The last time I had to recap a Rays game this bland and lifeless (was that only two weeks ago?), I decided to leadoff with my review of Shiner's Ruby Redbird Summer Beer. Since I'm all out of that fine Texas brew, I satisfied my thirst tonight with an Abita Strawberry Harvest Lager. Head past the jump for the game recap.
This seasonal is nose-to-toes strawberry. It hits you with the first sip and doesn't stop. It's basically a Strawberry Jolly Rancher, but in beer form--so it's safe for the kids. I don't want to give the impression that it's a hopped-up Strawberry Pucker, but it's more Wild Blue than Blue Moon.
So, this isn't a 8-10 a night kinda beer, it's more of a 4-6. The Pilsner malt and Vanguard hops save it from being a 1-2. Don't you all love Vanguard hops? I've been a fan ever since I read about them on the back of this very bottle.
I'm sure the baker's dozen of you that are up reading this at this hour, are wondering what kind of lady-man I am for drinking these fruity beers. First a grapefruit, then a strawberry!? Well, I assure you I've got a nice dark organic dunkel in the fridge.
Speaking of dark dunkels, the Rays offense put up another stinker tonight in Cleveland. Let's talk about that after the jump...
Same story, different day.
Well, so were the Rays hitters who amassed just two hits off the soft-throwing righty, he of the 5.85 ERA, 4.86 FIP, and 4.2069 WTF. The Rays offensive "fireworks" were courtesy of Burrito Bandito Will Rhymes who hit a triple off the high wall in right in the fifth. Rhymes even admired the ball as it floated through the air, before he realized that it wouldn't clear the fence (pictured above). I mean, when Will Rhymes is admiring possible homers, you can't be that good of a pitcher, right?
Rhymes would score on Jose Molina groundout and that would be that for the scoring. Carlos Pena and Ben Zobrist had some very hard hit balls tonight that amounted to muckall, so they've got that going for them, which is nice.
Jeremy Hellickson looked a bit shaky tonight, but as he surrendered five hits and walked four in six innings of work. Only two of those hits would end up mattering, both solo-homers off the bats of Shin Soo Choo and Michael Brantley. Both balls were hit to almost the exact same spot in right-center and were quite crushed. Choo's was on a d-hole FB in the first at-bat of the game, and Brantley got his on a wheelhouse down-and-inside pitch in the second.
Helly would put up goose eggs for the next four innings, but he'd get into and out of trouble in every frame. Asdrubal Cabrera and the always 'smooth' Carlos Santana would stroke some balls tonight, but the Rays outfielders were able to track them down.
So, basically all the scoring in the game was from the home run. Rhymes was close enough for me to give him a 'sympathy homer.' When was the last time a four-homer game was so slow and boring?
- Luke Scott played first base tonight in order to clear his head and get out of this slump. It didn't work. Scott was 0-for-3 to extend his hitless streak to 0-for 39 (a new Rays record!). Maddon pulled Scott in the seventh and placed DH Carlos Pena at first. This axed the DH and the Rays played with an NL-style lineup the rest of the game. Whether or not playing with an 0-for-39 hole in your lineup is not already NL-style is another question.
- Travis Hafner blasted a solo-homer off Jake McGee in the eighth. McGee's been a bright spot this season, so I'd like to let him off the hook just this once.
- Elliot Johnson plopped a hit down the leftfield line in the eighth, but played the spectator for too long and was thrown out trying to get what should have been a sure-thing-double. Not EJ's best moment.
- Jose Molina did his part behind the dish tonight by throwing out two would-be base-stealers. First, he got Michael Brantley by a mile in the fourth. In the seventh, he bailed out J.P. Howell by throwing out Asdrubal Cabrera for the second half of a strike-em-out-throw-em-out.
- Checking in on some former Rays:
- Everyone's favorite former Ray Casey Kotchman was 1-for-2 with a walk. He also missed a catch on an Elliot Johnson dropped third strike that allowed EJ to reach base. Later in the inning, Kotch tried to Spiderman a ball heading for the Rays dugout, but mistimed his jump and couldn't hang on. Magical.
- Johnny Damon looked good tonight. 0-for-3 with a K. But he looked sexy.
- Since, I've moved from a Texas beer to a Louisiana one, I suppose the next will have to be from Mississippi. I'll gladly take suggestions, though I do have a Lazy Magnolia "Deep South Pale Ale" in the fridge.
- Tomorrow, Alex Cobb takes on Justin, Son of Masters @ 6:05 PM. The All-Star break cannot get here soon enough.