It was a tough night for the Tampa Bay’s hitters. The Astros rookie Jarred Cosart, making his major league debut, not only no-hit the Rays into the seventh inning, but he also shut them out into the ninth. And even when the Rays put base runners on, he quickly negated the threat, inducing three double plays (Editors note: Jose Veras, the Astros closer, would cull the fourth double play of the night in the ninth).
However, Tampa Bay entered the ninth inning with a glimmer of hope. After tacking on a run, the Rays threatened to tag the Astros closer with a blown save. With two outs and runners on the corners, Mr. Game 162, Evan Longoria, came to the plate with the chance to drive in the game winning run. But instead, he struck out looking on a 95 mph fastball to end the game. Oof.
I’ll be focusing on three sub categories in today’s game summary:
A. David Price was incredible.
B. Longo, buddy…you’ve gotta protect on a pitch like that.
C. You don’t win games when you don’t score runs.
David Price Was Incredible
Easily overshadowed by Jarred Cosart in his rookie debut, David Price was flat out excellent in his own right. Price put together an outstanding 87 pitch (70 for strikes) outing, giving up two runs in a shaky first inning which proved to be the equalizer. The Rays ace gave up eight hits total — four in the two-run first inning — ultimately posting an 80% K/BB ratio. And like Cosart, Price was able to induce a pair of double plays when the Astros threatened. Mega-efficient in the third outing following his stint on the DL, Price threw (on average) under 10 pitches per inning. I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that he threw only 17 balls on the night. Price was in attack mode, and he didn’t shirk away from contact. He pounded the zone and kept the Rays in the game for the duration.
My only criticism: he leaned his fastball only 40% of the time. Then again, the results speak for themselves. In the end, an outing like that should have resulted in a win.
Price’s pitching breakout: fastball/sinker (35 total, 28 for strikes, one whiff), Change-up (20 total, 16 for strikes, three whiffs), curveball (24 total, 19 for strikes, four whiffs), cutter (eight total, seven for strikes).
Longo, Buddy…You’ve Gotta Protect on a Pitch Like That
As I mentioned above, Longo had the chance to be a hero. Jose Veras quickly got the first two outs of the ninth inning on a double play. But when all seemed to be lost, Desmond Jennings reached on a lucky error, subsequently stealing second to get into scoring position. Luke Scott drove him home on a base hit to center, and was quickly pinched in favor of Sam Fuld. BenZo moved Fuld to third on another base hit, and the Rays looked primed to win the game with Longoria at the plate. But a win was not in the cards; Longoria struck out looking at a border line fastball (see the chart below) to end the game.
If I may, you’ve got to do whatever is in your power to stay alive with a two strike count. Take a hack at it — at least the odds are good that the result will be a foul ball. I get it, accept your walk. However just staring at a pitch when you’re down in the count — and the game is on the line — is counterproductive at best.
You Don’t Win Games When You Don’t Score Runs
Need I say more?
The New What Next
You’re not going to win every game, and credit where it’s due the Rays stayed competitive. The most unlucky starter on the staff, Roberto Hernandez, will take the mound today against Dallas Keuchel and the Houston Astros. Tampa Bay throttled Keuchel on July 1st, tagging him for five runs on eight hits in 4-2/3 innings of work. They’ll attempt to recreate that magic this afternoon. You can read about the pitching match-up here.
Rays 7/13/13 Starting Lineup
- “David would have gone out to pitch the tenth inning. Amazing he threw only 17 balls in a CG. Give their kid credit. He was outstanding.” – Joe Maddon (via Twitter)