It didn't end up affecting the outcome of the game. However, at the time we didn't know that. Evan Longoria had cut the Rays' deficit to one with a three run homer an inning earlier. Brandon Gomes had worked a perfect seventh and came back out to pitch the eighth. He got right handed pinch hitter Craig Gentry to ground out on a bunt attempt. One away. Mitch Moreland stepped into the box.
Each of the four batters Gomes had faced up to this point were right handed. We're not privy to his minor league splits, but it's been said that he doesn't fare very well against left handed hitters and his limited sample against them in the Majors would agree. He threw 13.2 innings against lefties during the regular season and gave up two home runs and seven walks to go along with a 4.71 FIP. Against right handers the FIP drops to 3.15 in 23.1 innings. The only pitch Gomes threw near the plate to Moreland was crushed, taking away the ability for the Rays to tie the game with one swing in the ninth.
Joe Maddon called upon Joel Peralta to relieve Gomes and he retired the next two batters to end the inning. My question is, if you're going to use Peralta why not bring him in to face Moreland? In 33.2 innings against left handed batters this season Peralta has a K/BB of 5.67 and a FIP of 1.93. He's been a reverse splits pitcher for the last two seasons, which means he might as well have been pitching left handed to Moreland, he of the .267 career wOBA against southpaws.
It was a rare misstep in bullpen management from Joe Maddon. The process and result were equally as disappointing.