Watching the Rays bounce back from a three game losing streak, with a doubleheader sweep of the Phillies Sunday, was a thing of beauty. Those two huge wins offered so much to be excited about. Let’s break it down a bit.
All told, 24 Rays reached base safely on 10 hits and 14 walks, including three off of Cole Hamels and three off of Cliff Lee. That also includes five consecutive walks in the top of the eighth in the second game. Those five walks drove in two insurance runs.
Tampa Bay went 3-10 wRISP in the second game. But, it was very encouraging to see the Rays drive in three runs with two outs, while not giving up any two out runs to the Phillies. And though you’d like to see more production out of the batters in the top of the lineup, the batters at the bottom of the lineup should be applauded for going five-for-nine with four walks. They also drove in six runs while scoring five.
I’ve also got to hand it to the pen for holding things down in the second game. Cesar Ramos, Brandon Gomes, and JP Howell, combined, posted a 6.1 IP/1 H/0 R/4 BB/4 K line. Going without a formal starter, especially up against Cliff Lee, seemed like a rather bold move on Joe Maddon’s part. It, however, worked out for the best. Not only did Ramos, Gomes, and Howell shut down the Phillies offense, but the Rays were able to BABIP Lee and Co. to death. A part of me has to chuckle that the Rays were able to stave off two Phillies victories, even though the odds were (literally) against them.
The Rays went 5-5 in intraleague play this year, having an especially hard time with the Nationals and the Mets. Suffice to say, I’m glad that’s over. They’ll match up against the Royals for the next three games, in Kansas City.
The Royals pitching hasn’t been very sharp of late. Their opponents have posted a .291 BAA/.383 OBP/.452 SLG/.835 OPS against, while scoring 43 runs on 76 hits, including eight homers in the last seven games. What’s more, the Royals pitching has given up 241 runs on 174 hits and 87 walks, while their opponents have posted a .272 BAA/.361 OBP/.394 SLG/.755 OPS line against with men in scoring position. If they Rays can carry the momentum over from yesterday’s victories, as well as apply offensive pressure on the Royals, there’s a good chance that they’ll be able to drive in runs. This series could be just what the Rays struggling offense needs to snap them out of the production rut they’ve been in lately.
Rays 6/25/12 Starting Lineup