The Rays return home in first place, after beating the Red Sox in a dramatic 2-1 victory Monday night. If I may, I’m going to take care of a little house cleaning before I get into the series preview.
David Price is now 6-1 following his stint on the DL, after putting together a 7-1/3 inning two-hit, one run, ball game. Both Joel Peralta and Fernando Rodney made the game interesting in relief of Price — both allowing runners to reach second and third, though they didn’t relinquish the tying or winning runs.
There was a contentious play in the eighth inning that has the Massholes up in arms. David Price started the inning by striking out Jonny Gomes. Joe Maddon didn’t like what he saw out of Price who took the mound after a 39-minute rain delay, and quickly pulled him in favor of the typically dependable Joel Peralta. However, dependability went by the wayside on this fine evening after Peralta gave up back-to-back doubles. Thankfully horrible base running and Sam Fuld would preserve the one run lead. First, Daniel Nava, errantly, didn’t attempt to score on Steven Drew’s double. Then Fuld gunned Drew down at the plate as he attempted to tag-up on a sac-fly.
Home plate umpire Jerry Meals admitted after watching the replay he was wrong: “What I saw was: Molina blocked the plate and Nava’s foot lifted. But in the replays, you could clearly see Nava’s foot got under for a split second and then lifted, so I was wrong on my decision. From the angle I had, I did not see his foot get under Molina’s shin guard.” But that’s neither here or now.
Offensively speaking, Tampa Bay was dominated by Doubront and company. The Rays were able to eke out two runs, thanks to a Sean Rodriguez two-out RBI single (that he stretched into a double), and a Wil Myers RBI base-hit. The Rays SHOULD have done more at the plate though; they ultimately went 2-10 wRISP while stranding 10 men on the bags.
Back to interleague play. The second place Diamondbacks will come into the Trop Tuesday for a two game set against the Rays. Arizona took two out of three from Tampa Bay the last time the two teams met in 2010, though the Rays lead the series, 8-4 overall and 4-2 at the Trop. The Diamondbacks have stumbled to a 4-6 record following the All-Star break, while dropping two-and-a-half games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West. The Rays, on the other hand, are coming off a franchise best 8-2 post All-Star Break road trip, winning 22 of their last 26.
The Diamondbacks offensive leader — Paul Goldschmidt (.303 BA/.392 OBP/.545 OPS, 23 HR, 85 RBI) — has cooled off significantly, going 1-18 at the plate leading into this series. Meanwhile, Wil Myers has gone 19-for-41 with four homers and 12 RBIs during a 10-game hitting streak, and Evan Longoria has snapped out of a slump by hitting safely in 11 consecutive games.
Ian Kennedy: Per Rotowire, “Kennedy gave up six earned runs on six hits over five innings Wednesday against the Cubs.” Kennedy has gone nine starts without a victory, receiving only one run (or fewer) of support in four of them. He’s faced the Rays once since 2008, and is 1-3 lifetime against the Rays with a 6.66 ERA. Key match-ups: Yunel Escobar (1-1, 2 BB), Matt Joyce (1-2, BB), James Loney (6-13, 3 2B, HR, 2 RBI, BB).
Wade Miley: Per Rotowire, “Miley said Friday that his leg is fine and won’t prevent him from making his next start, Steve Gilbert of MLB.com reports.” On the subject of Wade Miley, the writers at 60 ft. 6 in note, “At first glance, Miley looks terribly average. His fastball sits around 89-92 mph and his secondary offerings don’t appear to be plus pitches. Miley works in plenty of change-ups that routinely miss the strike zone. Wade also spins a slider that has improved dramatically in 2012, and rare curve. Miley’s pitching breakout: fastball (89-93), change-up (79-82), slider (81-85), curve.
- Jason Kubel is 14-for-38 against Roberto Hernandez with three homers and 11 RBI.
- RHPR Brad Ziegler allowed only one unearned run in his last nine outings while converting five of five save opportunities.
- Marc Topkin notes, “The D’backs want to play a gritty style under manager Kirk Gibson and can resemble the Rays in terms of versatility. They don’t hit many homers and don’t run much but do put a lot of balls in play.”
- If I may hit the Red Sox below the belt a little, who’d have guessed that there would be another rain delay in that hell-hole of a stadium? Could someone please remind Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe and ESPN, that this is why we have a roof over our facility?! For what it’s worth, the Rays have had two games rained out in Boston this season, and now both makeups have had rain delays.
- Furthermore, Price is the first starting pitcher to beat Red Sox at Fenway Park twice in a span of 5 days since Rip Collins (St. Louis Browns) in 1931.
- Wil, don’t get me wrong, we love you. However, you live near the Trop in St. Petersburg, not Tampa. Is it really that hard to type St. Pete or Tampa Bay? C’mon braah!
Big win to finish up the road trip! Heading back to Tampa to keep it going.
— Wil Myers (@wilmyers) July 30, 2013