Just when you think you’ve got baseball figured out, it humbles you and beats you up.
– Orestes Destrade
The Tampa Bay Rays closed out their 17-6 July with a 5-0 loss against the Milwaukee Brewers, in the series finale Wednesday. David Price, who was bested by the Brewers ground ball inducing machine Yovani Gallardo, took the hard luck loss. And though he pounded the zone, with 83 of his 113 pitches coming as strikes (73% K%), the Brewers — namely Martin Maldonado — were able to take advantage of the pitches Price left out and over the plate, tagging the Rays’ ace for four runs (three earned) on seven hits. The uncharacteristic two walk second inning certainly didn’t help his cause.
To be fair, Price could have pitched like Nolan Ryan this afternoon and it still wouldn’t have mattered. After all, what’s the difference between one run or four, when you’re getting one hit into the eighth inning? Simply put, Gallardo was excellent. Even when Tampa Bay mounted scoring opportunities in the first, third and seventh innings, Gallardo was able to make that all important ground ball coaxing pitch (Longoria in the first and Escobar in the seventh) or ring up the batter (Zobrist in the third). They put up on final threat in the ninth, yet neither James Loney nor Yunel Escobar could come up big with runners in scoring position.
However all isn’t lost. The Rays were able to walk away with their fifth consecutive series win, and David Price is still a Ray as of now. And if the report out of Los Angeles speaks to anything, (as well as the acquisition of Justin Masterson by the St. Louis Cardinals) it’s that Price should still be the Rays ace come Friday.
Both Price and Joe Maddon feel the same:
— Joe Smith (@TBTimes_JSmith) July 30, 2014
#Rays Maddon says he expects Price to still be with team on Friday: “It takes two to dance, boys.”
— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) July 30, 2014
The Rays will resume action Friday, when they the Los Angeles Angels into the friendly confines of The Trop. While we collectively become Angels fans for the next two days, when they face off with the Orioles, Tampa Bay must continue to win series’ if they’re going to get to .500, then put up 66 wins (Don Zimmer’s number), and finally win 89 (1989, Zimmer’s favorite season as a manager) games or more. Our series preview is to come.