The Tampa Bay Rays lost their second consecutive series following a 3-2 loss at Fenway, Monday. The Rays continued their struggles at the plate, reaching base six times on four hits and two walks, while going 1-5 wRISP. On the bright side, Jeremy Hellickson was great, giving up two runs on three hits in seven innings of work. You can see a bulleted summary below.
- Pitching. The pitching Rays is normalizing following a handful of shaky outings. They are starting to look like the dominant pitching staff that most of us thought they could, or should, look like. Both David Price and Jeremy Hellickson — who posted a 7 IP/3 H/2 R/2 ER/1 BB/9 K/1 HR slash line on 103 pitches (66 for strikes) Monday — had bounce back outings in Boston. Let’s not forget Alex Cobb, he looked good Sunday as well.
- The Jennings, Zobrist, and Longo show. Desmond Jennings, Ben Zobrist, and Evan Longoria accounted for the Ray offense Monday, combining for three of the Rays four hits. Jennings and Longoria each crossed the plate, while Longo and Zobrist each drove in a run.
- Longoria hit his first home run (and extra base hit) of the year, crushing a 407 foot blast over the Green Monstah. The Rays went eight days, 15 hours and 23 minutes since their last homer. To put it another way, that’s 219 at-bats — spread over the course of six games — without a homer.
- Matt Joyce, Ryan Roberts, James Loney and Yunel Escobar went a combined 1-14 Monday, with Joyce and Roberts going 0-2 wRISP.
- The Rays, arguably, would have won the game weren’t it for this call.
- Tampa Bay went 1-5 wRISP Monday and 1-22 wRISP throughout the course of the entire Red Sox series.
- How about those calls by home plate umpire Dana Demuth? Yeah, they certainly didn’t hurt the Rays in any way. His, ahem, liberal strike zone has been a point of contention for years.
The New What Next:
Tampa Bay heads to Baltimore for a three game set prior to a six game home stand. The Rays will attempt to salvage what has become a disappointing 3-7 stretch. A series preview (of sorts) follows.
- Jake Arrieta: Arrieta has a Jekyll and Hyde kind of relationship with the Rays. One year he pitches exceedingly well as he did in 2011 when he went 2-0 with a 1.38 ERA, only to follow that up by going 0-2 with an 11.57 ERA as he did in 2012. Overall, the Rays have posted a .257 BA/.354 OBP/.429 SLG/.782 OPS slash line against Arrieta with three triples, three homers, and nine RBI. Key match-ups: Yunel Escobar (7-16, HR, 2 RBI), Matt Joyce (5-12, 2B, HR, 4 RBI, 2 BB)
- Chris Tillman: As with his counterpart Jake Arrieta, Chris Tillman has been fairly inconsistent against the Rays. Tillman went 0-1 with a 12.38 ERA in 2010, and 1-1 with a 4.09 ERA last season. Tampa Bay has posted a combined .257 BA/.360 OBP/.568 SLG/.928 OPS slash line against Tillman with three doubles, a triple, and 12 RBI. Key match-ups: Sam Fuld (2-5, 2B, 2 RBI), Matt Joyce (3-11, 2B, 3B, RBI, BB), Evan Longoria (6-12, 3 HR,4 RBI, 3 BB), Ryan Roberts (1-3, HR, RBI, BB)
- Miguel Gonzalez: Miguel Gonzalez has been the most consistent of the series starters against the Rays. Tampa Bay has posted a team .202 BA/.302 OBP/.310 SLG.612 OPS slash line in 84 at-bats. Five of the Rays 17 hits have gone for extra bases (three doubles and a pair of homers). Key match-ups: Shelley Duncan (2-5, 2B), Kelly Johnson (2-5, 2B, RBI), Evan Longoria (3-8, BB) 2012 (1-1, 3.68 ERA)
- Following what can only be described as a tornado like home-run tear of destruction to start the season, Chris Davis went homerless for the first time in a series over the weekend, going 3 for 11 with six strikeouts as the Orioles lost two of three to the Yankees. We can only hope he’s starting to normalize.
- Roberto Hernandez is 1-3 with an 8.46 ERA in four starts at Camden Yards. Yeesh.
- We’re still waiting for that improved offense that Joe Maddon spoke highly of going into Spring Training.
- I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the events of Monday. I fully expect to hear a plethora of irrational theories and statements pop up in the wake of this senseless crime. Deadspin posted comments reminding us all to be good to one another. As Sean Newell of Deadspin put it, “There’s always an outpouring of “thoughts and prayers” and other sorts of well-intentioned signs of support from people all over social media that you almost get numb to it, if you’re not already numb from the event itself.” He went on to write, “Maybe it’s because of that phenomenon that Patton Oswalt’s facebook post seems, just, nice. A nice reminder that, by a wide margin, people are good.” As mentioned in the quote, comedian Patton Oswalt had some well thought out comments following the tragedy. Oswalt’s comments are linked, and are worth the read.