Going into this series, the Rays had one simple task at hand: take (at least) two of three from a team they could beat. In the interim, while Alex Cobb and Jeremy Hellickson are on the DL, Tampa Bay needs to win series’ against teams like the Twins, while putting together a .500 record against teams like Boston and New York. David Price knew this well, and he responded in kind Tuesday night — putting together an impressive 112 pitch, complete game victory against Minnesota.
Since two of the X-Rays Spex goobers (myself included) attended a Cloud Nothings show last night, what follows is a game peripherals recap of the contest. With an eye on the stage, and the other on the venue’s television, I live blogged most of the game. If you’re so inclined, you can read the blow-by-blow account of the game at our Tumblr page.
- Despite laying a three run, four hit (including two homers), fourth inning egg, David Price was on point. The Rays ace pounded the zone in his 9 IP/6 H/3 ER/1 BB/12 K/2 HR 112 pitch (77 strikes, 68% K/BB) outing, owning both sides of the plate against the Twins offense. Price worked efficiently, using his cutter 23 times (21 strike, seven whiffs), while also keeping the Twinkies off balance with his change-up (27 thrown, 14 strikes, three whiffs). On the subject of Price’s start, Ian Malinowski of DRaysBay said it best, “It is performances like this from the top of the rotation that will give Joe Maddon an opportunity to piece together a competitive game on the Cesar Ramos/Erik Bedard nights.”
- Price pounds the zone and, sometimes he gets hurt — literally and figuratively. In the fourth inning, Joe Mauer lined ball back at Price, which hit him square in his midsection. Price didn’t make a play, and Mauer reached on an awkward infield single. After the hit came perilously close to his reproductive region, Price laughed it off to his teammates, and training staff, who met on the mound following the play.
- Upon entering the Trop, Kyle Gibson had given up only two runs all season, and only two-hits to righties — all the while sitting pretty with a 0.93 ERA. My how that changed following his 3 IP/10 H/2 BB/86 pitch outing. Simply put, the Rays blew up his ERA four-fold. Tampa Bay scored all their runs in the first, second, and fourth innings, and I was most impressed with their ability to take back a pair of runs after Price relinquished three in the fourth.
- The aforementioned inning went a little something like this: Ben Zobrist led off the fourth with a base hit — putting the lead-off man on the base paths for the third time in four innings. Desmond Jennings followed with his second base hit of the night. Ron Gardenhire pulled Gibson at this point, and Samuel Deduno inherited a pair of runners with no outs, bringing Matt Joyce to the plate. Joyce came up big, crushing a two-RBI double to center — giving the Rays a four run lead they’d hold for the rest of the game.
- David DeJesus entered the Trop in the throes of an ugly 0-24 streak, and left last night having gone 3-4 with three RBI.
The New What Next
Jake Odorizzi and the Tampa Bay Rays will take on Mike Pelfrey and the Minnesota Twins Wednesday night, in the second game of their three game set at the Trop. You can read about Wdnesday night’s match-up, and more, in our series preview. The Rays have an opportunity to go one game over .500 with a win tonight.
Rays 4/23/14 Starting Lineup
- A rather bizarre play happened in the fifth inning, when Yunel Escobar was batting against Deduno with a 3-2 count. Deduno let loose with a high ball, which should have culminated in a walk. However, the call was unclear, and Escobar inquired as to what was up. The umpires went to a video review, and New York decided to make it a full count, rather than a walk. Escobar struck out on the next pitch, in a 4-2 count. Major League Baseball later issued statement that they erred on the review, saying ball four was ruled a foul ball.
- Since David Price’s return from the DL last July 2, he has five complete games — as many as any TEAM in that span. Also, per Elias Sports, David Price is first lefty in five years to record 40 K’s in his first five starts of the season (the last being Johan Santana in 2009).
- The Rays have doubled in all 20 games, and are the only team with one in all games in all of their games. The AL record is 28 set by both the 2012 Royals and 2006 Indians.
- Per the Rays, Matt Moore underwent successful Tommy John surgery in Pensacola, Tuesday. Here’s to wishing Matt a speedy, full recovery.