ST. PETERSBURG - MAY 21: First baseman Carlos Pena #23 of the Tampa Bay Rays takes the throw at first against the Toronto Blue Jays during the game at Tropicana Field on May 21, 2012 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
That's how bad tonight's game was, I can't even think of a punny headline.
With seemingly the entire Rays offense on the DL, pitching and defense are paramount to this team's success. Well, the pitching did its part tonight in the performances of Jeremy Hellickson and the bullpen, but the defense was a huge fail, giving up three errors, and some sloppy, though technically-errorless, play.
Before we get to the hairy stuff, let's talk about HellBoy's night. The sophomore hurled 7.1 innings and allowed five runs (two earned) on eight hits, and one intentional walk while striking out three. He allowed some hard hits on some Rasmus doubles and one mammoth Yunel Escobar homer to left center, but also handled Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion effectively. One 3-2 strikeout pitch had Bautista so frustrated that he tried to break the bat over his knee and failed.
Kind of like the Rays defense tonight...
It all started in the second inning on a botched double play courtesy of Carlos Pena. I know the Official Scorer credited the error to Will Rhymes, but it wasn't his fault (this time). His throw to first was a scoch off the mark, but Pena just whiffed it and Arencibia advanced to second. He'd score on a Eric Thames single to right-center for the Jays first run.
The Jays second and third runs were on the level: a nice GTMI sequence of double, productive fly out, sac fly and the aforementioned bomb by Escobar.
Then things got out of hand in the eighth. With men on first and second and one out, Burke Badenhop relieved Hellickson and induced three straight could-be-a-double-play groundballs that resulted in a grand total of one out. The first error was his as he misplayed a Ynuel Escobar two-hopper to load the bases. Next, he looked like he'd be saved when Jose Bautista grounded to Sean Rodriguez at third, but instead of throwing the ball to second to start the double play, Rodriguez decided to throw the ball to right field and allow two runs to score. But, it's not over yet. Badenhop induced yet another grounder that looked like two, but this time Will Rhymes did make an errant throw to first, and the run scored. It was not an error because you "can't assume two," and if tonight is any indication, the Rays can't assume one anymore.
I know, I'm being a Bitter Beatrice. Tomorrow is another day.
Bullets after the jump...
- B.J. Upton hit a homer in the first inning. Funny thing is, it was a "catwalk homer" that landed in center field. Funny thing is, no one saw where it hit and the umps went to the replay. Funny thing is, there was no video evidence of where it hit either. Funny thing is, the umps deductively ruled that because it didn't hit the A or B ring, but DID hit SOMETHING, then it must have been the C or D ring and was, as such, a homer.
- (Beginning rant, please feel free to skip)
- I can imagine ESPN will have a field day with this one, and while the no video is less than ideal, I want to pose a question: How are the catwalks any different from the Green Monster? Both are a stadium feature that is unique, but necessary for the park. Both can change the outcome of batted balls that would not be changed in 28 other parks. The monster can turn a line-drive homer into a single and a routine fly out into a homer. The catwalks can turn a pop out into a hit, or a fly out into a homer. I know Fenway has history and "nostalgia, " but that's just PR BS that spews from the pink hat trough to feed the disciples. Is the only argument for Fenway is that it's old? I understand that both things are undesirable for a baseball field, but why does Fenway get to treat their hideous birthmark like it's the most special thing in the world and the Rays get mocked for their braces? Everyone tells the Rays they need a new stadium. And the funny thing is, the Rays WANT a new stadium. There has been much talk of this. The Red Sox want to stay in Fenway; they want to embrace being different, while at the same time telling the Rays that they need to move. Anyhoo, thanks for letting me get that off my chest. Three and a half errors will do that to you.
- Oh, yeah, actual bullets:
- Sean Rodriguez did make some nice plays at third, too. His throws were a bit short, but Carlos Pena picked them to make the third baseman look good. I know I harped on them both above, but what can I say? When they were good, they were good. And when they were bad, they were bad.
- Sean Rod also had a nice single off righty Kyle Drabek in the third to score Matt Joyce. Drabek allowed just three hits, though he allowed six walks and threw two wild pitches. I've already harped on the defense tonight, I'll leave the hitters alone.
- Tomorrow, it's Matt Moore vs. Drew Hutchinson @ 6:10 PM. May the Rays gloves be golden and their bats be silver.