In an absolute nightmare of a game, the Rays continue their losing ways in Cleveland. After getting out front and spotting starter David Price a 10-0 lead, the Indians scored 11 unanswered runs, nine coming the the final two innings. The bullpen imploded tonight and deserved the loss after tonight’s performance. Now we know why Rays Index has been referring this ballclub as the Devil Rays (don’t hold us to paying any foundations though) as the pitching was sadly reminiscent of the 2006/2007 squads. Off we go.
What Went Right:
The offense continues to produce and lead the Majors in runs scored. They also continue to grind out at bats and draw walks as they drew nine overall. Carlos Pena, Ben Zobrist, and Dioner Navarro led the way with two hits each as every starter except Evan Longoria and Willy Aybar had at least a hit and an RBI. Longoria did draw three walks though and Gabe Gross connected on his third homerun on the season in the third.
What Went Wrong:
Pitching. Pitching this season has been the big problem for the Rays as the starters continue to struggle and the bullpen stays streaky. However it all came undone tonight. David Price’s 2009 debut can’t be really labeled as a success even though he only gave up two runs on four hits and striking out six. The reason is that it took him 100 pitches to get through 3.1 innings and did issue five bases on balls. His inability to finish hitters is what did him in and it didn’t help that he struggled to get first pitch strikes. Of the 19 hitters Price faced, he was only able to get a first pitch strike on nine of them, a ratio he’ll have to improve if he hopes to go deeper in games.
Even if the Rays would have won, it still could have been considered a loss in the fact that Joe Maddon had to use seven pitchers in a game which the Rays led 10-0. While Price was unable to go deep thus forcing Maddon to break into the bullpen early, the last four men are what did them in. They combined for five walks and six earned runs. Dale Thayer was unable to close out a game with a six run lead, Randy Choate was the victim of a Reid Brignac throwing error, Grant Balfour left a fastball up to a fastball hungry power hitter, and Jason Isringhausen couldn’t throw a strike. The result: a lot of walks and a seven run rally.
Stat of the Night:
The Indians scored seven runs in the ninth…on three hits.
The Rays will have to put this nightmare behind them especially the pitchers. They’ll need Matt Garza to go deep and the hitters will need to continue their patient approaches against Carl Pavano. Hopefully Jason Bartlett will be back and ready to go as well. I really don’t want to think about this game anymore so that’ll be all.