a team that trades developed talent for prospects and projects, we need to have the right hands forming the clay... and I haven't seen it. Please Friedman, make a change with this aspect otherwise this team is going to begin a steady decline... and we all know the current depleted state of our farm system.
    - very concerned and connected fan

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    • Mike10 says:

      *But this has to be addressed in the OFFSEASON and the Shelton situation has to be seriously looked at objectively

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      • Jim says:

        Mike,
        I agree with you 100%, if you are going to have young players and fringe AAA players on the roster, and that's what the future is also, then you have to have someone that can teach/mold these types of players.

        It's pretty obvious Shelton isn't that person. With that being said I truly believe there's zero chance that Maddon and AF will ever fire DS. Maddon has stood up for him time and time again. As a duo, they won't admit that they been wrong from the start on this guy. It will always be spun as "Derek is just follow the Rays philosophy of working the count and he's not the one swinging the bat"

        They basically take the stance that DS is putting in the work and the hours, and is doing the right things. Yet it's pretty obvious to most that he either isn't capable of getting through to the players, or is simply not able to "teach". He won't get fired for a flawed hitting system or simply not being good, loyalty and cockyness to a fault. Just like i stated in the Balfour post above

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    • Dave L says:

      On the other hand, if you believe the season is effectively over as far as playoffs are concerned then trotting out Balfour can't be all that upsetting.

      In extra innings its kind of a crapshoot as far as leverage is concerned, Balfour is about 4th or 5th now on the pen depth chart and we had already spent Yates, Boxberger Peralta and McGee. You could argue Maddon was outmanaged as Ausmus saved his shaky closer for extra innings where we used up McGee but we got 2 innings out of him so I dont know what else could have been done much differently.

      I would rather give him an extended chance to regain his form in a lost 2014 season then a fresh 2015 spring season where hope springs eternal.

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      • Rob says:

        What I didn't understand is why load the bases and then leave in Balfour to pitch to the next guy, then pull him after he walks him. Grant obviously couldn't find the strike zone. The time to remove him was before walking in the winning run, especially since you removed him immediately afterwards. I get the lefty-righty matchup, but Balfour was nowhere near the plate, so you can throw that logic right out the window. I either take him out before he walks in a run or leave him out there for the rest of the inning after he walks in the run.

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