Other than a completely awful first inning that really cost the game, Jeff Niemann pitched pretty decent. I know that it is a loss and it is easy to blame it on The Giraffe, we try to look on the upside for the temporary fifth starter. He bounced back strong in the second and you could see more life in his pitches once he was able to keep them down in the zone. Evan Longoria still swings a hot bat going 2-4 tonight. Lets hope he can get more support in future games.
What Went Right:
Other than Longoria nothing looked promising tonight for the Rays as they seemed to struggle offensively. Navi had a good game going 2-4 including a double. Shouse and Nelson pitched well in a combined two and two-thirds innings. We like highlighting the good performances out of the pen because that is an area in which could easily underperform from last year.
Although it looked like Niemann might not of made it out of the first, we have to give him credit for settling down and chewing up innings. Since Cormier, who is the long reliever, threw two innings yesterday it was imperative for Niemann to stay out as long as he did to save Joe Maddon from having to unload his bullpen. Being able to throw for as long as Niemann did also indicates that he was able to get over that brutal first inning and continue without being shaken up too much.
What Went Wrong:
Well it was the other Gabe’s turn to jack up the base paths tonight. Gross decided it would be smart to go home on a ground ball hit to Guthrie in the top of the third. I feel the saying two heads are better than one is completely overrated because right now two Gabe’s are not better than one. Pat Burrell continues to struggle at the dish. “The Bat” only has two hits on the season to far and hasn’t been hitting the ball all that hard.
Situational hitting. It seemed as if no one wanted to even attempt to move people over. They did have this problem last year so hopefully this isn’t a sign of things to come.
The Rays will look to salvage a win in Baltimore as they send out James Shields against Adam Eaton. Shields struggled in Boston but should have a bounce back game tomorrow. Should the Rays win they’ll open the season on the road at 3-3, which is not bad against a veteran Red Sox team, and an decent O’s squad. It’s still early.