What to say about last night’s rumble in the ‘Burg that hasn’t already been said? Hmmm. I think Gordon Edes summed things up well,
“The object of the Rays’ ire was Sox starter John Lackey, who barked and gestured at their dugout in the second, then drilled Matt Joyce in the back with a fastball in the sixth, a “bush league move,” as Joyce described it afterward.”
The Boston Red Sox came out the victors of a 10-8, five-hour and 27 minute marathon, in what could be described as a very weird game. If I may, why does this kind of game always seem to happen when it’s being nationally televised on ESPN? I digress.
Last night’s match-up had everything — From a bench clearing aborted brawl, to a Rays team that could not seem to drive in runners in scoring position, who however was able to chink away at the armor of the Red Sox, ultimately grinding out eight runs. You guessed it, it’s time for another episode of The Good, The Bad, and The Argyle: A Bulleted Game Summary.
- Alex Cobb did a good job of bouncing back after a six run first inning. In a very uncharacteristic start by Cobb, the Rays dependable RHP gave up six runs in a 39 pitch first inning — all with no outs. In fact, all of the Red Sox hitters got to face Cobb in the first, while eight men reached base on four singles, three doubles, and a walk. But something miraculous happened, Cobb wouldn’t relent another hit or run. In fact, he would only allow two other base runners on a pair of walks throughout the balance of his outing. It wasn’t easy, nor was it pretty. However I’m very encouraged by his ability to make adjustments in the game, which ultimately gave the Rays an opportunity to catch up to a Red Sox team that is — on average — outscoring is opponents by two runs per game, on the road. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not implying that his outing was sparkling — his line speaks to that, as does the fact that he and Moore have given up 15-runs over the course of nine innings. However, he was able clean things up, giving the Rays a fighting chance.
- Ben Zobrist is an absolute beast! After a fairly quiet month of May, Ben Zobrist has started to pour it on. Zo went 5-for-7 with a run and an RBI Monday night, setting a career-high for the Rays utility player. Furthermore, he became only the second Rays player to collect five hits at the Trop. Going nine-for-13 with four doubles and one home run in the last three games, it’s nice to see Zo starting to come around.
- Alex Torres did it again. Torres came on in relief of Alex Cobb in the fifth inning and looked great once more. Lasting a pair of innings, Torres was able to strike out four (a pair of swinging strikeouts on — you guessed it — his change-up), while inducing a weakly hit come-backer, and a line-out to left. Torres now has 13-1/3 innings under his belt, allowing only three hits, zero runs, and three walks. Did I mention that he’s wrung up 18 batters?
- Watching the Rays offense grind it out was great. Forget that the Rays looked horrible wRISP — we’ll get into that below. Matt Joyce, Evan Longoria, James Loney, and Jose Lobaton all went yard Monday night, while Yunel Escobar went 2-for-5 and crossed the plate twice. They took advantage of quality pitched innings by Alex Torres, Joel Peralta, Jake McGee, and Jamey Wright, slowly and surely driving in a run or two — here and there — keeping the Rays in the game throughout the duration of the 14-inning marathon.
- Luke Scott, need I say more? I will. Luke went 0-7 Monday night, becoming the only player in the lineup — who started the game, that is — to not reach base even once. What’s more, the Rays designated out…urm, hitter stranded four men on the bags, while popping or flying out four times. I said it once, and I’ll say it again, “After Luke Scott’s less than outstanding 0-7 night at the plate, the initially far-fetched thought of cutting him in favor of Wil Myers has gained favor with many — myself included.”
- The Rays looked horrible wRISP. Tampa Bay went 3-for-16 last night, while going 9-for-70 against the Red Sox this season. Comparatively speaking, they’ve hit .330 (148-for-448) with RISP against all other opponents. 13 men were stranded on base, including eight in scoring position. A runner was stranded at third in five different innings. Sure Cobb, Fernando Rodney, and Cesar Ramos gave up far too many runs. However, I’d argue that had the Rays hitters done their part when given the opportunities, Rodney never would have pitched two innings, and Cesar Ramos never would have given up the go-ahead runs in the top of the 14th, after putting together two scoreless innings prior to the final inning of the night.
