U.S. Cellular Field
|W: Lindstrom (2-1)||L: Balfour (0-1)||S: N/A|
|TOG: 4:04||Click here for expanded|
Well that was long and painful. Over four hours and the Rays come away with a loss. And why? Because of the Rays ever prevalent inability to be clutch as a team. A problem persistent since Derek Shelton's arrival in 2010. You don't draw 11 walks as a team and leave 11 on base and win. You just don't. This game should have been so far out of reach that the Abreu grand slam shouldn't have mattered. Let's delve deeper now.
Starting pitching: Archer was none too sharp tonight. Allowing 9 hits, 4 runs (all earned). He's extremely blessed he made it to the 7th inning and didn't give up more with the ability of the White Sox on offense, and he benefited from some boneheaded baserunning by the Sox. Just not the same guy we saw against the Yankees. (3 stars)
Bullpen: The bullpen, save for Balfour, was solid. Delivering 2 IP of 1 hit baseball. However, the aforementioned Balfour was atrocious tonight. He just couldn't night find the strike zone. He was nibbling, unsuccessfully, constantly. The closer couldn't close tonight. Though to be fair, he shouldn't have been in a save situation tonight. More on that below. (2 stars)
Defense: The defense, in contrast to the other portions of this game, was stellar. In particular the double-rundown, double play in the 4th inning. The ground out to a diving Zobrist in the 6th. Defense was not the problem tonight. (5 stars)
Offense: As I said in the intro. You don't draw 11 walks, leave 11 on base and in addition go 3-for-13 with RISP and ground in to 3 double plays, and win. It doesn't happen. Disappointing output by the offense tonight. You would think after the 2nd inning that the Rays easily had this, but the offense let it slip away and let down the already struggling pitching. (1 star)
Player(s) of the game: Tonight's player of the game is Evan Longoria. Yes, he went 2-for-5 and left 7 on base. But he also delivered the go ahead runs in the 9th with that 2-run home run that should have given the Rays the win. The clutch there is hard to ignore.
Play of the game: Out of everything, I have to give the play of the game to the aforementioned double-rundown, double play. It kept the Rays in the game at the time, and was a big positive in tonight's disappointing loss. [MLB Gameday Video]
Final word: Shocking. Disappointing. Frustrating. Enraging. Worrying. Shouldn't have happened the way it did. All words to describe tonight's game. The offense failed it's already struggling pitching. This game should have been at least 8-4 in the Rays favor heading to the bottom of the 9th, but it wasn't. The offense drew too many walks, and then left too many men on base to have lost. Just complete failure. Dust yourself off tonight, boys. You're still chasing .500. (1.5 stars)