May 30, 2012; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays designated hitter Luke Scott (30) reacts in the dugout against the Chicago White Sox at Tropicana Field. Chicago White Sox defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE
I'm not going to dwell too much on the sweep. The White Sox are playing very well at the moment and the Rays are trying to keep their head above water in a sea full of torn hamstrings, sprained knees and broken toes. They lost three straight, and you know what? They're going to lose three straight again this season. It happens. There's no use getting upset by it.
Alex Cobb had a tough day, allowing four runs on nine hits while throwing 91 pitches in five innings. His defense didn't help him out much early as Paul Konerko and Alex Rios each singled to left field in the first inning on balls that could have/should have been made by Drew Sutton or Elliot Johnson. He was able to work out of a bases loaded, no out jam in the second inning but came back in the third to allow a double, hit by pitch, single and sac fly that scored two runs. Cobb had good success with his changeup, throwing it 35 times for a strike percentage of 77 and generated seven whiffs. He struggled with his fastball, both with command and velocity. Last season his fastball averaged 91 miles per hour, this season it's sitting at 89 and topping out today at 90. The velocities of all of his pitches are down compared to last season. Perhaps that's a lingering effect of the surgery he had last season?
In any case, the offense didn't perform well either, struggling to score runs in each game of the series. It's tough to score more than four runs when you total just five base runners all game. Luke Scott hit a solo home run and came to the plate with the winning run on base in the ninth but failed to come out the hero. Carlos Pena added a two run blast in the sixth inning. For critics of the offense, this is what happens when you face a left handed starter with three of your best lefty mashers on the disabled list. If you're a fan of the Rays this is what you sign up for. The 2008-2012 incarnation of the team has never been a consistent force with the bats, even when everyone is healthy. They're going to go through streaks, especially when reserves have to play a greater role.
The most interesting, and ridiculous, part of the game came in the bottom of the fourth inning when White Sox starter Jose Quintana threw behind Ben Zobrist. This happened because A.J. Pierzynski was hit between the shoulder blades by Alex Cobb an inning prior. Of course, that only happened because Pierzynski spiked Ben Zobrist while "sliding" into second base last night. There was absolutely no reason for Quintana to throw at Zobrist, who immediately started laughing. Hitting Pierzynski should have been the end of it, and it's this kind of behavior that gets players injured. I don't get the logic of throwing at Zobrist anyway. Pierzynski spikes Zobrist...and gets thrown at as well? I doubt Quintana took matters into his own hands there, so whoever ordered the hit, be it Robin Ventura or Don Cooper, can go to hell.
The team has a day off and welcomes in Baltimore for a three game series that could give one team a big edge in the division race. I did not think I'd be typing that sentence in February.