Tied up at four games a piece, the Rays walk into an early game at the Trop intent on taking both the season and current series against the A’s, following a disappointing 5-4 loss last night. Matt Moore pitched well, save for a few fastballs left up over the plate, however the real story of the night was two-fold: A rare blunder on Peralta’s part, and an offense that couldn’t tack on a few runs in the waning innings of the game. A few bulleted high and low-lights are below.
- Matt Moore had what could be considered a quality start. Posting a 6.1 IP/7 H/3 ER/1 BB/7 K line, Moore threw 98 pitches (64 for strikes) while generating his highest swinging strike percentage (28%) of the year with 18 swings and misses. The young lefty effectively mixed up his curveball, changeup, and fastball, though he left a few of those fastballs up and over the plate. He got punished for doing so, giving up a Cespedes triple to right-center and a pair of RBI singles in the fourth.
- Mr. consistency, Ben Zobrist, had another big night at the plate. Going 2-3 on the night, Zorilla blasted a home run to right in the second, following that up with triple in the fourth that came within inches of being a one run homer. He also walked, drove in a run and crossed the plate twice.
- 2-8 wRISP, and eight left on base. Yeesh.
- The sixth inning should be aptly named the Big Inning That Never Was. With the bases loaded and two outs thanks to a pair of singles by Evan Longoria and Ryan Roberts, and a Carlos Pena walk, Jose Molina found himself at the plate with an opportunity to come up big. Molina, who incidentally has posted a .205 BA/.274 OBP/.315 SLG/.589 OPS/.247 BABIP line, with 16.1 runs created and a 22% strikeout percentage with men in scoring position, came within one pitch of walking in a run. He instead swung over a pitch that was down in the zone to end the inning.
- The Rays had another opportunity to, at least, tie the game following Johnny Gomes eighth inning two out, two-run go ahead blast to left, on an elevated 89 MPH Joel Peralta fastball. The Rays would rally in the ninth following a Ryan Roberts walk and a Luke Scott pinch hit double to the opposite field which sent Roberts home. But with a runner on second and no outs, the Rays next three hitters (ahem…the top of the lineup) couldn’t manage to bring him in.
The New What Next
The final game of the season series against one another finds Jeremy Hellickson (8-8, 3.28 ERA) going up against Brandon McCarthy (6-5, 3.16 ERA). Hellickson is coming off of a huge seven inning one run performance against the Royals. McCarthy, on the other hand, is coming off of a three inning outing where he gave up six earned runs on six hits to the Twins. He’s been a tough cookie to crack, with the Rays posting a .215 BA/.291 OBP/.355 SLG/.646 OPS line against. Luke Scott and Carlos Pena have put up some good numbers against McCarthy. He doesn’t typically give up many homers, so I’d imagine that this is going to be a BABIP kind of day. Come on BABIP luck dragons!
Rays 8/25/12 Starting Lineup