Tampa Bay Rays starting lineup:
Notes: ‘Los is leading off again, Sutton is hitting clean-up, Joyce is getting the start in RF instead of Zobrist, finding Thompson in RF. Is it me, of does this feel like a Spring Training lineup?!
Coming off a big (and sloppily fielded) 8-5 victory over the Jays, Tampa Bay looks to take the rubber game of this three game set, ending their current home stand 4-4. Coming off of a four run seven hit start against the Braves, James Shields (6-2, 3.77 ERA) will take the mound, opposite of Ricky Romero (5-1, 3.64 ERA), as he attempts to regain his big game moniker, following two lackluster starts. Ricky Romero is 6-4 against the Rays in his last 11 starts, and hasn’t always been…urm, that kind to Tampa Bay. Batters are hitting a measly .216 against Romero in 2012, and with a very good 1.28 WHIP, the Rays are going to have to muster as much offense as they can against the tough left-handed pitcher. One thing is certain: if Shields and Romero are on point today, the 1:10 game promises to be a low scoring pitchers duel.
The Rays have an opportunity to take down the Jays today. Following their big victory last night, the Rays certainly have the momentum on their side. They’ll need to muster all of that momentum, utilizing all of the positives from last night to drive them today. And there were a good number of positives. Yet, there were also a few lingering concerns that made the outcome closer than it should have been. They will need to, ahem, accentuate the positives, and eliminate the negatives.
-‘Los: 2-5 with three RBI and one run in the lead off spot. Maddon haters: maybe the man knows what he’s doing?! Did I mention that three run, 542 ft. blast to dead center? Yeah, there was that with only 12,000 (or so) fans in the stands no less. Guess Pena didn’t get the memo that a lack of paid attendees = no homers to center.
-A five run fourth thanks to a Luke Scott homer to left, an Andrew Sutton RBI double, and the Pena blast. Incidentally, Luke Scott’s homer was his first to left field since April 2008.
-BJ Upton going 2-5 with a run and an RBI blast to left in the sixth, giving the Rays a much-needed insurance run following a disastrous four run fifth and one run sixth.
-Andrew Sutton going 2-4 with a run and an RBI double in his first game with the Rays. The kid’s got some wheels on him too.
-The ‘pen cleaning up the mess that Matt Moore left behind, going a combined 4-1/3 innings, giving up one run on four hits, while striking out four. The run and majority of hits are charged to Wade Davis.
-Another bad-ass save by Fernando Rodney. Rodney is now 14-for-14 in the save department.
-A seldom seen call, where Lawrie did not re-touch second base on his way back to first on a fly out. This was included because Lawrie is a constant LOL giver nowadays.
Last night’s game was not without its scary or ugly moments. Matt Moore looked really good through the first four innings, striking out six, inducing pop-outs and ground-outs, and giving up two hits and a walk.
…Then the bottom fell out in the fifth. The play by play (below) gives you, in graphic detail, what could have found the Rays in much worse shape, going in to the sixth.
Poor pitching in the fifth, plus two errors…on the same play no less, isn’t good. The Rays miraculously got out of the inning by giving up only four runs. I say only because the inning ended with Encarnacion on second. Also the gold glove caliber Ben Zobrist committed an error, the first of his career in the outfield. That ended a streak of 270 games, in 479 chances, without an error.
Today’s starting lineup still to come.
|C Rasmus walked.||0||6|
|Y Gomes grounded into fielder’s choice to pitcher, C Rasmus out at second.||0||6|
|R Davis grounded into fielder’s choice to shortstop, Y Gomes out at second.||0||6|
|R Davis stole second.||0||6|
|K Johnson walked, R Davis stole third.||0||6|
|Y Escobar walked, K Johnson to second.||0||6|
|J Bautista singled to left, R Davis and K Johnson scored, Y Escobar to third.||2||6|
|E Encarnacion safe at first on throwing error by third baseman S Rodriguez, Y Escobar scored, J Bautista advanced to second on S Rodriguez throwing error, J Bautista scored, E Encarnacion to third on throwing error by right fielder B Zobrist.||4||6|
|B Badenhop relieved M Moore.||4||6|
|J Arencibia flied out to right.|