If last night's game was an emotional roller-coaster, then tonight's was an emotional drop tower. There wasn't a lot of ebb and flow, mostly the high of a Rays scoring early and often, then the sudden stomach shift when Alex Rodriguez came to the plate in the top of the ninth representing the tying run.
David Price pitched like the Velociraptor Jesus we all know and love tonight--mostly good, a few lapses here and there. He came out pumping 97 MPH heat and even mixed in a spike curve or two. On the other side, Price walked four and allowed RBI singles to Andruw Jones and Eduardo Nunez. Hits are hits and runs are runs, but there's something to be said when the Teixeira and ARod go hit-less and Nunez and Jones are the ones that sting you. What specifically is there to be said? I don't know, I'm not a scientist, but gosh darn-it, there's something!
Price came away with the W and the all-important Quality Start (if my fantasy baseball commissioner is to be believed). His line on the night: 6.1 IP, 2ER, 5H, 4BB, 5K. He was fastball-heavy on the night (72%) and induced just seven swinging strikes in 107 pitches (6.5%). The walks were the big concern tonight, and while umpire Sam Holbrook's zone was a teensy bit tight, I know we all agree that with the Rays' defense, the free passes must be kept to a minimum.
On the offensive side of the ball... after the jump.
Luke Scott(!) had a nifty day at the dish tallying three RBI on two singles and a double. Scott led off the scoring on a two-out single in the first that plated Desmond Jennings and Matt Joyce. He would double in Ben Zobrist in the sixth and later score on a Jennings single that chased Yankees' starter Hiroki Kuroda from the game.
The game got a bit interesting in the ninth as Josh Lueke, in his second inning of work, couldn't seem to throw strike one and allowed a triple, sac fly, walk, and a single before giving way to Joel Peralta. Peralta looked like he would be able to close out the inning with no further damage as he K'd Derek Jeter, but then served up a fastball on a platter that Nick Swisher crushed to right for a three-run jack.
With the score now six to eight, Joe Maddon opted for Jake McGee who very kindly came in and walked Robinson Cano which allowed ARod to come to the plate as the tying run in a game that someone in the GDT said was "mathematically impossible to lose." Well, it turns out that lucky DRB poster was right, as Fernando Rodney coaxed ARod into a ground out to end the game. Rodney earned a save to go along with his win from last night.
- Lueke had a rough eighth inning as well. It started with a Swisher walk and a Cano double, but then an ARod pop-out and a Tex scorched liner directly into the shift in shallow right resulted in a double play and a Houdini-esque escape.
- Matt Joyce had a bomb off the righty Kuroda. Glad to see he's fulfilling expectations. He also added two RBI on a soft liner to left that scored Pena and Longoria in the seventh.
- Speaking of Longo. Just before being driven in by Joyce, the face of the franchise had a homerun called back and transformed into a ground rule double. The ball was caught seemingly over the field by an overzealous RaYankees (Yankee jersey, rays hat) fan on the right field wall. It might have gone over if the fan hadn't caught it, but you never know. Feel free to debate on that one.
- Reid Brignac walked once. He was also picked off at third on some craziness. I'd rather not talk about it.
- Tomorrow, Rays starter Jeremy Hellickson takes on Phil Hughes in an Easter Sunday matchup @ 1:40 PM. Get out the brooms, tomorrow is a perfect time to do that spring cleaning.
- Oh yeah, I almost forgot. After tonight's game, the Rays play all day games until the Tuesday after next (4/17). That's eight straight games where our vampires will be neutralized. These unbalanced schedules are so unfair.
- Collette & Rancel also have their write-ups on their respective sights up already.