It ended up being a relatively easy victory, but for the first three innings it seemed like the Curse of Cleveland was going to continue. Facing former Ray and long time Durham Bull Mitch Talbot, the offense struggled mightily over the first few innings. At one point, in rather embarrassing fashion, he struck out six in a row. The first 16 batters accounted for zero runs, one hit, one walk, and seven strikeouts. Then the 5th inning happened and Mitch Talbot stopped being Bob Feller and started being Mitch Talbot. The next nine batters he faced reminded everyone why the Rays traded him in the first place. Those batters combined for five runs on six hits, with home runs from Ben Zobrist and Carlos Pena, while only striking out once. I was a big Mitch Talbot fan, and will always root for the guy, but it just doesn't seem like he has the stuff to be a successful starting pitcher at the Major League level.
David Price seemed to have the complete opposite game from Talbot. The first eight batters to face Price accounted for three runs on two hits, one of those being a two run blast by Shelley Duncan, and two walks while striking out twice. That would be it for the Indians as they would get only three more baserunners over their next 19 batters. It was really impressive to see Price make adjustments as the game went along. He began to throw his curveball to start off hitters, not allowing them to key on his fastball. Speaking of his fastball, what got into Price tonight? Texasleaguers.com has his average fastball velocity at 94.8mph this season, which is very good. But tonight, Brooksbaseball.com had Price at an averageof 97.3mph with a high of 99.4. As the kids would say, WTF? Whatever the reason, it sure seemed to help. Price threw the pitch 66 times tonight and had a 13.64% whiff rate, which is much higher than the 9% he's averaged this season.
- Great seeing Zobrist homer for the first time in over a month. His three run homer tied the game in the 5th, and the Rays never looked back.
- I know it doesn't seem like it, but Carlos Pena has 21 home runs.
- Shin-Soo Choo is too good. Isn't it time for him to serve his military time in Korea or something?
- Same goes for Carlos Santana. The Casey Blake for Santana deal is going to look VERY silly for the Dodgers over the coming seasons.
- We need to come up with a good nickname for the Benoit-Soriano combination. Suggestions?
- Wade Davis needs to pitch like he did last time out and send the Rays home on a high note.