The Tampa Bay Rays beat the Boston Red Sox Tuesday night by a score of 5-3, taking the first game of a three game set from their AL East rivals. Tampa Bay has now won six consecutive games, while Matt Moore has become Major League Baseball’s only 7-0 pitcher on the back of a 6.0 IP/3 H/3 R/3 ER/2 BB/8 K/1 HR outing where he threw 100 pitches (62 for strikes). Fernando Rodney got his seventh save in his first 1-2-3 outing of the season.
John Lackey, on the other hand, was all but good, having gotten knocked out of the game with one out in the fifth inning after giving up five runs (all earned) on nine hits.
- Matt Moore certainly may not have had his best stuff Tuesday night, but he had enough to shut the Red Sox down. Things got ugly in the first inning. Moore started the game by plunking Jacoby Ellsbury, then gave up a one out double to Dustin Pedroia. With two on and one out, Moore left a 1-0 meatball up in zone to David Ortiz; a pitch that found a home 402 feet down the right-field line. But Moore would settle down after that 33 pitch first inning, retiring 12 batters in a row at one point — five of which on strikeouts. The Rays LHP would relent only one other hit and two walks on the night, impressively throwing 13 deadly changeups for strikes (all for strikes, 5 for swinging strikes), locking up batter after batter. Matt Moore is the first Rays pitcher to start the season with a 7-0 record, winning eight consecutive games extending back to 2012.
- The Rays only scored in one inning, though the hitters were able to continually apply the pressure to the Red Sox pitchers. That is to say, they didn’t score a few runs then seemingly give up as they had a couple of weeks prior. What’s more, the Rays have now held a lead in 26 straight games — though that includes the 10 in which they gave up the lead.
- Holy moly, Jose Molina was on fire Tuesday night. Not only did he go 3-3 including a double, and not only did he score a run while driving in a pair, he also successfully laid down a sac bunt and actually tagged up on a medium-to-deep hit ball to center.
- Hate on the Trop all you want, but weren’t it for the Trop, the Rays wouldn’t have scored the go ahead runs in the fourth inning on a Matt Joyce bloop that camouflaged itself nicely with the roof, and subsequently landing in fair territory.
- The bullpen was electric… with the exception of Jake McGee, that is. Josh Leuke threw some filthy off-speed pitches in relief of McGee, ultimately getting Shane Victorino to line out to first, shutting down a seventh inning McGee borne jam. Joel Peralta posted a 14-pitch 1-2-3 eighth inning which included a come-backer for the first out, a David Ortiz pop-out, and and a swinging strike out of Mike Napoli on a fastball. Fernando Rodney finally looked like Fernando Rodney, posting his first 1-2-3 inning of the year while earning his seventh save. His Bugs Bunny changeup was in full effect Tuesday night, and his series of pitches (fastball-fastball-changeup) to ring up Jonny Gomes was beautiful. Rodney struck out the side to end the game, all on strike-three changeups, and all on swinging strikeouts.
- James Loney: Another night, another multi-hit game, AKA James Loney: Another night, another extra base hit. Loney is now up to 15 extra base hits on the year; 12 doubles and three homers.
- To be fair to Jake McGee, he wasn’t terrible Tuesday night. He, however, wasn’t nearly as sharp as he had been in his previous two outings. McGee started the inning innocently enough by getting Will Middlebrooks to ground out to short. But it wouldn’t take long for Jake to get into a full blown jam after giving up a pair of walks to Drew and Ellsbury. Maddon made the call to the pen with two on and two outs after McGee threw 27 pitches, only 13 for strikes.
The New What Next
David Price will try to put together his second consecutive solid outing tonight, against a tough 5-0 Jon Lester. It won’t be easy. Even though Lester has cooled down following a torrid start to the season, the Rays splits against are in Lester’s favor. You can read more on Wednesday night’s match-up here.
Rays 5/15/13 Starting Lineup
- Tonight’s game will be available on Sun Sports and ESPN. Three guesses which telecast we’ll be watching.