You're not likely to see a more complete Rays victory this season. The team fired on every cylinder in their shutout of Cleveland, with the most impressive coming from the arm of David Price.
Price continued his Cy Young caliber season, throwing seven shutout innings while allowing just two hits and striking out seven. He didn't allow a hit until the fifth and found himself in the biggest "jam" he'd face all day. After giving up a walk and a single to the first two batters Price struck out Shelley Duncan. During the following at bat Carlos Santana was thrown out at third on a double steal. A wild pitch a walk put men at the corners but Price was able to preserve the one run lead by getting Aaron Cunningham to fly out to center.
He worked seven or more innings for the fifth straight start, lowering his ERA from 3.01 to 2.64 over that time. His most effective weapon today was the curveball. He threw it 15 times and generated five swings and misses. He wasn't facing an especially strong Cleveland lineup. They're one of the few, and maybe only, teams that can roll out an entirely left handed lineup, which is decent enough of most nights. Things change a bit when they're facing a dominant southpaw, though. Lead off hitter Shin-Soo Choo and number three man Jason Kipnis has sub .300 wOBA's against lefties this season. In fact, a left handed batter didn't reach base against Price all day.
I said the most impressive part of the day was David Price's arm? I may have to take that back and award it to the legs of Jose Molina. After drawing a walk in the second inning against Ubaldo Jimenez he stole second after noticing no one was holding him on first. Everyone looked surprised; the batter B.J. Upton, the catcher Lou Marson, everyone. I was surprised to see that was the 13th of his career. He made all of the Molina brothers proud.
It was a nice day at the plate for two struggling Rays. Upton went 2-3 with two doubles, one that cleared the bases to extend the Rays lead to five. Luke Scott continued a little hot streak, going 2-4 with a double and home run. Over his last four games he's 9-16 with two doubles, a triple and a homer. Scott regaining his form would go a long way to help at some consistency to the Rays lineup.
A split against Cleveland wasn't what anyone had in mind after the 4-0 lead last night, but considering how that game ended it's a pleasant outcome overall.
- The biggest hero of the day, at least to the fans in the stadium, may have been Wade Davis. He struck out the side in the 9th to notch 10 strikeouts over all for the Rays, giving free pizza to those who care to redeem their ticket. He got five whiffs on 17 fastballs, maxing out at 96mph and upping his K/9 to 9.85 on the season. This Davis in the bullpen thing is working out nicely.