The Rays won their fifth game in a row last night, edging out the Twins by a score of 4-2. They’ve now won five games in a row, and the last two series. The Rays, behind James Shields, will go for their second sweep in a row this afternoon in Minnesota.
Tampa Bay got all of the offensive oomph they needed thanks to Matt Joyce (1-4, R, RBI, HR) and BJ Upton (2-4, 2 R, 3 RBI, 2 HR), who were responsible for driving in all of the Rays four runs on the back of three blasts. Teaming up for a pair of first inning blasts, Upton and Joyce were the first Rays to hit back to back homers since game four of the 2008 ALDS, in Boston.
And though not as sharp as he has been, David Price was still able to suppress the Twins, posting a 7 IP/7 H/2 ER/5 K/1 HR line, pitching seven or more innings for the 15th time this season, and the 10th start in a row. Let’s go bullet by bullet before we move on.
- The Rays were able to get their third nine plus hit game in a row, their fourth out of five games.
- Upton smashed two bombs, one for 425 feet and the other for 433 feet.
- How about Joyce going yard for the second day in a row?!
- Ryan Roberts finally seems to be coming into his own. Following an 0-fer streak which extended into last week, Roberts has started to put together more consistent at-bats. After going 2-4 with a pair of singles last night, Roberts has now improved his slash line to .170 BA/.304 OBP/.277 SLG/.581 OPS. Those aren’t stellar numbers, but they’re much better than what he was posting just a week ago.
- Sure, Longoria and Pena went 0-7 with a walk last night. And well, that’s uh…yeah. Look at the bright side; they were both able to work good at bats, eating up 46 of the total 127 Twins pitches.
- Ben Zobrist: 3-4 with a double. If anyone deserves to be the Rays MVP, it’d have to be Zo!
- After going 7-11 wRISP Friday, the Rays regressed a bit by going 0-7 wRISP and stranding five last night. Ouch.
- Desmond Jennings has nine first pitch hits with six since July 25th. Jennings has posted a .465 BA/.455 OBP/.837 SLG/1.292 line with three doubles, two triples, and three homers, while driving in seven RBI when stepping to the plate with an 0-0 count.
- Fernando Rodney: 35 saves in 36 opportunities, twenty consecutive saves, and a 0.84 ERA. Wow!
- The Rays allowed 36 unearned runs in the first 67 games, and just seven over last 46. See what happens when you don’t continuously make stupid errors?
The New What Next
James Shields (10-7, 4.08 ERA) will take on the Twins undisputed ace Scott Diamond (10-5, 2.91 ERA) as the Rays attempt to win their sixth consecutive game. The Rays enter the game with sole possession of second place, sitting six games behind the AL East leading Yankees, and tied with Oakland for a wildcard berth. (if the season were to end today) Woot woot! Tampa Bay has never gone up against the Twins RHP. Diamond is a strike thrower, leaning on his fastball, change-up, and slider against righties, while attacking lefties with his fastball and slider. The rookie LHP tends to be a ground ball pitcher, having given up only 10 homers in 114 innings of work. Here’s to hope that the Rays can force the issue on this tough righty.
Rays 8/12/12 Starting Lineup
Noteworthiness: Longo is hitting fourth again. Zobrist will get the start in right field while Sean Rodriguez gets the start at short. As always, Let’s Go Rays!