I, for one, am glad that this three game abomination against the Mets is kaput. The Rays gave up 29 runs over the course of the series, 15 of which coming when Tampa Bay needed just one more out. Was it the pitching? Yes. The Rays pitchers were very predictable. However, it was more than that. The Mets are really good in two out situations, posting a .281 BA/.386 OBP/.459 SLG/.845 OPS line while scoring 116 runs on 76 at bats. What’s more, be it by hit, hit by pitch, or walk, the Mets find their way on base 46% of the time with two out and men in scoring position. And it’s obvious that they’re fully capable of converting base runners into runs. Compare that to their opponents who get on base 39% of the time in similar situations.
The Mets are a formidable opponent, and Tampa Bay had it handed to them on all fronts. Simple as that. Time to brush it off, refocus, and mentally move on to the task at hand, namely the Marlins.
The Rays handled the Marlins last weekend, and they’ll attempt to do so, once more, starting tonight. This time around the Marlins have lost nine out of their last 10 games including last weekend’s sweep. In short, the Marlins were creamed in their second longest home stand of the year, and they’ve not played good baseball overall. The Rays need to pounce on them.
Mr. back-stiffness, Carlos Zambrano will once again take the hill against Matt Moore. If you recall, Zambrano was pulled from the game with one out in the third after giving up seven runs. He’s compiled a 0.88 ERA while winning three of his last four road starts, Zambrano lost his last visit to Tropicana Field, allowing five runs in 6 2/3 innings in 2008.
Though touched up for four runs last Saturday, Matt Moore has been good over the course of his last five starts, going 3-2 and lowering his ERA from 5.31 to 4.59. 40% of his 71 strikeouts have come in those five games. Consistency is the key with Moore, and he has gotten more consistent as the season’s progressed. Moore’s given a fewer number of home runs and a fewer number of earned runs of late. And don’t let the 3-5 record fool you, two of those wins have come in the last three starts. Forget not, had Tampa Bay put up some offensive numbers in their May 28th 2-1 loss to the White Sox, we’d be talking about three straight wins for Moore. The slumping Rays will be depending on Moore to right the ship tonight.
…Of good and bad news, Luke Scott went on the 15-day DL with lower back stiffness, retroactive to June 9th. He should be back by June 24th. BUT Farnsy, Longo, and Kepp have all started their rehabilitation stints, and should be back soon. Closed doors and open windows, eh?
Rays Starting Lineup 6/15/12:
Continue your enjoyment of the Dillinger Four song from which this piece was titled.