If I had to sum up Saturday’s Rays and Indians game in a sentence, it’d go something like this: The Rays 5-0 loss to the Indians was a tale of pitching, both good and not so good. On the side of good pitching lies the Indians starter Ubaldo Jimenez and the Rays long reliever Alex Torres. On the other side of the coin lies Chris Archer, who couldn’t make it out of the fifth inning cleanly.
Posting a 4 IP/7 H/5 R/5 ER/3 BB/4 K/2 HR slash line, it’s safe to say that Chris Archer had a tough day on the mound. The young righty was tagged with five runs in the second, third, and fifth innings, thanks to a pair of two-run homers by Jason Giambi and Azdrubal Cabrera. Giambi also plated a run on a third inning base hit, plating Jason Kipnis.
Archer wasn’t nearly as sharp with his two-seam fastball as he’s been in the past. Chris found the strike zone with only 12 of his 26 two-seam fastballs. To his credit, Archer’s changeup looked excellent, throwing 75% for strikes. Ironically, the two homers given up came on the same pitch, in the same location: letters high and over the outside third of the plate.
On the other hand, Ubaldo Jimenez was excellent against the Rays, whose exhaustion (after an early morning arrival in Cleveland Friday, combined with Friday night’s marathon game) showed at the plate. In his 108 pitch (72 for strikes) outing, Jimenez kept the Rays hitters off balance. Though he didn’t blow the Rays away — Jimenez’s fastball topped out at 94 MPH — his pitches had good movement, and he effectively moved the ball around the zone. Jimenez struck out seven Rays batters, while inducing 10 groundouts and seven pop-outs.
In my opinion, the narrative should revolve around Alex Torres. Then again, I’m biased. Nevertheless, the young lefty looked outstanding in relief of Archer, striking out six of the 13 batters he faced, while allowing only two base runners on a hit — a ground rule double up the left-field line, that looked like it hooked foul before passing third base — and a walk. Torres came on with a man aboard and no outs in the fifth inning, and proceeded to mow over the Indians batters. Alex was downright whiffy with his changeup, throwing 12 total and inducing 10 swings and misses.
Truth be told, Torres has looked impressive in all of his relief appearances with the Rays. So far he’s given up only one hit in 8-1/3 innings, while striking out nine. Though I’m not too impressed with his 4.15 BB/9 ratio, his 100% LOB% speaks volumes. That is, he’s allowed four base runners and stranded them all. What’s more, he was able to do something today that Archer was not. Torres protected an overworked bullpen from any more undue wear and tear; something that is ultimately invaluable in the scheme of things.
The New What Next
The Rays look to bounce back against a very tough Zach McAllister Sunday, in the rubber match of their current three game series. Jeremy Hellickson is still scheduled to start the game, though there is some conversation about the potential for Matt Moore to get the start instead. It all comes down to what the Rays training staff recommends. Whatever the case, we’ll know more later. You can read about Sunday’s scheduled match-up here.
Rays 6/2/13 Starting Lineup