If I could take an amalgamation of all the recaps of the Rays losses thus far, the result would be pretty accurate for today's game.
The Rays' pitching allowed too many runs and their offense scored one run on four hits, the fifth time in their nine games that they've done that. Rinse and repeat.
The game got off to a rocky start with Jeff Niemann allowing two home runs in the first inning to put the Rays in an early 0-2 hole. It was the second consecutive rough outing for Niemann, who got pulled after only 2.2IP after allowing 5H, 5R (3ER), 2BB, and getting 1K. Sam Fuld dropped an out in left field that resulted in the two unearned runs. According to Mark Topkin, Joe Maddon wasn't pleased with Niemann's mechanics and that was his main reason for pulling him after only 2.2IP and 49 pitches. Unsurprisingly, Niemann didn't agree:
"I felt great out there,'' Niemann said. "A few balls were mistakes they hit, a few good pitches they hit. That's kind of what it was today. I felt great today. Everything was sharp. I had good life on the fastball. The first inning, one first-pitch home run and one I left over the plate they got. Really looking at it, I felt like we were throwing the ball well. Minus those two walks in a row, whatever. Weren't really out there long enough to get a true feel for it.''
Andy Sonnanstine replaced Niemann and pitched very effectively. He finished the game, throwing 5.1 innings and allowing only three hits and one run. The performance was especially important because it saved the bullpen heading into the Boston series.
Once again, the offense left a lot to be desired. Matt Joyce was the star, picking up two of the team's four hits, smacking a double, and stealing a base. The most interesting thing that happened in today's game was Joe Maddon's sixth inning ejection. Dan Johnson smoked a ball to first base that bounced off of Paul Konerko. Johnson's lack of speed left enough time for Konerko to field the ball and flip it to Gavin Floyd. At first glance it appeared like Floyd fielded the ball cleanly then bobbled it just after tagging the base. First base umpire Doug Eddings ruled Johnson safe on the play. Ozzie Guillen came out to argue the call, and eventually the umpires got together and second base umpire Dana DeMuth overturned the play. Maddon erupted from the dugout and proceeded to get ejected, putting on one of his best performances in the process; pointing at each umpire and mock-ejecting all of them.
Maddon said after the game:
"The play was overturned from over 100 feet away, which I didn't like,'' Maddon said. "And I also believe if they are going to overturn that call we should just go back to Mr. (Armando) Galarraga and give him a perfect game. I think they're pretty much an equivalent kind of a call.''
"I've never seen that call made before, where an umpire calls a bobble and then it's overturned from a great distance. I really did not like that - obviously,''
Frustrations all around. Tomorrow is a new day and the Rays are on national TV against the Red Sox. Hopefully things start to turn around.