No Late-Inning Magic This Time, Rays Lose to Twins 4-2

Well, the music had to end at some point and, today, the Rays were left without a chair.  Twins starter Brian Duensing outdueled Jeremy Hellickson to end the Rays five game winning streak.  The loss drops the Rays to 6-9, but with as much grit and determination shown over the last few games, they actually have 6.3 xWins for a made-up xWinning percentage of .420%.

All joking aside, Hellboy did not have his best outing today (7IP, 4ER, 6H, 2BB, 3K).  Don't get me wrong, it wasn't a "Jeff-Neimann-on-a-bad-day" outing, but it wasn't the "sneaky-fast-with-pinpoint-control" type outing that we've--perhaps prematurely--come to expect from the Narwhal.  He threw 97 pitches on the day, working mostly fast-change, and generating just five swinging strikes.  Generally, our emotions cloud our opinion of a pitcher's performance and we imagine a worse outing than what actually happened, but, today, I was more positive on Hellickson's outing before I looked at the Pitch f/x data.

Location

via www.brooksbaseball.net

As you can see, Helly was not effectively working the corners or the bottom of the zone, but rather leaving many pitches in the heart of the zone.  That changeup being left middle-up in the zone is a scary thing. 

More after the jump:

If you're looking for a recap of the offense, might I refer you to the first and third games of this series, but without the late-inning comebacks.  The Rays scored one run in both the third and fourth innings, but were unable to add anymore runs, leaving runners in scoring position in the third, fourth, eighth, and ninth innings.  The Twins, however, managed to plate one in the fourth and three in the fifth and take home the W.  Damn those crooked numbers.

  • Johnny Damon made a bit of a bunting boo-boo and received a nice bruise on the hand.  He was replaced in the field by Matt Joyce who went 0-2.   Damon had a bid to extend his game winning RBI streak to six games when he knocked in Elliot Johnson in the third inning for the Rays first run.  If only they could have held the lead there.  Oh, the missed chance at glory!
  • Since we're contractually obliged to mention Sam Fuld in every post:  Fuld Metal Jacket (yeah) had two hits on the day, and it's always nice to see him sneak a single in the hole between first and second.
  • Jake McGee, Adam Russell, and Cesar Ramos pitched two-thirds of an inning in relief today and combined to allow 3H, 1K, and, most importantly, 0 runs.
  • The fantastic Extra 2%-Jonah-Keri-DRaysBay-TPR-Electric-Boogaloo went down today in the *tbt party deck.  I'm sure fun was had by all in attendance despite the outcome of the game, but since the Rays lost at this inaugural event, I am forced to decree that it must never happen again.  Trends, people.  Dems the facts.
  • No rest for the wicked as the Rays begin another four game series against the White Sox tomorrow at 6:40 Eastern.  Price v. Jackson in a battle of Civil War Generals, if I'm not mistaken.  Let's hope the South (Side Sox) don't rise again!

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