How I wish the Rays could butt heads against the Marlins every night!
The Rays, lead by a 7 IP/1 H/0 R/3 BB/8 K line posting Matt Moore, absolutely destroyed the Fish in a one hit 11-0 blow-out at the Trop. Maybe the Rays should get all Dickey on things and challenge the one hit that Moore gave up in the first? Okay, back to reality.
Moore, again, lowered his ERA from 4.59 to 4.16 in his 107 pitch outing. Of those 107 pitches, Moore threw 67 for strikes for a 63%-37% strike to ball ratio. With the exception of a shaky first, which included a hit and a walk and the Marlins only real chance to score a run, Moore settled down and kicked things into cruise control, sailing through the game. Had that 20+ pitch first not happened, Moore would have easily gone the distance. Thankfully Burke Badenhop, and a recalled Brandon Gomes, were able to get the last six outs while only allowing one base runner on a Gomes walk. They too were able to get four strikeouts. What a difference a day makes. It bears mentioning that though Moore has had a hard time locating his breaking pitches, he threw 16 of his 20 breaking pitches for strikes. Though only one was a swinging strike, it’s nice to see that he’s getting a feel for his breaking stuff again. Besides, you won’t find me complaining about three consecutive wins!
I must admit, though Tampa Bay lost Thursday, you could see the offense starting to bubble to the surface once again. Sure, they had two bases loaded opportunities, one of which was severely squandered. However, they didn’t look like the three combined runs scoring team of the previous two nights. That seething undercurrent broke to the surface last night, and the offense really came alive. Scoring 11 runs on 10 hits and nine walks, the Rays left seven on the bags while going 8-13 wRISP. Hey now, I can totally get behind a 62% runner to run conversion rate.
Will Rhymes (2-3, 2 RBI), Ben Zobrist (2-3, RBI, 2 R, HR), and Desmond Jennings (2-5, 4 RBI, R, 2B) all had big nights at the plate. But I’ve also got to give props to Carlos Pena who reached base safely four times on four consecutive walks. Each one of his walks inevitably found him crossing the plate. Sure, the walks did nothing for his batting or slugging average, but I’ll damned if it didn’t help his on base percentage. I was also really impressed with the Rays ability to drive in eight runs with two outs and men in scoring position.
With the exception of a Will Rhymes throwing error, the Rays defense looked solid. I’ve gotta say, that eighth inning flash of leather on a Greg Dobbs line drive to short was almost enough to forget about Elliot Johnson’s previous seven errors.
Shields and Sanchez will face each other for the second time in six days. Their last meeting was a fun lil 6.1 IP/4 H/1 ER/3 BB/5 K 4-2 meeting for Shields and the Rays. Shields was also able to lower his ERA back down to a manageable 4.06. He’ll attempt to continue his dominance over the Fish again in tonight’s nationally aired game on Fox.
Enjoy Against Me! performing their hit Miami, presumably about the Marlins.