To put it bluntly, after the 11-1 debacle against the Royals Monday, and the subsequent demotion of Jeremy Hellickson Tuesday, Tampa Bay really needed a big performance out of Roberto Hernandez. And with the exceptions of a Mike Trout blast in the fourth, and an unlucky break in the seventh, a solid performance they got.
Sadly, Hernandez’s best outing in some time went to waste after Jake McGee and Fernando Rodney let another save slip away, in the 6-5 loss to The The Angels Angels of Anaheim. The Rays start the day two-and-a-half games behind the Red Sox after Boston crushed the Orioles by a score of 13-2. Bulleted game peripherals are below:
- I’d imagine the only consolation for Roberto Hernandez might be that he wasn’t charged with the loss. Hernandez looked good Tuesday night, however his 6 IP/8 H/3 ER/3 BB/6 K/2 GDP slash line on 94 pitches (60 for strikes) was for naught. Seriously, dude can’t catch a break — he is still 0-4 against the Angels. Even though the opposing batters reached safely in all but one inning, Hernandez was effective in making that big pitch to get a strikeout or ground out; Roberto struck out three batters to end the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings, while inducing eight ground ball outs — including a pair of big double plays. The key to his success: He was able to command his sinker, fastball, and change-up — largely keeping it down and on the periphery of the strike zone. The only pitch he had a hard time with was, surprise surprise, his slider — of the 15 he threw, only six went for strikes (one whiff). To Roberto’s credit, the blast Mike Trout hit in the fourth was on a good pitch down in the zone and on the outside corner. And to be fair, color Hernandez unlucky in the seventh — Roberto gave up a lead-off single to Nelson, who was moved to second on a Grant Green bunt base hit that never rolled foul. With two on and no outs, Jake McGee came on in relief and quickly gave up a walk, RBI fielder’s choice, and an RBI single — cutting the Rays lead to an uncomfortable one run.
- Like Hernandez, CJ Wilson was able to make the big pitch to get out of innings relatively unscathed. Unlike the Rays righty however, Wilson pitched out of the stretch for the majority of his 5 IP/8 H/3 ER/5 BB outing. Say what you will about McGee and Rodney blowing the game, I’d argue that going 3-13 wRISP while stranding 12 men on the bags (including eight in scoring position) had an equally negative impact on the outcome of the game. Wil Myers, Desmond Jennings, and Evan Longoria all came up short in big situations, going 0-10 overall and combining for four strikeouts. Granted they collectively walked five times, the Rays could only convert one of those walks into a run.
- Jose Molina had a huge night, going 3-4 with two doubles and three RBI. What’s more, he gunned down Nelson at second to end the top of the second inning. Yet as with Hernandez, his big night was for naught. A bummer indeed — lord knows when he may put together another career night at the plate.
- Fernando Rodney blew his eighth save of the year after giving up two runs in the ninth (one earned) on a walk, error, stolen base, and an RBI double. To be frank, Rodney looked like crap. Is Jesse Crain ready yet?
- Desmond Jennings’ ninth inning error proved costly. Instead of a runner on second with one out, the Angels were primed with two on and no outs, and the winning run at first. That was a play that Jennings has made time and again, and simply misplayed the ball this time around. That error could prove important at this point in the season with 30 some games left.
- Let’s be honest, five runs should have been enough to beat a sub .500 team.
The New What Next
Chris Archer will get the start Wednesday, tasked with putting an end to the current three-game losing streak. Archer will take on Jerome Williams. You can read about the pitching match-up here.
Rays 8/28/13 Starting Lineup
- Over last 13 games, Rays catchers Lobaton & Molina have combined to hit .340 BA/.392 OBP/.596 SLG with 2 HR, 10 RBI, 4 2B, 1 3B.
- Since Desmond Jennings has slumped it up, he’ll be hitting seventh, while David DeJesus hits in the leadoff spot.