ST. PETERSBURG, FL - MAY 16: Infielder Carlos Pena #23 of the Tampa Bay Rays is congratulated by Elliot Johnson #9 after scoring against the Boston Red Sox during the game at Tropicana Field on May 16, 2012 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
The Rays weren't able to generate much offense tonight, but thankfully, they didn't need to. Jeremy Hellickson and his 'pen of merry men held the always potent Red Sox lineup to just one run on seven scattered hits. Both Hellickson and his opponent, Clay Buchholz, got away with more than their fair share of stranded runners--Rays were 0-11 with RISP--but the Rays found ways to take advantage of some Sawks mistakes and cash in.
In this Hellickson/Buchholz staring contest, it was Buchholz who flinched first--literally. In the bottom of the second, with Carlos Pena on third and Will Rhymes on first, Buchholz made an egregious balk. (More like, like Clay Balkholz, am I right?) It looked as if he wanted to both make the pitch and pickoff to first at the same time. Whatever his thought process, it lead to the Rays first run of the night.
The Red Sox would tie the game in the fourth on a Daniel Nava Texas Leaguer to left that Matt Joyce was thisclose to making a sliding catch on. Closer than that play Carl Crawford missed to lose game 162 against the O's last year. (I didn't have to mention that, but, hey, that memory always makes me smile.) Tonight's play was a tough one, but that is where you miss Desmond Jennings.
Matt Joyce redeemed himself for not being Desmond Jennings in the bottom of the sixth. After singling on a hard grounder off the foot of Buchholz, Joyce advanced to third on a Pena single down the rightfield line. Buchholz was pulled in favor of Andrew Miller who coaxed Luke Scott into popping out to Cody Ross in shallow right. But wait, there's more! Ross had some trouble and made the catch with his momentum going backwards. Joyce broke for home and was quite safe, beating the weak throw from Ross. In the postgame interview, Joyce said that third base coach Tom 'Dave' Foley told him to 'fake it,' but when Joyce noticed Ross caught the ball off balance, he decided to go for it. Of course, this proved to be the deciding run of the game.
Bullets after the jump...
- Clay Buchlolz (yeah, all night long) wasn't the only one to balk for the Sawks tonight, Franklin Morales decided to get in on the action... twice. Unfortunately, neither lead to runs, but it was fun to watch. Morales' first balk was on an arm flinch and the second was... well, I'm not sure. No one seems to be. All it looked like on the replay was that he changed the grip on the ball. Since when umps start banning the slider?
- I've waited this long to get to this next bullet out of respect for your stomachs. In the top of the eighth, Will Rhymes took a Morales fastball to the right forearm. At first it sounded like it hit the bat, but It bruised up quickly and you could see the seam marks on his forearm. With limited bench options, Joe Maddon sent Rhymes to tough it out and run the bases, but before that could happen, Rhymes passed out. Yes, he passed out. I'm not a doctor (obviously), but I can only assume it was from the sheer pain of a fractured or broken arm. I'm not going to speculate any roster moves, but there's a good chance the Rays are going to put their tenth player on the DL this season. Yay double digits? Here's a pic of Rhymes' arm. (h/t Collette) And, here's a gif of the result. (h/t SBN TB)
- Newly acquired Rich Thompson made his Rays debut tonight and pinch ran for Luke Scott in the eighth. Before Rhymes HBP, Thompson was on third and I was thinking the Rays might try the squeeze, but then it occurred to me that Thompson probably doesn't know the signs yet. Even if he had a crash course before the game, would Joe Maddon want to take the chance and potentially screw it up? I guess we'll never know.
- Bullpen was great again. McGee, Peralta, and Rodney pitched an inning each and allowed just two hits and K'd three.
- Tomorrow, Matt Moore takes on Felix Doubront @ 7:10 as the Rays try and make it a mini-sweep before taking on the Braves in interleague play. Interleague this early? If you say so, Bud.