No 7th Heaven for the Rays

April 28, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland (18) dives back to third base as Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (3) looses the ball on a throwing error in the seventh inning at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Moreland scored on the play. The Rangers won 7-2 beating the Rays. Mandatory Credit: Jim Cowsert-US PRESSWIRE

Six game winning streaks are great, like, you know, better than losing. Alas, all good things must come to an end and and that happened last night in a 7-2 loss to the Rangers. The positives were few and far between in a game in which the Rays reached base just eight times and scored twice, but they were there. It is not the usual way things are done in these here parts, but we're going to look at the positives before getting into the bad stuff. In good old western fashion, we'll be looking at the good, the bad, and the ugly from last night. Yeeeeehaw!

The Good:

  • Desmond Jennings extended his personal hitting streak and stole his second and third bases of the week
  • Evan Longoria drove in his 19th run in just 21 games played this season and 91 plate appearances. It took him 37 games and 151 plate appearances to reach that total last season.
  • Jake McGee - only faced one batter but struck out David Murphy swinging. He is looking better of late and in his last five outings, he has allowed just three hitters on base while striking out six.
  • Matt Joyce a home run on consecutive nights.....and it isn't even May yet.
  • The Rangers had runners on first and second and nobody out in the 6th inning. Niemann got Michael Young to hit a high bouncer back to the pitcher that led to an ugly looking double play that came mostly on the nifty footwork and arm of Elliot Johnson.
  • Niemann did not need a caddy after all. He threw an even 100 pitches and had eight whiffs on the evening while throwing 63 pitches for strikes. Given the opponent and the environment, most were likely not expecting Niemann do this week. Still, yet again, he failed to make it out of the 6th inning.
  • Sure, it was low leverage work in the 8th innings, but J.P. Howell's hitless inning of work while retiring Cruz and striking out David Murphy and Mitch Moreland was nice to see. Like McGee, Howell has looked good of late striking out seven, walking none, and allowing four hits in his last 4.1 innings of work.
The Bad:
  • Helliot giveth and Helliot taketh away. Johnson bobbled a hard grounder from Nelson Cruz which led to his throw being a step late and the Rangers scoring their 3rd run of the evening in that same 6th inning.
  • Colby Halladay, err, Lewis toyed with the Rays. They were able to draw just the second, third, and fourth walks of the season against Lewis but only Joyce's home run was well struck on the evening. He added and subtracted from high pitches extremely well leading to a lot of soft contact and doing his best Jeremy Hellickson impression.
  • The fine line between passed balls and wild pitches is tough to see but Molina had his second passed ball of the season last night and if you combine that with the eight wild pitches that have been thrown with him behind the plate, that gives him 10 PB+WP on the season. Russell Martin, A.J. Pierzynski and Carlos Santanta have the same totals......in 40 less innings of work.
  • Brandon Allen, Elliot Johnson, and Jose Molina were a combined 0-11 with no walks and four strikeouts in the 7-8-9 part of the order. They saw 36 pitches, 28 of which were strikes, and only Johnson came close to a hit but a great defensive play by David Murphy stopped that from happening.
The Ugly:
  • Jose Molina can't count to three. The Rays had a chance at a strike 'em out/throw 'em out double play in the 4th inning, but Molina lost track of the outs allowing Young to steal second without a throw. He then moved over to third base on the aforementioned passed ball but was unable to score as Torrealba lined out to end the frame. He compounded his bad night by attempting a snap throw to third to catch Mitch Moreland too far off the bad but the throw nailed Moreland in the ass and got away from Longoria allowing Moreland to score the eventual game winning run.
  • Joe Maddon brought in Burke Badenhop for that ill-fated 7th inning which did not go well. He struck out Torrealba to start the frame but left a pitch up that Moreland doubled off of, then left a chase slider up enough for Kinsler to fist it out into right field which ignited the disastrous inning. After Moreland scored, Maddon elected to intentionally walk Josh Hamilton for the better matchup against Adrian Beltre who processed to hit a hanger over the right-field fence to seal the Rays fate. Hopper wore three hits and four runs in that inning while striking out two but has now allowed three home runs in his first ten innings of work while allowing just one all last season in 65.2 innings of work and it was to Albert Pujols.
Tonight's game is the Sunday Night Special on ESPN with The Velociraptor taking on the Dutch Oven. The last time the Rays played on Sunday Night for ESPN, it was that 1-0 loss to Boston in 16 innings that led to many a weary eye at work the next morning.


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