Jeremy Hellickson worked into the seventh inning for the first time since May 22nd, in the Rays 4-1 handling of the Toronto Blue Jays Monday night, snapping Toronto’s 11-game winning streak. Don’t look now, but the Rays are starting to look toasty once more. Not only have they strung together back-to-back victories, they’ve also won four out-of-their last six games. The game also went down in the annals of Rays history and lore, after James Loney, Wil Myers, and Sam Fuld hit back-to-back-to-back solo shots for the first time ever in the Trop. More on the game below, in a segment that we like to call The Good, The Bad, and The Argyle: A Bulleted Summary of the Game.
- I suppose that Jeremy Hellickson’s outstanding outing is a good place to start. Prior to last night, the Blue Jays averaged 6.7 runs per game over the span of their 11-game winning streak, while the pitching staff held opponents to 2.21 runs per game over the same span of time. In short, the Jays were scoring — on average — four runs per game more than their opponents. Enter Helly. The Rays needed a good start out of Jeremy Hellickson going into this series, and a good start they got in spades. Relying heavily on his four seam fastball (45 total/26 for strikes) and his change-up (32 total/22 for strikes/4 swinging), Hellickson posted seven solid innings of one hit/four walk ball, keeping a powerful Blue Jays team off-balance all night. Toronto had an incredibly hard time of making solid contact, while Colby Rasmus seemed to be the only Jay that was able to get anything started after walking three times and seeing almost a quarter of Helly’s total 96 pitches.
- A historic second inning… Suffice to say, Esmil Rogers has been very good this season, only allowing five runs in a span of 30-1/3 innings dating back to May 14th. Rogers has also been incredibly tough against righties this season — so tough, I made the errant assumption that Myers wouldn’t hit his first homer at the Trop last night. Because of this, I neglected to purchase tickets to his home debut, choosing to attend tonight’s game instead. Whoops! Little did I know (going into last night’s game) that Tampa Bay would make history. It all started with one out in the bottom of the second. James Loney saw two pitches — a ball and a strike (on a foul) — before Rogers left a meatball in the heart of the zone, consequently finding a home 402 feet away in the right-center stands. Wil Myers followed Loney, crushing a massive 428 foot blast to dead center in his first at-bat under the big top. Then Sam Fuld, the last person that you’d assume would go yard, hit a 356 foot line drive shot to right-field, giving the Rays an early 3-0 lead. Loney, Myers, and Fuld made history, hitting three consecutive homers under the dome for the first time in franchise history.
- More on Myers. Myers became the third Rays player to homer in his first plate appearance at the Trop. He is also the first player in franchise history with seven runs batted in his first eight career games. Furthermore, Myers is currently in the throes of a seven game hitting streak. Both Joe Maddon and Sam Fuld seemed to be in awe of the Rays rookie, saying,
“That’s right up there. To see a young man come in like that and do that on his first at-bat, I thought it was outstanding…The crowd reaction was really wonderful also, and Wil responded. Like I said, he’s not really impressed with this whole thing yet.”
“Mine’s more like a thud,” Fuld said. “His is like, ‘Whack.’ It’s true.” … “I guess, in some respects, hitting a grand slam [at Yankee Stadium] and then hitting a ball 1,000 feet to center field, it’s pretty impressive.”
- If I must… It’s only fair to acknowledge Luke Scott’s contribution to the game. Mister .243 BA blooped an RBI double into short left-field, scoring Matt Joyce from second.
- Fernando Rodney put together his second consecutive save. It wasn’t as pretty or dominant at the preceding save, however Rodney’s 22-pitch outing was much more impressive than many of his earlier appearances. Rodney allowed only one base runner on a JP Arencibia come-backer that Rodney couldn’t snag, while striking out two and inducing the game ending Maicer Izturis ground-out to second.
- How refreshing, I’ve nothing to report!
- Alex Torres’ scoreless streak comes to an end. Let’s be realistic, the scoreless streak had to come to an end at some point. However, that he was able to get out of a bases loaded mess with minimal damage, while also getting Bautista and Encarnacion to ground out and pop out, was HUGE. Though Torres was visibly upset with himself as he made his way back to the dugout, he can be confident that he did an outstanding job of making the big pitches that ultimately quelled the Jays uprising.
The New What Next
Matt Moore will attempt to follow a solid 6-1/3 IP/4 H/3 ER outing against the Yankees, with another quality start against Mark Buehrle and the Blue Jays Tuesday night at the Trop. You can read about the pitching match-up here.
Rays 6/25/13 Starting Lineup
- Zobrist is tonight’s DH, while Kelly Johnson gets the start at second base.
- David Price will make another rehab start in Port Charlotte Wednesday. Price mentioned that things could hopefully move in the right direction if he felt good on Thursday. Joe Maddon was a bit cautious to conclusions about Price’s forthcoming activation from the DL, stressing that nothing would be decided until Price was re-evaluated after this start.
- Peter Gammons tweeted, “Wil Myers makes Trop debut and they can’t draw 12,000?” We, in turn, wrote a response.
- Cough, an 11-game win streak isn’t always indicative of how good a team is.