The Rays fell to the Diamondbacks today, but I'm sure that's not what a majority of you want to talk about. In the top of the 5th inning Rusty Ryal tripled on a ball to deep left center. Everyone's favorite whipping boy, B.J. Upton, didn't run full speed after it resulting in a triple. The next batter, Gerardo Parra, crushed a Wade Davis fastball to deep center field, giving the Diamondbacks a 2-0 and negating any misfortune that may have come from the Parra triple. Parra could have singled and it would have counted the same. After that half inning Evan Longoria was shown voicing his displeasure with Upton in the dugout. Naturally, Upton didn't enjoy being dressed down by a teammate and started barking back at Longoria, eventually having to be physically restrained by teammates. It wasn't a pretty sight by any means, but I'm guessing by Maddon's non reaction that he was fine with the two handling the issue themselves. As far as Upton goes, call me a homer, tell me I have blinders on, what have you. I'm not going to kill the guy over that play. He tracks down too many balls and saves too many runs for me to get upset with him.
Now onto something that actually matters, the game:
Just like Jeff Niemann on Friday night, I feel for Wade Davis. He pitched one of his best games of the season, going 7.1IP (his deepest all season) while allowing just two runs and striking out five. His fastball and curveball were very sharp on the afternoon, with reach registering a strike percentage of over 70. Davis was less reliant on his fastball than usual, and that seemed to help him against a power hitting Arizona lineup. Only four of his 27 first pitches were of the fastball variety. When there were two strikes on a batter Davis threw 10 curveballs, 14 fastballs, and 15 sliders. On those 39 pitches, 16 were fouls, whiffs, or called strikes with the rest being put in play. The 36% fastball usage in that situation is far less than his seasonal average. For comparison, here is his fastballs usage by two strike counts:
A start like this will surely help quell the Jeremy Hellickson cravings, at least for a little while.
The biggest proprietor of fail this afternoon, and the whole series, was the offense. They managed just two hits today, giving them a total of seven for the series. That's 7-81 for those counting at home. The offense was so bad that it's impossible to pin it on one person. I wish it were that easy. The only silver lining is that its nearly impossible for them to continue being this porous. At least I hope. With as bad as they were today, the game ended up being decided by a few feet. In the 8th inning, with Crawford on first after pinch running for Jaso, Sean Rodriguez lined out sharply to third basemen Tony Abreu who was nearly hit in the face with the ball. Abreu then doubled up Crawford at first. If that ball is a foot higher, or if Abreu is playing back a couple of feet, Rodriguez gets an easy double and Crawford scores to tie the game. The 9th inning held more of the same. With two outs and Matt Joyce on first after a walk, Upton came to the plate. If this were a movie Upton would have crushed a ball into the left field seats for a feel good walk off victory. Instead, Upton got a hold of one and sent it to deep left center only to have Chris Young catch it while crashing into the wall. If that ball is three feet the left, the Rays have a victory.
The Rays now head to Boston to begain a two game set on Tuesday. With Dustin Pedroia on the DL and Victor Martinez getting injured this afternoon, I really hope the Rays can bounce back and start this tough road trip out on the right foot.