Going into last night’s rain lengthened game, you were given the impression that Tampa Bay were a mere inches from putting together a stretch run. Eight of their last 14 games were determined by one or two runs, and because of it one thing was certain; the pieces were there, it just came down to putting them together. Still, we waited with baited breath for a sign that they were on the other side of their malaise. If last night’s 7-0 handcuffing of the Twins did anything, it’s offer that sign… That glimmer of hope the Rays are ready to move forward. Tampa Bay starts the day tied with Texas for the first Wildcard spot, primed to pounce going into the last 15 games of the season.
Matt Moore started the three hour and four minute rain delayed marathon, putting together three innings of one hit, five strikeout ball. Moore was en route to putting together a “high-strikeout/questionable number of walks” outing before he was shutdown by the rain. At times wild, Moore got himself into trouble in the second and third innings thanks to the walk, and a second inning wild pitch which moved runners into scoring position. He, however, came back and induced a pair of inning ending groundouts to preserve his scoreless tenure.
…Then came the deluge
Brandon Gomes took the mound more than an hour later, ushering in a string of five Rays pitchers tasked with closing out the game. And with the exceptions of three hits (including a Pedro Florimon double off Wesley Wright) and a walk, the Rays bullpen was in shutdown mode. Gomes, Wesley Wright, Jamey Wright, Roberto Hernandez, and Cesar Ramos combined to strike out five and induce seven ground-ball outs — closing the door on any hope of a Twins comeback, or a run for that matter.
On the offensive end of things, the Rays hitters didn’t seem too effected by the rain delay, putting crooked numbers on the board both before and after the stop in play. And it all started with Wil Myers’ second inning double…
Wil moved up to third on James Loney’s productive groundout, and was ultimately driven home on a sac-fly to center of the bat of Sean Rodriguez. The Rays struck again in the third inning, after Jose Lobaton reached safely on a lined shot to left. After a pair of outs, Longoria plated a run on a hard hit double to right field — the double strikes again!
With an out in the fourth inning, the birthday boy Delmon Young sent the first pitch he saw to center. SeanRod followed that up with a single to left, moving Young into scoring position. Yunel Escobar and Jose Lobaton joined in on the fun by driving in a pair of runs on a base hit and sac-fly, giving the Rays a commanding four run lead.
…Then came the deluge
Tampa Bay tacked on three more runs in the sixth and eighth innings (respectively), thanks to a pair of huge RBI doubles off the bat of Desmond Jennings. In the end, Tampa Bay did what they seemed incapable of doing over the course of the last month plus — they took advantage of the mistakes and scoring opportunities presented to them.
The New What Next
David Price and the Rays will attempt to put together their twelfth consecutive win (extending back to last season) against the Twins. Minnesota will counter with Pedro Hernandez. You can read about the pitching match-up here.
Rays 9/15/13 Starting Lineup
- At 81-66, Tampa Bay is one victory from their sixth straight winning season.”
- Marc Topkin writes, “RHP Jesse Crain indeed came through Friday’s bullpen session feeling good and will throw to hitters Monday at the Trop in what could be the final test of his previously strained shoulder before he is activated and pitches in games. A final decision on his next step will be made Tuesday.”
- After putting up some pretty poor numbers, Tampa Bay is 7-18 wRISP so far in the current series with the Twins.