David Price did not have his best stuff today, and the Rays paid for it. Price only managed to finish five innings, struggling to produce many swinging strikes (6) while getting a lot of foul balls (24 by my count). Several protracted at bats with Andruw Jones helped push Price to his limit early, and he ended the day with 4 earned runs on his tab on 7 hits, 3 walks, and 3 strikeouts.
Price also allowed a home run to Derek Jeter, giving Wade Boggs company as the only other player to reach 3000 hits on a home run. Jeter went 5 for 5, falling a triple short of the cycle. Congratulations, Jeter, but your milestone is merely an arbitrary number given undue significance in deference to its roundness.
Moreover, how about some walks? Only one player has 3000 hits and 2000 walks -- my man Ricky Henderson. Derek Jeter does not even have 1000 yet.
Oh well. Batting average is on the scoreboard, so it must be more important than Henderson's .401 on-base percentage.
What made today's loss particularly painful was not the Jeter milestone. No, it was the early lead (a Matt Joyce homer in the second, Rays 1-0) and the B.J. Upton homer in the 4th (Rays led 3-2) and then the Johnny Damon triple and Ben Zobrist single in the 8th (Rays tied the Yankees 4-4). The Rays got the lead twice and came back twice, just to watch the Yankees steal the lead back in the bottom of the 8th.
Out of the 'pen, none of the relievers looked particularly great, but Brandon Gomes and J.P. Howell combined for 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief. But Eduardo Nunez started the 8th inning with a double off Joel Peralta, coming home on a single from -- you guessed it -- Derek Jeter.
In what is possibly his worst season in the majors, Derek Jeter sure picked a stupid day to be awesome again.
- J.P. Howell and Kelly Shoppach combined for a strike-'em-out, throw-'em-out double play in the 7th inning. It was quite possibly the first such instance in the history of the franchise.
- Matt Joyce and B.J. Upton may be heating up. Joyce had two hits today, including his homer, and Upton has a .319/.407/.723 slash with 6 homers since June 24. Can you imagine what it would be like for the Rays to score runs? Lots of them? Me neither.
- THE BIG NEWS: Long man / lonely bullpen guy Andy Sonnanstine has been optioned to Triple-A Durham and Brandon Guyer has been summoned, hopefully to assume everyday playing time in left field.