Friday marked the first game of the post David Price era, and boy was it a doozy! I’m obviously lying. In short Jeremy Hellickson gave up four early runs and couldn’t make it through the fifth inning for the third consecutive game, and Tampa Bay — despite scoring opportunities aplenty — couldn’t overcome a two run deficit. Joe Maddon called it a winnable game in his presser following the contest — and it was. But would have, could have, and should have beens don’t count for anything in baseball; The Rays dropped the first game of the series to the Angels by a 5-3 score. Come to think of it, it didn’t deviate much from a typical Rays’ loss even when Price was on the roster.
Bulleted highlights and low-lights follow.
- Suffice it to say, Jeremy Hellickson didn’t have his best stuff Friday night. Helly was hit hard to the tune of four runs on six hits in 4-2/3 innings of work. He gave up an extra base hit in every inning except the fifth, including a two-run homer to Mike Trout and a solo shot to Josh Hamilton — defying the theory that Hamilton can’t hit anything but fastballs. The much maligned righty left too many pitches over the plate, and the Angels punished him for doing so. Simply put, he doesn’t resemble a major league pitcher right now.
- James Loney hit a second inning double off the top of the railing in right field. Joe Maddon thought it might be a homer, but the umpires thought otherwise. Upon further review, the umps were correct. Either way Loney ended up scoring that inning so no harm, no foul.
- The Rays mounted a two-out, two run rally in the fifth inning. With Zobrist on first, Matt Joyce scorched a double down the right field line that could have scored Zo, but for whatever reason it didn’t. Nevertheless the Rays had runners in scoring position, bringing Evan Longoria to the plate. Longo worked a pretty good at-bat before hitting a ball right at David Freese at third. Freese misplayed it, threw it away, and allowed two runs to score. However, Longo collided with the first base umpire Larry Vanover, fell down, and was tagged out at second.
- Let me first qualify things by saying I would never wish illness upon anyone. That said, I think the 15 days of rest as a result of Joel Peralta’s case of Chickenchimichonga may have rejuvenated him. Peralta’s stuff looks a lot tighter and his control seems on point, as exemplified by a 10 pitch (nine strikes) 1-2-3 eighth. Consider this: Since returning from the DL, Peralta has worked two perfect frames, ringing up four in the process.
- The Rays loaded the bases with no outs in the ninth, on a Cole Figueroa single, Brandon Guyer walk, and a Kevin Kiermaier infield single. BUT, Desmond Jennings struck out, Zobrist struck out, and Matt Joyce flied to center. Jennings’ timing looked off after he took a breaking pitch for strike one. With that disconnect, Street tossed Jennings a hittable pitch that he fouled off setting up the swinging strikeout. Zobrist almost gets a pass after he went 2-5 on the night with a run. Still, much like Jennings, Zo got a hittable pitch which he fouled off, then struck out swinging. I’m not even going to attempt a dissection of Joyce’s at-bat. I will say, he is slashing .188 BA/.308 OBP/.219 SLG/.526 OPS in high leverage situations this season, with a capital P PATHETIC .031 ISO.
- Every time Joyce comes to the plate with runners in scoring position, this song (below) goes through my head:
The New What Next
Chris Archer will try to nudge the Rays back into the win column tonight, opposite of CJ Wilson (8-6, 4.33 ERA). Wilson has been on the DL since incurring an ankle injury at the beginning of July. While his poor, three plus inning outing prior to his placement on the DL can be explained by an ankle issue, his seven starts of four earned runs or more cannot. If I must be fair to the preeminent Head and Shoulders’ sales jockey, his best outing of the year was a doozy of a complete game shutout against… Tampa Bay. Womp womp! Still, I have to think this is a winnable game. You can read about the pitching matchup in our series preview.
Rays 8/2/14 Starting Lineup
- Per Roger Mooney of the Trib, C Ryan Hanigan is expected to start a rehab stint with the Stone Crabs tonight. Mooney writes, “Hanigan will not play Sunday, catch for the Stone Crabs on Monday, take Tuesday off and catch Wednesday for the GCL Rays. If all goes well, Hanigan could rejoin the team Friday when they begin a three-game series in Chicago against the Cubs.”
- Mooney also wrote about the false trade rumors surrounding Ben Zobrist, saying, “Zobrist said he was taking a nap Thursday afternoon when a fake Bob Nightengale Twitter account announced he had been traded to the Pirates. His wife, Julianna, was flying home from Los Angeles when she began receiving texts about the trade. “I called my dad and said: ‘Hey, have you seen anything on TV? Because Jules is getting texts from friends,’ ” Zobrist said. “We were getting emails from people asking for tickets in Pittsburgh. She didn’t know if anything was true, and I was trying to find out if it was, so eventually I was like, ‘It’s not true. It’s a false report.’ ”
- LHP Drew Smyly, acquired from the Tigers in the Price trade, will report to The Trop today. He will wear No. 33 — James Shields’ old number.
- Your tweet of the day:
#Rays Maddon said that was a game they can’t let get away, called it “disappointing” to have 1-2-3 up w/bases loaded in 9th and get nothing
— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) August 2, 2014