This is going to be an easy game synopsis. Tampa Bay got shutout by a score of 13-0 by the Cleveland Indians Sunday afternoon at Tropicana Field. With a 3-3 record on this young season, the Rays will embark on a 10-game road trip starting Monday in Arlington, where they will take on the Texas Rangers. Marc Topkin may have said it best in a piece that he penned,
Price had statistically his worst outing in the majors, allowing a career-high eight earned runs and 10 hits in only five innings in a 13-0 loss to the Indians before 21,629 at Tropicana Field.
Price fell behind hitters, left pitches over the middle of the plate and was knocked out of the game after three-run homers by Mark Reynolds and Lonnie Chisenhall. Reynolds also homered in the seventh off Kyle Farnsworth, providing two of the five blasts among the Indians’ 17 hits.
The Rays didn’t do much to support Price against Indians starter Justin Masterson. They loaded the bases with two outs in the first on a single by Ben Zobrist and walks to Evan Longoria and James Loney. But Yunel Escobar struck out for the first of three times.
That sums things up well. If you absolutely must indulge in our mediocre thoughts on today’s game, head here to read our blow by blow synopsis. Otherwise, the Rays and Rangers series preview follows:
- Tampa Bay Rays series starters as per Rotowire: Hellickson gave up five runs over 6.1 innings Wednesday, giving up eight hits and striking out two in the win over Baltimore. Hernandez pitched 6.2 innings Thursday, allowing four earned runs on six hits and a walk with seven strikeouts and was on the hook for the loss against the Orioles. Moore pitched six scoreless innings and allowed just two hits and two walks while striking out eight against the Indians on Friday.
- Texas Rangers series starters as per Rotowire: Ogando had an impressive 2013 season debut Wednesday, striking out 10 batters and allowing just four hits and a walk over 6.1 shutout innings against the Astros. Tepesch has earned the final spot in the Texas rotation, though he didn’t begin the season on the Opening Day roster, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Holland struck out five and walked one while giving up two runs on six hits over seven innings in no decision Friday against the Angels.
- The Rays offense regressed somewhat in the series against the Indians. Their conversion percentage wRISP dropped by 27%, while they scored five fewer runs overall, scored four fewer runs with two outs, and averaged 1.7 fewer runs per game. On the bright side, Tampa Bay gave up nine fewer runs with two-outs in their three game set against the Indians. Compare that to the 14 two-out runs the Rays gave up to the Orioles.
- With the exception of the number of runs relented with two outs, Texas and Tampa Bay seem fairly evenly keeled offensively.
- Hellickson is 0-2 with a 3.38 ERA in three career outings against the Rangers, including a loss in a 2011 AL division series.
- Including the playoffs, Elvis Andrus has gone 0-8 against Hellickson. Adrian Beltre and Lance Berkman, on the other hand, are a combined 5-8 with four homers.
- The Rangers have a slightly different look from the team that collapsed down the stretch last season and missed out on the bulk of the 2012 post-season play. Josh Hamilton signed with the Rangers rival Los Angeles Angels, and Mike Napoli was picked up by the Red Sox in the off-season. The Rangers have added A.J. Pierzynski and DH Lance Berkman to a still potent lineup which still features Adrian Beltre, Elvis Andrus and Ian Kinsler. Andrus has hit .310 in 32 career games against the Rays.
- The Rays won last year’s series 5-4. Rangers lead overall 77-62, while going 46-26 in Arlington.
How Do the Rays Stack up against the Rangers Starting Rotation?
- Alexi Ogando: The Rays have posted a combined .345 BA/.457 OBP/.517 SLG/.974 slash line against Ogando in 29 at-bats. Ogando — gave up three runs, five hits and two walks in 2 2-3 innings of a 4-1 home loss Aug. 31, 2011 in his only start against Tampa Bay. Match-ups to watch: Yunel Escobar (3-8, RBI, BB), Kelly Johnson (2-2, 3B, RBI), Matt Joyce (2-2, 2B, 2 RBI, 2 BB), Evan Longoria (2-4, HR, RBI), Ben Zobrist (1-4, BB).
- Nick Tepesch: The Rays have never faced Tepesch, a 14th round draft pick by the Rangers in 2010.
- Derek Holland: Derek Holland has been a bit of a thorn in the side of the Rays the last two seasons, holding Tampa Bay to a combined .234 BA/.294 OBP/.484 SLG/.778 OPS slash line in 124 at-bats. Holland is prone to give up the long ball though, having given up six to the Rays, three of which to Evan Longoria. Key match-ups: Kelly Johnson (1-3), Matt Joyce (2-3, RBI), Desmond Jennings (3-14, 2 3B, RBI, BB), Evan Longoria (9-22, 4 2B, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 2 BB), Ben Zobrist (6-21, 2 2B, 3B, HR, 6 RBI, BB).
Hot: Ben Zobrist (.429 BA/.458 OBP, 2 2B, HR, 7 RBI, 2 BB), Evan Longoria (.333 BA/.417 OBP, 3-7, 2 RBI, 2 BB), Shelley Duncan (4-14, HR, 4 RBI, R), Desmond Jennings (.250 BA/.375 OBP, 5-20, 2 2B, RBI, 5 R)