Going into Friday night’s game, two stats jumped off the page as I typed the series preview: Max Scherzer was 11-0 with a 3.05 ERA. And though Scherzer wasn’t as dominant Friday night as he had been the last time the Tigers starter faced the Rays, he was good enough. Scherzer struck out nine, walked just one, and allowed only one man to reach scoring position. Now sitting at 12-0, Scherzer is the first pitcher to reach that mark since Roger Clemens in 1986.
Unlike the game prior, the Rays offense was able to put some crooked numbers on the board. Ben Zobrist put the Rays on the board first, sending a solo line-drive shot to right-field in the fourth inning for the Rays first hit. If anything, Zobrist’s home run was encouraging. Zo hasn’t shown much power this season, and this is a welcome sign — especially after the flare up of plantar fasiciitis in Longoria’s foot. Wil Myers (the only Ray with multiple hits) cut the lead to two in the fifth inning with a 406 ft. blast down the left-field line. He also singled in the seventh inning, and subsequently scored on a Luke Scott double down the right-field line, closing the gap to one. But the Rays would ultimately fall a handful of runs short.
Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder didn’t aide the Tigers offense, they were the Tigers offense. The duo went a combined 6-7 with a walk, three home runs, and five RBI, while the rest of the Tigers lineup went 2-25 with two walks. This isn’t to say that Colome pitched poorly, however I have to question the pitching plan drawn up by Hickey and company. Personally, I have no clue why anyone would pitch to Cabrera, especially when he has a 1.146 OPS. It will be up to Chris Archer to neutralize Cabrera and Fielder Saturday, no easy task.
Colome pitched relatively well even though he’d walk off the field with his first big league loss, after giving up his first earned runs of the season. He didn’t lose composure after falling behind early in a game, and that speaks volumes. Colome kept his cool and completed six innings, keeping the Rays in the game and avoiding taxing the bullpen.
Evan Longoria’s health became part of the narrative once more after he was removed from the game before the third inning. Joe Smith of the times tweeted Friday night,
“Rays say Longoria left tonight’s game after irritating the plantar fasiciitis in his foot, will be re-evaluated tomorrow.”
Longo has been dealing with the issue the last few weeks. It’s forced him to DH more this season, while also taking his Gold Glove defense off the field. He was sent home in a walking boot, and is projected to miss at least Saturday and Sunday’s games, according to Joe Maddon.
The New What Next
Chris Archer will take on a somewhat erratic Justin Verlander tonight. I’d imagine that “Don’t Pitch to Cabrera and Fielder” will be typed in bold print (and highlighted) in the pitching plan. You can read about the pitching match-up here.
Rays 6/29/13 Starting Lineup
- As we mentioned yesterday, David Price will make his first post DL start Tuesday against the Astros. He pitched like the Price of old in his last rehab start, striking out 12 and walking three in seven strong innings of work. The Rays are going to have to send down Colome or Archer, or DFA Roberto Hernandez in order to make room for Price on the 25-man roster. Archer is presumably the favorite to be sent down.
- Hey, Stephen Vogt finally got his first big league hit last night, a homer no less. Vogt was a combined 0-for-32 before hitting the homer.
- Per Marc Topkin, the Rays don’t plan to put Longoria on DL and he will be on a day by day evaluation for now. That said, Ryan Roberts has been recalled from Triple-A Durham and is on lineup card tonight, while Alex Colome has been optioned back to in Triple-A in order to make room for him on the roster. How this effects the roster ahead of David Price’s reactivation is up to speculation. I’d imagine that Archer would stay up for the time being, with Roberts being optioned back to Triple-A Tuesday unless Longo gets placed on the DL beforehand.