ST. PETERSBURG, FL - APRIL 29: First baseman Mark Trumbo #44 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim rounds the bases after his two run home run against the Tampa Bay Rays during the game at Tropicana Field on April 29, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
Last night's game wasn't exactly how you'd expect, or want for that matter, a home stand to begin. Especially not after winning five games in a row to close out your road trip. Alas, nothing good lasts forever.
It's not fair to put responsibility of the loss on the shoulders of one player, but David Price did not perform to the best of his abilities and the Angels took advantage. After going eight innings in each of his last two starts, Price only managed to last 4.1 IP this time around. He also gave up a career high 12 hits in the process. Lets compare Price's last two starts.
No two teams are created equal; you pitch different hitters in different ways. But, in hindsight maybe Price should have done a few things differently against Anaheim. He did throw eight more pitches in the Toronto game, but you can see there is a clear difference in his philosophy against the Angels. Price didn't miss down with many of his pitches, leaving a lot of fastballs up in the zone or right over the heart of the plate. Players like Abreu, Kendrick, Hunter, and Trumbo can hit fastballs a long way, especially when you're not mixing up a changeup enough times to keep them off balance.
The Rays bullpen hadn't been used much of late, but that extra rest didn't stop Cesar Ramos, Adam Russell, and Jake McGee from not being sharp. And that was after Juan Cruz came in and pitched 1.2 excellent innings, getting the Rays out of a bases loaded jam that Price had created. Ramos walked Abreu, got Hunter to pop out, and allowed a hit to Wells and was then replaced by Russell. He didn't fare any better, allowing a single and a bases loaded walk and a fielder's choice which scored a run. McGee came in to pitch the 9th, but allowed back to back singles and was pulled after an Eric Aybar sac bunt. All tallied they allowed 3ER, 5H, and 3BB in 2.1IP.
At least the Rays offense provided us with a few bright spots. Matt Joyce hit his long awaited first home run of the season. He also got ejected in the sixth inning for arguing balls and strikes, which allowed Joe Maddon to do Joe Maddon things. Instead of moving Zobrist to right field and placing Elliott Johnson at second base, he chose to move Fuld from left field to right field and Damon from DH to left field, punting the DH entirely. It seemed unusual at the time, but the pitcher's spot only came up to bat once after that, and Dan Johnson was called upon to pinch hit. Dan Johnson > Elliott Johnson.
- The other offensive star was John Jaso, who clubbed two doubles and walked once.
- Casey Kotchmancontinues to hit well, going 2-4 with a run scoring double
- It's so nice to see Upton turn around on a 95mph fastball and blast it into the seats.
- Howie Kendrick is now hitting .452/.504/.721 in 104 AB against the Rays
- Home plate umpire Tom Hallion deserves a swift kick in the ass. His strikeout call is the most annoying, "hey look at me!" thing I've ever seen an umpire do on a consistent basis.