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

click above image for boxscore

THE GOOD: Left-Handed Lineup. The Rays were 55-54 against lefties in 2008 and 2009 combined. And they started this season 1-3 against southpaws. Since then the Rays are 5-1 in their last 6 games versus a left-handed starter…Big Innings. The Rays continue to score their runs in bunches, with two more big innings (3+ runs) last night…Dioner Navarro. The Fat Catcher gets a lot of grief, but it is only fair to point out that his hustling double led to the first run when Gabe Kapler singled him home. For all his faults, Navi has always been a very smart baserunner. Last season, Navi stole 5 bases. All 5 came with 2 outs as Navi put himself into scoring position…Matt Garza. Gonzo worked 8 innings for the 4th time this season. The 2 runs given up on the home run in the 4th inning marked just the second time this season Garza gave up more than 1 run. He finished with 5 Ks and 1 walk. He is now 5-1 with a 2.09 ERA…Grant Balfour. He may not throw 96 anymore, but he has better control this season. He walked one batter last night. That was just his second walk this season to go with 13 strikeouts. And the walk ended a stretch of 31 straight batters faced without a walk.

THE BAD: Rough Schedule For ‘Los. Carlos Pena went 0-5 with 2 Ks and is now hitting .200 on the season with 29 strikeouts in 26 games. He is hitless in the last 5 games and is 0 for his last 22 with 11 strikeouts. And with all the lefties on this roadtrip, there is little hope for Pena to break out of his funk anytime soon.

THE TELLING: John Jaso will start today against a lefty.

WHERE THEY STAND: The Rays are 20-7, one game ahead of the Yankees and 4 games ahead of the Blue Jays and Tigers in the Wild Card race. After 27 games in 2008, the Rays were 15-12.


  • The Rays released Virgil Vasquez, who was acquired prior to the season from the Pirates. He recently broke both of his wrists in a scooter accident.
  • Joe Maddon now admits JP Howell might not be back until June. Also, since the start of the 2007 season, Carlos Pena has the fourth most walks in baseball. [St. Pete Times]
  • Joe Maddon says he will continue to get John Jaso playing time, even if that means starts versus lefties. [Tampa Tribune]
  • Carlos Pena says there have been no negotiations for a new contract but that he “would love to play here forever.” [St. Pete Times]
  • Milton Bradley left the team and threatened to quit during the 6th of the first game of this series. Now he says he needs help for “emotional stress.” [ESPN]
  • Rob Neyer says the Mariners “probably should release Milton Bradley“…Think Andrew Friedman still wants to go down that road? [ESPN]
  • Brett Gardner is off to a hot start for the Yankees. Josh Levitt calls Gardner a younger and cheaper version of Carl Crawford and now wonders if the Yankees need Crawford next year. [The Hardball Times]
  • “The Rays’ run differential is plus-70. For a bit of perspective, only three AL teams had a greater run differential than that for the entire 2009 season.” [Fanhouse]
  • Desmond Jennings talks about the pressures of being a top prospect. [Burlington Times-News]
  • Evan Longoria is Steve Gardner’s early-season pick for AL MVP and he picked Wade Davis and Matt Garza second in the Rookie of the Year and Cy Young respectively. [USA Today]
  • Jeff Niemann spends a minute with Roger Mooney (video). [Tampa Tribune]
  • Gary Shelton writes about the arrival of the next generation of sports stars in the Bay Area. [St. Pete Times]


  • Check out “The Rundown” from Rays Prospects for boxscores and more detailed recaps. [Rays Prospects]
  • DURHAM: (no game scheduled)
  • MONTGOMERY: Jake McGee made his first start since suffering a sore knee. He only allowed 1 run, but was pulled after 2.1 innings with 61 pitches. He struck out 4 and walked 1…Alex Cobb made his 2010 debut in relief of McGee, pitching 2.1 scoreless innings. He struck out 4 and walked 2.
  • CHARLOTTE: Matt Moore struck out 9 in 5 innings, but allowed 4 runs on 7 hits and 3 walks. He has now allowed 18 runs in 26.1 innings this season…Tim Beckham missed his 3rd straight game due to a medical issue in his family.
  • BOWLING GREEN: Alex Colome pitched 6 shutout innings despite 6 walks. He struck out 3. He had walked only 5 batters in 27.2 innings prior to this start.




  1. Joe D. says:

    Good fort me was Zobrist doing down a bunt in the 8th I think it was to get the rally against Cliff Lee started, and like prof pointed out Navi, at least offensively, he still looked sloppy catching at times.

    After about the 7th inning the radar gun on the tv broadcast quit working/went off, I turned on the mlb pitch by pitch game cast, and the had Garza's fastball in the 8th at 99.1 mph at least 3 times, sounds a little hot to me but still... Meanwhile Balfour they had at 92-94, touching 95 once... Which does seem about right...

    • Thadw says:

      Agreed. Garza was still pumping it in the 8th. Despite what Navi said, Garza didn't have his "A" stuff. His off-speed stuff didn't sniff the strike zone most of the night. He didn't get a lot of swings and misses. But he battled with his fastball in and out and up and down and got the job done. Interestingly, he knew going in that he couldn't pump a fastball to Gutierrez, so he played around with him every single at bat with off-speed stuff. His only mistake came when he got behind 3-1 to Guti and HAD to serve it up and we all know what happened in that AB.

