News broke late of Jeremy Hellickson’s trade to the Arizona Diamondbacks – the first big move of each team’s respective new General Manager. The deal, described by many as addition by subtraction, netted Tampa Bay a pair of minor league prospects, INF Andrew Velazquez and OF Justin Williams from Arizona.
Ever heard the saying SSDD? No? Hmm… How about Déjà vu? Think back to last Wednesday when Wade Miley and the Diamondbacks handcuffed Jeremy Hellickson and the Rays in a 7-0 loss, at the Trop. Helly couldn’t command any pitches in that game and Arizona made him pay. The Diamondbacks tagged Helly for four runs on seven hits in 4-1/3 innings of work, while Miley shutdown the Rays, holding Tampa Bay to two hits and no runs over 6-1/3 innings of work.
The Rays made their way to Pheonix Monday, in anticipation of their second two game series in a week against the Diamondbacks. Since leaving St. Petersburg Wednesday night, Arizona has been busy. They lost a makeup game against the Rangers and dropped two of three in Boston. They traded Ian Kennedy for LHPR Joe Thatcher, reinstated Brandon McCarthy from the DL, dumped reliever Tony Sipp and called up Tuffy Gosewisch after putting C Miguel Montero on the DL. They have lost six of eight overall.
Going into last night’s game, Roberto Hernandez hadn’t put together a complete game — or a shutout — since 2010. Two hours and thirty-four minutes *later, Hernandez walked off the mound with his eighth career complete game — having taken a shutout two-outs into the ninth inning. Tampa Bay was able to maintain its status as the top team in the AL East, after Hernandez and the Rays took the first game of a two-game set against the Diamondbacks by a score of 5-2.
Back to interleague play. The second place Diamondbacks will come into the Trop Tuesday for a two game set against the Rays. Arizona took two out of three from Tampa Bay the last time the two teams met in 2010, though the Rays lead the series, 8-4 overall and 4-2 at the Trop. The Diamondbacks have stumbled to a 4-6 record following the All-Star break, while dropping two-and-a-half games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West. The Rays, on the other hand, are coming off a franchise best 8-2 post All-Star Break road trip, winning 22 of their last 26.