The Rays fell to Baltimore 6-2 tonight and in doing so saw their already slim playoff hopes shrink that much more.
Other than getting swept, things couldn't have gone much worse in Baltimore. The Rays held leads the past two nights only to see the starter give it right back, last night on a double by Jake Fox, tonight on a home run by Chris Davis. Tampa Bay's Davis, he of the Wade variety, wasn't nearly as impressive as he was his last time out. Instead of throwing a complete game and striking out eight, Davis lasted just 6.1 innings, allowing four earned runs, walking two and striking out just three. I can excuse the home run to Reimold, that ball wasn't a home run in any other park in baseball thanks to the low wall at Camden, but the Davis blast was inexcusable.
Chris Davis strikes out a lot. Chris Davis can't hit a breaking ball. Chris Davis was down in the count 0-2. There's no reason he should have seen a fastball, no matter if it was well above the strike zone and he had swung and missed on at a ball in that same area a pitch earlier. You need to throw him breaking stuff until he proves he can hit it or flails and misses by two feet. His three run homer put the Rays in a hole they never could climb out of. You can blame the last two losses on the pitching if you'd like, but the Rays offense hasn't helped the cause.
After numerous epic fails last night, including a bases loaded no out situation, the poor performance carried over to today. The team managed just three hits all night , scoring their two runs on a double by Matt Joyce. Aside from that they only mounted a threat one other time when Johnny Damon and Matt Joyce walked and singled to lead off the 7th. Of course, the team's seven, eight and nine hitters failed to do anything productive and that was that.
It wasn't a good night. It wasn't a good series. They just have to move on to Boston and hope the success that propelled them to a sweep last week in St. Pete can make it's way to Fenway Park.
Oh, yeah, that Matt Moore guy made his debut tonight. He ended up throwing 1.1 innings, allowing three hits and two runs on a Matt Wieters home run. He came into the game in the seventh with one man on and proceeded to get the next two fly and ground out. The eighth inning started off fantastically as J.J. Hardy went down swinging and Nick Markakis struck out looking at a 98mph fastball on the right corner that he could do nothing with. The next three batters, which would be Moore's last, weren't so easy as Vlad Guerrero singled, Matt Weiters homered to deep left field and Chris Davis doubled. The Rays, and teams in general outside of the Red Sox, should really stop pitching to Weiters right now. Moore threw one pitch, a 95mph fastball up in the zone, and he hit it out, giving him 10 HR over the past 31 days. His OPS over that time is over 1.000. Coming into the game his OPS against left handed pitching was 1.091. Amazing to say the least.
Overall Moore threw 27 pitches: 24 fastbals, two sliders and one changeup. His fastball averaged 95.60 mph, which would rank as the third fastest in baseball for a starter. The end results weren't good, but the kid is extremely impressive and I can't wait to see him throw more over these final two weeks.