- The bottom of the 10th was particularly painful. The Rays could do nothing more with the bases loaded and no outs, after scoring a pair of runs on Jose Lobaton’s solo shot, and a Kelly Johnson bases loaded walk. Evan Longoria ground into a third to catcher to first double play, while Sam Fuld ground out to first on a surprise bunt. The bunt almost worked, but Pedroia read the play well, springing to the ball and getting it to the first baseman for the final out. Had Fuld dribbled it to the pitcher, Fuld is safe at first and the Rays win 9-8.
- What you all have been waiting for, the aborted brawl. It all started in the second inning when Matt Joyce launched a massive 3-0 foul ball, that would’ve been a homer had it stayed fair — Joyce initially dropped his bat as if it had remained fair, this fact is relevant. After Joyce grounded out to end the inning, John Lackey was seen yelling something curt at the Rays dugout as he made his way off the field. In kind, Sean Rodriguez was seen yelling something right back him, but at that moment we didn’t know what either of them had to say. Fast forward to the sixth inning. With two outs in the Rays half of the sixth, Lackey drilled Joyce in the back. Though Lackey attempted to act like it was unintentional, it was obvious that the act was quite deliberate. Joyce clearly mouthed, “That’s bullshit” as he walked toward first base, and the benches cleared. No punches were thrown — surprising if you ask me, considering the personalities on each squad — and warnings were issued. Ben Zobrist followed the debacle with a single to right, moving a heated — angrily muttering — Joyce to third. He, arguably, could — and should — have scored from first, though he was held up at third to end the inning.
- I mentioned that I’d talk a bit about how Matt Joyce’s bombastic foul, and Sean Rodriguez’s subsequent response to Lackey, applied to the aborted brawl. The folks at Rays Index delved into that very subject,
“Earlier tonight, John Lackey hit Matt Joyce and the benches emptied. This happened a few innings after Lackey got into a shouting match with Sean Rodriguez.Well, after the game, the Red Sox studio crew tried to explain the plunking of Joyce and boy do they sound like complete idiots. And if they are right, well the Red Sox are complete idiots.
The studio crew says Joyce got hit because he “dropped his bat” on a long foul ball after hitting a home run earlier in the game. They believe Joyce has not earned the right to “pimp” his home runs. Because apparently dropping a bat is “pimping a home run.”
To add to their idiocy, they point to Lackey yelling at the Rays dugout and say he is yelling at Joyce. YOU CAN SEE JOYCE IN THE PICTURE. Lackey is not yelling at Joyce.
They then go on to blame Luke Scott for the pushing and shoving as if Lackey never hit anybody on purpose. This is a hundred types of dumb. Here’s the video…
The New What Next
The Rays are back at it tonight, with a somewhat erratic Roberto Hernandez on the mound, and I’d imagine that warnings may be issued prior to the first pitch. He’ll be up against a very good Jon Lester. You can read more on the pitching match-up here.
Rays 6/11/13 Starting Lineup
- Jennings back in the leadoff spot, Johnson gets night off, and Joyce dropped to ninth vs LHP Lester.
- The Rays have called up Jake Odorizzi — who was to start tonight for Durham — so there’s a fresh arm in the pen. In turn, Alex Cobb has been placed on the bereavement list due to death of his grandmother, and will miss at least three games.
- Matt Joyce and Joe Maddon’s response to the events of last night were practically mirror images of one another. Joyce called Lackey’s actions, “bush-league,” while Maddon went on to chide Lackey, calling him a “bad teammate,” for potentially getting one of his own players hurt.
- Per Roger Mooney of the Trib, “Price said he’s not heard from ump Hallion, who’s working series, about apology stemming from incident in Chicago earlier this season.”