Tampa Bay will attempt to win one last game before the All-Star Break against Zach McAllister (3-1, 3.93 ERA) and the Tribe, in Cleveland. Talk about failing at a task, Matt Moore and Wade Davis looked like holy hell last night, giving up seven runs on eight hits, including a two run Shelley Duncan blast off of Davis in the eighth. It’s not as though the Rays would have won the game anyway with the bats driving in only three runs on six hits. Then again, they would have at least been able to keep pace with the Indians. On the bright side, Burke Badenhop and JP Howell looked good, as did Luke Scott (2-4, 2 RBI, HR) and BJ Upton (2-4, RBI, HR).
The Rays could end a somewhat disappointing first half on a high note with a win today. McAllister may be just the man to help the Rays in that endeavor. 10 of McAllister’s 15 earned runs have come at home where he’s posted a 3.75 ERA/25 H/15 R/10 ER/2 HR line, with six walks and 19 strikeouts. Primarily a fastball, cutter, curveball, and changeup pitcher, McAllister is no stranger to giving up the long-ball, having given up four in his six starts. With a 1-2 GB/FB ratio, the Rays will have a chance to beat up on the young rookie. That is if they can put the ball in play…something they’ve had a hard time doing of late. The caveat will be whether Shields and Co. can stop an Indians team that’s averaging over five runs a game in July, from running away with the game against a pitcher that has been spotty at best this season.
Maddon has put a somewhat surprising lineup out there today with Elliot Johnson in the lead-off spot, and Desmond Jennings in the seven hole. I kind of like this. Johnson has posted a .295 batting average since the beginning of June, reaching base safely 33 times on 23 hits, including three doubles, two triples, and a homer. Johnson and Ben Zobrist have been the most consistent Rays since the beginning of June, and if any Rays have an opportunity to jump-start things early it’s those two.
Rays 7/8/12 Starting Lineup