      Balfour was REAL DICEY in the 9th. Terrible command and got behind just about every hitter. Several HARD hit balls that ended up as outs. That play by Brignac for the second out in the 9th was magical. Barehands a bad toss and then has to find the bag for the force out. That kid needs to play every day. Spectacular play.

  2. ramedy says:

    Did anyone happen to do a screen grab of that moment towards the end of the game when Bobby Ramos was sitting between Soriano's legs in the bullpen? Even if I did have the TV/computer setup to make that happen myself, I was much too dumbstruck to have actually done anything about it.

  3. Loved Navi chugging around the bases! As for 'Los, I'm sure he'll come around. He's a streaky dude. I expect we're in for one of his hot streaks once we get through the true "left coast" trip.

    • Rocky Patel says:

      go ahead and pencil me into the category of "adios in 2011" for Pena .... we just can't pay big money for a windmill at 1st base

      good guy, but someone will overpay for him ... hope it aint us

  4. Thadw says:

    Here's a stat that will make you sick:

    On the afternoon of Sunday, April 11, the Rays had just lost two bad games in a row to the Yankees to end a disappointing home stand and fall 1 game behind the Yankees in the standings.

    Since that day, the Rays are 17-4, including 11-1 on the road and have managed to pick up exactly TWO GAMES in the standings and now lead the division by a single game over the Yankees. TWO GAMES.

    Sickening. They would be up by 4 or 5 games at a minimum in every other division in baseball. In some divisions, they would be up by seven or eight games. But hey, they're still in first place.

    • Thadw says:

      Actually, that's not quite right. It's not that they would be up by four or five games in every other division, but that they would've made up at least four or five games in the standings over that stretch in every other division. Even that may not be completely accurate (see Twins), but you get the point. Still disgusting.

  5. 813dude says:

    Ramos was not sitting between sorianos knees. Watch the tape again. Just a bad camera angle.

    • Thadw says:

      Sorry bro, you're wrong about that. I watched it live last night and just watched it again and Ramos is clearly draping his arms over Soriano's legs. There's no question about it.

  6. Mike says:

    Ok, give Navi some credit. I really don't enjoy watching him at all but I'll give you that he does hustle. Nice play by Zobrist and the bunt too. Of course, you knew Longo was going to come through in the 8th.

  7. Don says:

    "Los" has got to go...s...
    Do the Rays realize they have a former all star 1st baseman hitting .400+
    in the minors...and we have to endure strike out after strike out from the $10mil man that wants to be resigned....signed for what.......... $2mil for a .200 hitting 1st baseman...Please no more...150+ more Pena strike outs to go for 2010!

    • Thadw says:

      Come on Don. Seriously? You pull Los out of that locker room right now and you'd have a freakin' mutiny on your hands. Let's get real. He hit a nasty Cliff Lee hard several times last night right at people (mostly shift caused outs). He's gonna hit .225 with 35 bombs and 110 RBI's and probably 180+ K's when it's all said and done. It is what it is. And he's not going anywhere THIS year, so just move on. Nothing more to say. Blalock is NOT coming up to replace Los THIS year. Why did I even waste time responding to this post?'

    • Tone says:

      Are you high? Pena is FAR FAR better at defense and will end up with more bombs than Hank would put up. Seems like too many people do not understand how many times Carlos scoops bad throws, his bombs are always game winning too. Carlos and Longo SHOULD be manning the corners together for years to come. Pena in the line up alone changes how they pitch everyone, he is a threat. The whole Rays line up is streaky with tons of strike outs, what team do you watch?

    • Thadw says:

      From 6/30 to 8/2 last year (27 games) Los hit .156 with 3 HR, 12 RBI's, and 34 K's. That's a BAD 27 game stretch, much worse than this year's first 27 games. Yet he hit .227 for the year with 39 HR's and 100 RBIs and MISSED THE FINAL MONTH OF THE SEASON. Patience.

  8. Justin says:

    Prof, putting Balfour in "the good" is just crazy. He was not good. He was barely passable.

    He was basically Percival.

  9. Joe D. says:

    With Los, it's the good with the bad, but gold glove defense, on the field leadership, a guy that loves St Pete, just an all around positive guy, oh yeah, and he dives in 100+ runs, and scares the hell out of opposing pitchers and managers, I'll take the strike outs, GIDPs, and low batting Avg...

  10. Gus says:

    I want to thank the starting pitchers for their consistent great, deep-game efforts so that we are all spared the torture of JoeMa mixing and matching the bullpen in an ugly fashion (especially without JP). What a joy it is to watch a game and not have 4 pitching changes in the 7th inning.

    I also would like to than Stu for finally getting this team a real closer (not a world beater, but good at his job). Is there any doubt that this team with a Soriano-type closer would have won the 2008 World Series?

  11. Joe D. says:

    Gus, don't remember us getting to a save situation and blowing it in the WS, and I remember Price being very good out of the 'pen in the closer roll...

  12. Don says:

    I'll give Pena till Memorial day....and if he is batting less than .200...say a cool .182...Bralock, Rodz. or Zo will be playing 1st....Look I'll bet you Boston would take Pena in a minute..hoping he would hit 40 hrs and not care what his BA is.....Rays wise up...Whats the area code for Boston!


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