Thankfully that is over with after today. After just getting a two-game series with Oakland at Tropicana Field back in late April, the Rays have had to play the remaining 7 games against the Oakland Athletics on the west coast. In addition to playing an annoying team in a difficult place to play, the games are at 10pm. It's not much fun to stay up that late and watch when you have to get up the next morning. But enough with that and onto the game.
When the #1 team in Runs Allowed and the #2 team in Runs Allowed, a lot of runs should be not be expected and when you have 4 games that end with 1 run differentials in both games, certainly lived up to that. Garza went 7.2IP giving up only 4H and 1R(on a balk) with 3BB and 3K, helping give the bullpen a much needed rest. Garza once again focused on the fastball, with 79 of the 100 pitches(43 for strikes). Also of particular strength today was his curve ball. Of the 12 times he used it, 7 were for strikes. When Garza can get his curve ball going, he can become unstoppable. There were only 4 total swinging strikes, all off the fastball, leading to a low strike out total. But all the pitches were spread out over the strike zone, making it difficult for a light-hitting team like Oakland to center many pitches and drive them deep.
Also good to see the relief pitching able to get a modest 4 outs, but an important 4 outs none the less as they have had 2 bounce back games after 2 rough ones.
The offense today was not overly impressive, but they were able to scratch enough runs across today. Most days, 3 runs isn't going to win you many games, but when you have strong starting pitching like that from Garza, 3 is the same as 30. The Rays were able to take advantage of enough opportunities to score their runs, including 2 from first base. Overall, going 1-7 with RISP isn't very good, but it was good enough today at least with Longoria having the key 2-Run Double with Kelly Shoppach having the other. He's got a slash line of .292/.433/.479 against LHP, you can easily forget that because of the all the very bad ABs against righties.
Notes from the game:
- Garza is now 40-41 and has a good chance to be a +.500 pitcher in his career this year. Yay for outdated stats.
- Oakland has only allowed 476 Runs this season in 123 games after losing 3-2 to the Rays today. That's pretty impressive even if Seattle is in your division. If they could find a bat to help that line up out and stop being a bad road team(38-27 at home, 23-35 away) they could win that division next year or so.
- Somehow Chad Qualls was able to sneak into borderline Type-B FA via MLBTR's rankings. DRAFT PICKS DRAFT PICKS DRAFT PICKS.
Now that the semester has resumed for the Fall, I'm not going to have the 25 extra free hours everyday to waste here sadly :(.