Ouch. Yesterday’s game against Zach Greinke and the Dodgers certainly didn’t play out the way we hoped it would. Tampa Bay has now dropped its fourth consecutive game, and second consecutive series, after being blanked 5-0 by Los Angeles Saturday. If the Rays are going to salvage a game on their current road trip, they’re going to have to do so against a very tough pitcher tonight. It won’t be easy. It’s time for another edition of The Good, The Bad, and The Argyle: A Bulleted Game Summary.
- The bullpen looked much better Saturday. Jamey Wright, Cesar Ramos, and Josh Leuke kept the Rays in the game, combining for four innings of shutout ball. They were able to hold the Dodgers to four hits and three walks (two intentional) while striking out four. Wright did an excellent job to get out of a pair of RISP situations in the fifth and sixth innings, inducing a pair of groundouts to strand Punto and Uribe (respectively) on the bags. Josh Lueke needed all of nine pitches (seven for strikes) to strike out Ellis and Withrow in the bottom of the eighth inning.
- Ben Zobrist continued his toasty ways, going 2-for-4 Saturday, with a pair of base hits.
- The good old hidden ball trick. In the fourth inning, Longoria took a nonchalant toss from Yunel Escobar and sidled up behind Juan Uribe, waiting for the moment the Dodgers third baseman came off the bag. When his foot came off third, Longo quickly placed the tag.
- It can’t be said the Tampa Bay didn’t have an opportunity to tag Greinke and the Dodgers for runs. Still, they couldn’t seem to move runners from station to station. Seven Rays safely reached base, while Tampa Bay threatened with runners in scoring position in the first, fourth, and fifth innings. Though Greinke wasn’t nearly as sharp as he’s been in the past, he did a good job of making the big pitches when he needed to, effectively holding the wolves at bay. He had the Rays swinging at pitches outside of the zone all day, and their willingness to pull the trigger proved costly — Greinke struck out nine. The Rays ultimately went 0-7 wRISP, while only one Ray (Evan Longoria in the fourth) made it past second.
- Roberto Hernandez struggled again, allowing a two-run homer in the first then walking opposing starter Zack Greinke to set up a two-run third. Robo lasted only four innings, the fifth time in eight games the Rays starter hasn’t gotten through five. To be fair, both Gonzalez and Crawford were able to turn a pair of low and inside pitches into a homer and a double. Both pitches were good by all accounts. However, Hernandez didn’t have the sink he needed to be successful overall. Hernandez mentioned as much, “After the first inning everything was flat and up too much.”
- Let it be said and known, Luke Scott’s four pitch, pinch hit, swinging strikeout in the seventh was one of the most atrocious at-bats I’ve seen in a while. Scott, after rolling through most of July, has three hits in his last 34 plate appearances.
- Hernandez’s spot in the rotation again appears in jeopardy. Alex Cobb is slated to come off the DL Thursday, while Matt Moore is expected to return only a few days later. Compound that with a potential choice looming between him and rookie Chris Archer. The Rays skipper hasn’t indulged too much, saying,
“We haven’t decided anything with that yet… Roberto had that really good game against Arizona, he pitched a complete game … so that was just a couple of starts ago, and then all of a sudden it’s been a little more difficult.”
- I’d reckon home plate umpire Paul Nauret had a fairly liberal strike zone yesterday:
The New What Next
Enter the stopper, Jeremy Hellickson. Yeah, uh…somewhat similar. Hellickson will look to put a halt to his, and the Rays, losing streak tonight against Clayton Kershaw. Helly has lost his last two starts, while the Dodgers are 0-2 in Kershaw’s last two outings. It should be mentioned: Kershaw relinquished a combined two runs in his last two starts. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions as to why he’s 0-1 in his last two starts. You can read about the pitching match-up here.
Rays 8/11/13 Starting Lineup