On a day aptly titled the Goddamn Deluge, the Tampa Bay Rays jumped all over the Baltimore Orioles in a four hit shutout shellacking, demoralizing their AL East foes by a score of 8-0. Tampa Bay has been able to leapfrog Baltimore in the standings, now claiming sole ownership of third place by a half game. Just two-and-a-half games behind the AL East leading Boston Red Sox, the Rays will look to sweep their second consecutive series against the Orioles Sunday afternoon.
RHP Jeremy Hellickson truly earned his fourth win of the year, after putting together a solid six inning outing where he gave up only four hits, and nothing else. With the exception of a pair of inefficient 23-pitch innings — the first and fifth — Helly was downright deadly. It should be noted that even in those two shaky innings, Helly was able to get out of those jams unscathed.
Hellickson led with his fastball, throwing 25 of 40 for strikes. From there, he leaned on his secondary pitches to keep a dangerous Orioles lineup off balance — throwing a very good change-up for strikes almost 69% of the time, and his curveball for strikes 75% of the time. Maintaining his composure, Hellickson was able to quelch a pair Orioles uprisings in the first and fifth innings.
Helly gave up a couple of singles to Manny Machado and Adam Jones in the first inning. But with two on and two outs, the Rays righty was able to get Chris Davis to pop out to Evan Longoria, getting out of the inning. Hellickson also gave up a pair of base hits to Matt Wieters and JJ Hardy to start off the fifth. However, he was able to strike out Chris Dickerson, induce a Ryan Flaherty fielder’s choice, and get Nate McLouth to fly out to left to get out of the inning, maintaining the integrity of the shutout.
True, Hellickson went deeper into the game in his only other shutout of the year — a game where he pitched up to the eighth inning against the Athletics. However, this outing was significant, because it’s the first time he has been able to avoid that big run scoring inning in over a month and a half. It’s a huge esteem builder for the righty, especially since he’s now strung together three quality starts in four previous outings.
And how about the pen?! Alex Torres, Jamey Wright, and Kyle Farnsworth (yes that Kyle Farnsworth) were literally un-hittable, combining for three innings of four strikeout ball. Torres was again impressive, striking out both Chris Davis and JJ Hardy on a pair of nasty change-ups. Torres got out of the seventh inning cleanly after throwing only 10 pitches (eight for strikes). The Rays lefty has now posted 11-1/3 innings of scoreless ball, striking out 14 batters along the way.
Offensively, after scoring only seven runs over the course of three previous games, the Rays’ bats once again woke up, tagging rookie Kevin Gausman for seven runs on eight hits and three walks. The Rays went 6-13 w RISP, while Evan Longoria and Ben Zobrist drove in a pair of two-out RBI. Speaking of Zobrist, Ben had a monster day at the plate.
Zobris went 3-for-5 with an RBI and a pair of runs. Not to be outdone, both Jose Lobaton and Yunel Escobar were productive, teaming up to go 6-for-8, plating a pair of runs. Lobaton also crossed the plate on a Ben Zobrist single in the second inning. Even Luke Scott did something productive, shooting — no pun intended — a three RBI triple to deep right-field, giving the Rays a 7-0 lead in the fifth. Notable mentions to Desmond Jennings, James Loney, and Evan Longoria: The trinity each scored runs, while both Longo and Loney plated a pair.
The New What Next
Matt Moore will take the bump for the Rays Sunday against Chris Tillman and the Orioles. Moore will attempt to bounce back from a disappointing two-inning outing against the Tigers Tuesday. If the Rays win, they’ll pull a game-and-a-half in front of the Orioles, ahead of a big series against the Boston Red Sox. You can read about the pitching match-up here.
Rays 6/9/13 Starting Lineup