ST PETERSBURG, FL - JUNE 28: : Pitcher James Shields #33 of the Tampa Bay Rays pitches against the Detroit Tigers during the game at Tropicana Field on June 28, 2012 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
In the worst Tiger mauling since the Claude Bawls Incident, James Shields allowed a career-high fourteen hits and tied three other Rays for the team record. The other pitchers on that list were: Tanyon Sturtze--and does it really matter who else? Tanyon Frickin' Sturtze.
There were eleven singles, two doubles, and one triple. Were all the balls hit hard? No. Could a more 'rangy' infield have made some plays? Yes. Was Shields missing location in the zone and allowing 'good wood' on the ball? Yes.
Every groundball seemed to be destined for a hole. I'd love to just type 'BABIP' into my spreadsheet until my fingers bleed, but at some point, I just have to accept that Shields was 'hittable' tonight.
I don't want to develop carpal tunnel by typing "then _____ singled" over and over I'm lazy, I'm just going to C/P the play-by-play of the third inning:
If you were unaware, "singled to shallow_______" means: "hit a ground ball through a hole." This is not an excuse for Shields, as you can see he had ample opportunities to get the third out after Cabrera lined into the DP. Unfortunately, for the 2012 season, Joe Maddon has decreed that there are only two outs in an inning, so Shields decided to spread around more singles than a Mexican restaurant on Taco Tuesday and give the Tigers some runs.
The Tigers would score two more runs in similar fashion off Shields. I'd rather skip the specifics. Like Matt Moore, and Alex Cobb before him, Shields would eat his failure and pitch an extended outing to help out the Peralta-less bullpen. He finished the night with 7.2 IP, 4ER, 14H, 1BB, 6K on 123 pitches.
The Rays offense is in pain. Unfortunately, the only thing to stop this throbbing-headache-of-a-losing-streak is some BC Powder. Brooks Conrad, that is. The Raw Dog doubled off the top of the right field wall to leadoff the fifth and scored on a Elliot Johnson flair to center. In the seventh, after a Jeff Keppinger walk chased Max Scherzer, Conrad smacked a hanging Phil Coke curveball to left. Kepp had third base in the bag, but Tigers' LF Quintin Berry misplayed the ball, allowing Kepp to score and Conrad to move into second. And... that was it... because while BC Powder helps a bit, sometimes you need some good 'ol fashion booze.
- Miguel Cabrera was on top of his game tonight, going 4-for-5 with a homer, double, and 2RBI. His only out came on the aforementioned lined double play in the third. It was a hard hit, but Kepp did his best Mike Trout impression and saved the day. So it seems the only way to get Cabrera out is to join the circus.That's good to know.
- Carlos Pena hit the ball hard in his first two ABs, but lined into outs both times. He looked locked in at the plate, so I was excited when he came to the plate with men on base in the fifth and seventh. But, it was all for naught as he K'd both times to end the threat.
- In the first inning, B.J. Upton swung 3-0 against a shaky Scherzer and popped out. I was less than pleased, but then Brennan Boesch returned the favor against Shields in the next half inning. So, I guess that makes it OK, right?
- Tomorrow is one of those "wedding crab cake" match-ups as David Price takes on Justin Verlander in an attempt to stop this losing streak. MORE IMPORTANTLY: It's ZimBear giveaway day. So, really, everyone's a winner. Game starts @ 7:10PM.