The Tampa Bay Rays took the first game of a three game set against the Cleveland Indians by a score of 4-0 Friday night at Tropicana Field. There was a lot to like Friday, which I’ve culled together below.
- Pitching, pitching, pitching. The Rays pitchers, led by the young lefty Matt Moore, looked outstanding Friday night. Moore, Jake McGee, Brandon Gomes, and Joel Peralta combined to strike out eleven batters while giving up only two hits and two walks. The aforementioned pitchers were able to retire the last 17 batters in a row, not giving up a hit or a walk after the fourth inning.
- Speaking of Matt Moore, he wasn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination — his fastball only hit 95 mph a couple of times in his six inning, 100 pitch (59 for strikes) outing, and he lost command in the third and fourth innings. However, he was dominant overall, ultimately posting a 6 IP/2 H/0 R/0 ER/2 BB/8 K slash line. Moore threw 18 changeups, 22 curves, and 60 fastballs, throwing both secondary pitches for strikes. And when he wasn’t able to strike out a particular batter, he induced light, awkward contact for easy outs. If not for his lapses in the third and fourth innings, Moore could have gone a bit deeper into the game. If this outing was one that Moore could build upon, this promises to be an exciting season for the young LHP.
- Sometimes bad things happen and we’re better because of it. Case in point, Jeff Niemann goes on the DL and Brandon Gomes gets recalled. Gomes worked the eighth inning, retiring three batters in order on 10 pitches (seven for strikes).
- The Rays weren’t perfect at the plate, not getting their first hit until the third, and not pushing a runner across the plate until the fourth. However, I’m impressed that they’ve been able make adjustments the second and third times through the order. Last night was no different. Ben Zobrist came up, going 2-3 with a run and three RBI. Tampa Bay was able to keep their foot on the throat on a struggling Zach McAllister, keeping him off-balance for the duration of the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings. The Indians righty looked like he might unravel at any moment, and the Rays took full advantage of the pitcher who was struggling with his location.
- Sam Fuld led off the fourth inning with a single to center and was subsequently driven home on a Ben Zobrist double to deep right. After moving over to third on an Evan Longoria single, Zobrist was driven home by Yunel Escobar on a productive ground out to short. Then with two outs in the fifth, Desmond Jennings came back from an 0-2 count to reach base on a Mike Aviles error. Sam Fuld followed Jennings by slapping a single to right field, moving him to third. Ben Zobrist followed that up by hitting his second RBI double of the night — a shot to the right field corner — scoring both Jennings and Fuld.
The New What Next:
Alex Cobb gets the start on the bump Saturday night in his highly anticipated first start of the year. Cobb is pitching opposite of the highly regarded 22-year-old RHP Trevor Bauer, who’s getting the start in lieu of Scott Kazmir. Bauer was knocked around in four major league starts last year, going 1-2 with a 6.06 ERA. The righty struck out 17 over 16 1/3 innings but issued 13 walks. Cobb — who looked very good in Spring Training, posting a 2.81 ERA and striking out 28 over 25 2/3 innings — enters 2013 with high expectations after compiling a 7-1 record and 3.09 ERA over his final 11 starts last year.
Rays 4/6/13 Starting Lineup:
- While Chris Davis has been lauded as a monster at the plate, Ben Zobrist has quietly been a monster in his own right, going 7 for 15 with a homer and seven RBI in this very young 2013 season.
- Repost: We’d love to put together some X-Rays Spex Rays game viewing parties/group meet-ups. The only problem; we haven’t a clue of any locations that you, dear reader, frequent — ones that would be hospitable to such activities. That’s where you come in! What spots do you frequent around the Bay Area? Is your spot suitable for such activities? Personally, I like Old Northeast Tavern in St. Pete, but that’s just me. Click the link to the survey. The sooner, the better. After all, the sooner you let us know, the sooner we can put something together! Please note, we’d prefer to support locally owned businesses. X-Rays Spex viewing party/group meet-up survey.