So often it seems that, as fans, we get this great media build up before "big" matchups: Price vs. Hamels, Pedro vs. El Duque, Finkle vs. Einhorn. Often times, these matchups are disappointing. Be it from bad execution (like crab cakes at a wedding reception), or a case of misplaced expectations (like thinking 300 would be a good movie), it just doesn't end up like we expect it would.
Well, today's matchup would be that elusive "good crab cake at a wedding." There was no filler, no extra breading. Just pure, lean, lefty crab meat dominance from two of the league's best.
Both southpaws pitched seven strong innings while walking three. Price K'd eight to Hamels seven, but allowed four hits to Hamel's three. It was that fourth hit, a 325ish solo-homer down the left field line by Jimmy Rollins that marred Price's day.
If you prefer numbers to words, then here's Price's line: 7 IP, 1ER, 4H, 3BB, 8K on 112 pitches.
Thankfully for the Rays offense, Cole Hamels didn't pitch the whole game, being lifted for a pinch hitter in the bottom of the seventh after throwing 111 pitches. The Rays offense immediately got to work on Antonio Bastardo, who, after working 1.1 innings last night, was a bit shaky with his command this afternoon. The inverse-BA issued walks to Elliot Johnson and B.J. Upton before Carlos Pena stepped to the plate. Last night, Bastardo got Pena to fly out to deep right to end the Rays big threat in the eighth. Today, Pena would get a few more feet on the ball when he jumped on a first-pitch fastball and hit it out for a three run homer. Matchup-wise, this didn't (and still doesn't) look like the best of days for Pena with the powerful lefties on the mound, so it's an added bonus that he hit this game-winner off (an admittedly weaker) southpaw.
- Chris Archer pinch ran again today. He attempted a steal in the eighth and was called safe, but couldn't stop his head-first slide and went past the bag and tagged out. I like the idea of the pitcher stealing and catching someone off guard, but with the injuries this team is piling up, do the Rays really want to risk another? Maybe a feet-first slide would be a nice compromise.
- Burke Badenhop pitched the eighth, and did not do too well. He actually on pitched 2/3's of the inning and allowed a run on three hits and a walk. On the other hand, Jake McGee and Fernendo Rodney shut down the Phils to limit the damage and secure a Rays win.
- I'm gonna wrap this up as there's another game in a few hours. Yep, there's no DH's in NL baseball, but there's an interleague one today. TBA takes on Cliff Lee @ 6:35 PM. Who is TBA, Alex Torres, Cesar Ramos, Brooks Conrad? We may never know. TBA might go out there in a Blue Mystery Wife suit to protect his identity. Maybe it's Andy Sonnanstine.
- Season 1 South Park references are still topical, right?