Coming off of a huge 10-1 shellacking of the O’s, where the good guys reached base safely 22 times on 11 hits, seven walks, and four hit batsmen, the Rays will walk into a very hot Camden Yards and try to do something they haven’t done in some time: sweep a team. Tampa Bay was able to pull into second place in the AL East with last nights victory, and could leave Baltimore with sole possession of second place.
The effect of the Ryan Roberts acquisition was instantly felt, going 1-2 including a two run homer. He also reached base safely two other times on the backs of a walk and a HBP. It’s interesting to note that Roberts has a .289 batting average with three homers, four doubles and 10 RBIs in 13 games against AL opponents this season. Compare that with a .245 batting average with four home runs, five doubles and 26 RBIs in 71 contests against the NL. We think he might just fit in well with the Rays.
Jose Lobaton also had a huge day at the plate, reaching base safely five times on three hits and two HBP, including a three run blast in the fifth. It should be noted that Lobaton’s three run homer was the first of his major league career.
Last night’s win was big, not only because Price did a great job, or because the Rays put up ten runs. No, it was big, because the Rays weren’t satisfied with five runs in the first, or two more runs in the third. Tampa Bay was able to tack on runs in three different innings, which has been no easy task for them this year. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not inferring that the Rays are ever discontent with a win, be that win by three, five, or seven runs. What I am saying rather, is something that I’ve said all along. Though Longo and Scott are injured, the Rays still have the capability of being dominant as long as all of the parts are clicking. Well, Elliot Johnson, Ryan Roberts, Desmond Jennings, Jose Lobaton, BJ Upton, and Carlos Pena all drove in at least a run. And though the Rays are far from being consistent at the plate, I’d imagine that Tampa Bay is very close to clicking…firing on all cylinders.
James Shields (8-6, 4.39 ERA) will butt heads against Chris Tillman in today’s game. Shields put up a true Shields like performance in his last start, allowing three runs and four hits while striking out 10 in 7-2/3 innings last Friday. It was a step in the right direction for the after going 1-2 with a 6.08 ERA in his previous four starts. Shields yielded at least 10 hits in each of those starts, and gave up four or more runs in his last five starts prior to his last start. He also gave up six runs, four earned, in 6-1/3 innings of a 9-8 win in Baltimore on May 13.
Chris Tillman (2-1, 1.15), allowed a run and six hits in 6-2/3 innings of Saturday’s 3-1 win at Cleveland. He’s been very good since being called up from the minors, yielding three runs over 15 innings in his two wins. He however was tagged for seven runs while failing to get out of the first in a July 16th start against the Twinkies. Tillman has gone 0-2 with a 5.06 ERA in five previous starts, with the Rays posting a .228 BA/.389 OBP/.509 SLG/.898 OPS line against, with eight extra base hits and six strikeouts. Zobrist accounts for three of those eight extra base hits, hitting two homers and a double against the righty.
Rays 7/26/12 Starting Lineup