The Rays drop the opening game of this eight-game homestand to the Cleveland Indians. James Shields couldn’t get out of trouble, the defense had a costly error and the offense couldn’t catch up. With the loss, Tampa Bay is tied with the Orioles for most losses in the division but remain two games ahead in the wins column. Let’s take a quick look.
What Went Right:
The offense hit the ball fairly hard all night, often times though right at a fielder. They weren’t able to break through until the sixth inning, but it wasn’t enough. Gabe Gross went 2-4 with an RBI and Ben Zobrist had a three-run homer but that would be the closest they would get.
What Went Wrong:
The pitching. James Shields gave up ten hits but only two earned runs. With the score 2-0 in the fifth and two outs, Shields induced a grounder to second that appeared to be the third out but the ball was booted by Akinori Iwamura. Then Shields would surrender back to back doubles, a walk, and an infield hit to score three runs and essentially end his night. We know it’s tough on a pitcher when the defense gives the opposition extra outs, but it happens and there’s really no excuse for the onslaught that ensued, Shields simply didn’t execute his pitches.
The bullpen didn’t help much either as Joe Nelson couldn’t get out of the sixth giving up four more runs and Grant Balfour was tagged for two more.
Scott Kazmir (4-3, 5.92) will look to get the Rays back on track as he faces Anthony Reyes (1-1, 7.20). Hopefully all that cotton candy Kazmir downed in Baltimore won’t effect him tomorrow. Look for the return of Carl Crawford and possibly Pat Burrell, however it’ll be interesting especially with Willy Aybar starting to heat up.