|W: Sabathia (2-2)||L: Price (2-1)||S: N/A|
|TOG: 3:13||Click here for expanded|
It's safe to say that wasn't the game we were expecting tonight. The Rays came home to the Trop struggling mightily offensively and being "war torn" with 3 starting pitchers on the DL, one done for the year. The Rays needed a win to get their swagger back. But alas, the promising match-up of David Price and CC Sabathia failed to deliver. It wasn't a pitchers duel, it was a hit show. Unfortunately, the hit show was coming from the Yankees. The microcosm of the Rays season is summed up with the 2nd inning triple play pulled off by the Yankees on a hard hit ball by Sean Rodriguez.
Tonight's game spat in the face of the pattern in existence that has the CC Sabathia facing the Rays, especially with David Price on the bump for the Rays. Indeed, the established pattern has the Rays 8-1 going in to tonight when these two face off. Make that 8-2 now. The Rays have now lost 4 straight. Not the start to the homestand the Rays were hoping for.
Let's look at this loss closer.
Starting pitching: To say tonight was an off night for David Price would be an understatement. He had 42 pitches through 2 IP. He wound up throwing 94 pitches in 5 IP. He yielded 10 hits, 2 HRs (back-to-back HRs, I might add), 2 triples, 2 doubles, 6 runs (all earned), and got 6 strike outs. David did not look like himself tonight, as he usually dominates when he facing the Yankees, especially when Sabathia is the opposing starting pitcher. (2.5 stars)
Bullpen: Now I'm not gonna say the bullpen sucked. But yeah, they sucked. The bullpen was called in when Price couldn't make it past the 5th inning and asked to keep it close so the Rays stood a chance. Not only did they fail to do that, they gave up a further 5 hits and 4 runs, 3 of them earned. And that firmly put the game out of reach tonight. Which is a shame as a whole because Josh Lueke did well. (2 stars)
Catching: Jose Molina allowed a passed ball late in the game, but in all, I believe he did a solid job behind the plate. (3 stars)
Defense: My, my, my. What a night for the defense, and I don't mean that in a good way. Dropped balls, stupid diving catch attempts, missed fielding opportunities. This defense tonight looked little league compared to what we used to, though that says something pretty positive about what we're used to. (1 star)
Offense: The offense continues to struggle. They almost managed 10 hits tonight against Yankee pitching. But only two runs and only one of those was really "earned". The first run was gifted on an error and passed ball. The team went 0-for-7 with RISP tonight and left 7 men on base. Then you look at the fact that S-Rod ruined a potentially big 2nd inning by grounding in to a triple play, from which the Rays never really recovered. Yeah, that was bad. (1 star)
Player(s) of the game: None on the Rays side, for reasons highlighted above.
Play of the game: The play wasn't even really a play, and it wasn't even made by the Rays, but for selling his body out to try and make an out, we name Beltran's tumble over the short wall in right field the play of the game. Watch and cringe. [MLB Gameday Video]
Final word: Tonight was one of those games that really makes you want to curl up in a little ball and rock back and forth. There was practically no life from this team on either end of the ball tonight. Pitching was horrible, save for Lueke. The offense did stank, save for a solo shot in the 7th. The Rays can't get anything going right now. You can tell they're reeling with the injuries to their starters. The confidence and swagger is just not there. The team is not having fun, and after all these years under Joe Maddon, we know how important that is to the team's success. I don't have an answer really. The Rays really just need to dust themselves off, maybe play a couple practical jokes on each other and find their swagger through that. Until then, I don't see the Rays looking like the Rays rather than the Devil Rays any time soon. Bottom line, the Rays need to find themselves fast somehow, or they might end up in a hole too big to crawl out of. Regardless of how early in the season it is. (2 stars)