It was a hallmark type game that you’ve come to expect out of the Rays, a game that had everything: excellent pitching, outstanding defense, and a scrappy offense that was able to push across five runs — all on base hits. Tampa Bay again moved a game closer to owning sole possession of first place Wednesday night, with a 5-1 win against its AL East rivals Boston. Handcuffing the Red Sox, the Rays made a four run deficit feel like a wide chasm that was impossible to cross. And to be fair, it was an impossible chasm to cross when you consider that nothing was getting by the Gold Glove caliber infield of Longoria/Escobar/Zobrist/Loney. I’ll highlight (below) a few things that I may have neglected to talk about in our live blogged coverage of last night’s game, on our Tumblr page.
- David Price was absolutely dominant from the get go. The Rays ace now has three complete games under his belt, following his 47-day stint on the DL. More impressively, Price has thrown less than 100 pitches in those starts, all the while featuring stellar velocity and control. There has been a simplicity in his approach — throw quality strikes, and don’t shy away from contact. I’d imagine that twelve ground ball outs and four strikeouts speaks to that. King David only gave up five hits on the night, and impressively walked no one. In fact, he has walked only one batter in his last five starts, while getting into only two three-ball counts. In short, it was a masterful performance against one of baseball’s most potent and patient offense’s. Price’s line in his five post DL starts: 4-1/1.76 ERA/41 IP/27 K/1 BB
- That double play… Whoa! Yunel Escobar continued to show why he should be a Gold Glove candidate, putting together some of the best glove we’ve seen all season (hell, some of the best glove work since 2008), turning this glove-flip double play:
- I can’t leave you out, BenZo! Credit where it’s due, Zobrist did his part in turning the double play — bare handing Escobar’s toss, and quickly firing the ball to Loney a step ahead of the runner.
- Oh yeah, the offense. The Rays singled Doubront and company to death, ultimately tagging the Red Sox pitchers for five runs on 11 hits — none of which being an extra base hit — and two walks. Tampa Bay did most of its damage off Doubront in the second inning. Wil Myers plated the first two runs on a base hit to center following a pair of Desmond Jennings and Evan Longoria singles. Myers and Ben Zobrist (who reached on a bunt fielder’s choice) pulled off the double steal to put runners on second and third, then Luke Scott hit a sac-fly scoring Zobrist, ultimately giving the Rays a 3-0 lead. In the eighth inning, Luke Scott scored the fourth run for the Rays on a James Loney single to right off Matt Thronton, while Sean Rodriguez gave the Rays an insurance run, crossing the plate on a Jose Molina grounder through the left side.
The New What Next
Jeremy Hellickson and the Rays will attempt to take a half game lead on the Red Sox tonight against John Lackey. Tampa Bay has had a lot of success against Lackey in the past. You can read about the pitching match-up here.
Rays 7/25/13 Starting Lineup
- Maddon has Longo hitting second again tonight.
- Moore and Price are the first LHP teammates to record complete games in same series against Boston at Fenway since Blue and Knowles of Oakland in ‘73.
- Sometimes the darndest things happen when a report is made that there has been a breakthrough in the talks between the City of St. Petersburg and the Rays: The facts get obscured, and we’re lead to believe that a shiny new facility is all but ready to go in downtown Tampa. Slow your roll, Tampa Bay Times and the Tribune, we’re not as close to a resolution as you’ve implied. First off, St. Pete’s top attorney, John Wolfe, said an agreement is “a long way off.” Noah Pransky of the Shadow of the Stadium blog asserts, “And it’s not a surprise – how does a city guarantee the Rays’ promise to consider Pinellas County stadium sites is anything more than lip service?” To that end, St. Pete city council member Karl Nurse noted that the city would be protected, because neither side could break the team’s current contract to play at Tropicana Field “unless both sides agree.” Furthermore, the Rays would be compelled to thoroughly examine a proposed stadium in St. Petersburg’s Carillon Business Park — if not other sites in the greater St. Petersburg/Pinellas County area (cough, the 84 acres of land that the Trop sits on). Pransky also asks five simple questions that we all should be asking: 1. Who will flip in St. Pete? 2.How close is an agreement in reality? 3. What will St. Pete get out of letting the Rays look? 4. How independent will the study be? 5. Who will pay for a stadium?