Rays 5/28/12 Starting Lineup:
Interesting lineup to say the least. Sutton is getting the start at first, while Joyce, Pena, and Scott get the day off. A newly reactivated Jose Lobaton will hold down the DH spot. The lineup, sans two power bats, makes sense when you look at Sale’s numbers. And you would expect them to make an appearance at some point, especially with Sale averaging six innings (or so) per start. Still, the lineup looks a bit 4-A with Thompson, Sutton, and Lobaton in there today. I will say, thank god Vogt isn’t in the lineup; with Vogt, you may as wave the white flag before you even take the field.
Sean Rodriguez powered the Rays past the Sox on a ninth inning, two run blast over the Monstah yesterday. Jake McGee got the win, and Fernando Rodney “redeemed” himself by shutting the down the Sox, getting his 15th save of the season. Did you really think his armor would be chinked after a blown save on Saturday? Tampa Bay took the series against the Sox 2-3, and find themselves tied for first with the Orioles. Those abysmal Sox are back in their rightful place, one game under .500 and in the cellar. Tampa Bay starts a three game set against the other Sox today.
Chris Sale (5-2, 2.50 ERA) will lead a very hot White Sox team this afternoon. Chicago (26-12) is in the throes of a five-game winning streak, and has totaled 52 runs and 64 hits during that streak. Coming of a 12-6 victory against the Indians, the Sox have scored at least 10 runs in three of their last four games.What’s more, the Sox have hit home runs in 13 straight games for the first time since 2006, and are batting .309 with 23 home runs during a 9-1 stretch. Paul Konerko, who just hit his 40oth home run in a White Sox uniform Sunday, is batting .432 with two homers and seven RBIs in his last 10 games versus Tampa Bay.
The Rays have hit a very robust .077 BAA against Sale in his short career. However, it bears mentioning that Sale is a converted starter, and has only pitched against the Rays in relief situations. Nevertheless, Sale has allowed one run and seven hits while striking out 13 over 12-1/3 in his last two starts. The left-hander gave up two hits in seven innings in his last start against Minnesota on Wednesday. The Rays may have their hands full against Sale. Primarily a sinker/slider/fastball pitcher, Sale’s only given up 14 earned-runs, three home runs, and 14 walks in 2012. I should also mention that he has a 3:1 K/BB ratio. Expect a lot of weakly hit ground outs under the Teflon roof. Here’s to hope that the Rays can work the count, force him to pitch up in the zone, and pounce on any mistakes.
On the flip side of things, Matt Moore (1-4, 5.07 ERA) get’s the start for the Rays. Tampa Bay (29-19) has won three of four following the big a 4-3 victory at Boston. All things considered, the Rays will be a formidable opponent against the Sox. Sean Rodriguez and Matt Joyce each had two hits for the Rays yesterday. Joyce is 5 for 10 in the his three games after going 1 for 14 over his previous six. He’s also batting .471 (8 for 17) in his last five games against the White Sox. Don’t count out a very hot BJ Upton or Carlos Pena either. ‘Los seems to be warming up at the plate again, and Upton is hitting .357 in his last seven games. BJ has gone 10-28 at the plate with five runs, three RBI, two home runs, and seven stolen bases. The Matt Moore of the first four innings of his last start against the Jays, will need to be all of that, and then some, against this very dangerous White Sox team.
On a side note, below is a re-post from a Red Sox blog following the hard series this past weekend. You can see the original piece, including all of the comments, here. I especially like what the author had to say about the home plate umpire, Angel Hernandez. I couldn’t agree more!
0-0, 10-10, 11-11, 21-21, 22-22, 23-23.
If we follow the pattern, that means the Sox will play badly for a while and then only make their way back to .500 at 32-32.
So we’ve got that to look forward to.
The Sox have made an art form out of disappointing their fans in the most painful way possible since that terrible September. It’s almost disappointing, frankly, that they’ve been harping on this .500 thing for so long. Have they run out of ideas? Or is that what the walkoff was about, raising hopes for the storybook turnaround (as evidenced by my reaction last night) before dropping another painful game?
At the very least, they’re switching up their in-game method, hitting you where you don’t expect it and throwing in the dramatic comeback for kicks. After Clay Buchholz put together by far his best game of the year today, throwing seven innings of two-run ball as he commanded his curveball and changeup, striking out six batters, walking one, and having one of his runs come across partially due to an errant throw from Adrian Gonzalez in right.
Adrian, for his part, made up for his defensive gaffe at the plate, taking the 2-0 deficit the Sox faced after Clay’s night and turning it into a 3-2 lead, following up a leadoff walk and single in the seventh from David Ortiz and Kevin Youkilis respectively with a home run into the Monster seats just to the right of the pole.
Franklin Morales and Vicente Padilla put together an impressive eighth inning, turning it over to Alfredo Aceves who had been completely dominant since that terrible meltdown against the Yankees. After three days off, though, he just didn’t have it. Starting the inning with a walk to Ben Zobrist, Aceves would eventually give Sean Rodriguez a pitch to hit, and the shortstop sent it over everything in left to give the Rays the 4-3 lead they would not relinquish.
A depressing finish to what could have been another very energizing win. Clay Buchholz did well, but it’s hard to really remember back to that after the ninth inning.
Also, just an addendum, Angel Hernandez is a terrible umpire. The loss is hardly his fault, since he had an awful strike zone for both teams, and for all I know was even worse for the Rays. But between that and his penchant for ejecting those who disagree with his terrible calls, he’s kind of a disgrace.