The Rays offense was shut down by an excellent outing by the Orioles top prospect, Zach Britton. Making his Major League debut, Britton threw six impressive innings, allowing one run on three hits while striking out six. The most impressive thing about his outing was the superb action on his sinker. The amount of movement the pitch generates is close to unfair. It seemed to be especially lethal against right handed hitters, with a perfect example being the strikeout of Sean Rodriguez in the second inning. Rodriguez swung where he, and everyone else, thought the pitch would end up, but instead was left flailing as the ball tailed away to the outside and off the plate. Britton threw 62 cutters on the day, resulting in a strike percentage over 66, and six swinging strikes. Britton would induce 17 swinging strikes in all.
Wade Davis took the loss on the afternoon, but was not as bad as his ending line would suggest. After allowing a run on a bloop single in the first, Davis settled down, at one point retiring 11 straight Oriole hitters. While Davis' fastball didn't get as many whiffs as Britton's (0 to 6), it was still an excellent pitch for him. Davis threw it 39 times for a strike percentage of 79.5. He used the excellent fastball to set up his slider which resulted in 10 strikes in 14 attempts. A changeup was mixed in 16 times, but only eight for strikes, and was a pitch Oriole hitters singled on more than once. From the TV booth, Brian Anderson kept noting how Davis would slow down his body language when throwing the changeup, a sure tip off to the batter.
With the game tied at one a piece to start the 7th inning, Davis hit a wall. Matt Wieters, Adam Jones, and Mark Reynolds went single, single, double to lead off the inning, giving Baltimore a 2-1 lead. After a Felix Pie ground out, J.J. Hardy hit a double down the left field line that scored two, breaking the game open for good. Cesar Ramos would come in to spell Davis, and got the next two outs, but the damage had been done. A fastball left high and inside to anyone, let alone a good hitter like J.J. Hardy, is likely going to get ripped.
There were some positives that happened as well, and for those we go to the bullet points
- Getting his first start with the Rays due to Damon's sore leg, Sam Fuld made a few very nice catches in left field, throw out a batter at home, and worked a walk that helped the Rays score their lone run in the third.
- Batting before Fuld in the third inning, Matt Joyce got behind early in the count but fought back and worked the at bat into a walk. Very impressive.
- As much we we don't like bunting here at DRB, Elliott Johnson laid down a perfect one for an RBI base hit that scored Joyce. Well done.
Ben Zobrist and B.J. Upton continued their hot hitting, each reaching base for the third game in a row.
- Juan Cruz made his Rays debut and was excellent in doing so. He worked one perfect inning of relief, pounding the Orioles hitters with a barrage of cutters (9 of his 13 pitches) and getting a strikeout of Vlad Guerrero. More of that, please.
- The Red Sox are 0-3 as well, so not all is bad.
- Also, some notes from the clubhouse are provided by Jason in the GDT below.