This is why people get frustrated. The season long frustrations people have with this offense can be perfectly surmised in this one series.
Game 1: 0 runs
Game 2: 1 run
Game 3: 5 runs
Game 4: 9 runs
How can a team continually look so bad then look so good? It's maddening and frustrating. It's the Rays. The team finished up the seven game road trip with a 3-4 record, but were able to take the final two games, hopefully building momentum for a big home series with the Yankees.
After back to back intense games that ended with a runner being thrown out at the plate the Rays were able to coast today, jumping out to a seven run lead after two innings. Newly acquired outfielder Ben Francisco, in his first start in a Tampa Bay uniform, got things started off with a solo home run to left field. The next six batters would reach base on a walk, double and four singles, the most hilarious of which came from the bat of B.J. Upton. What looked like a routine fly ball to right field turned into a single when Moises Sierra lost track of the ball in the sun and took to the fetal position as to not get hit by the falling projectile... that landed ten feet to his right. Carlos Pena lead off the next inning with a solo home run, and Fransisco doubled home a run in the fourth to close out the scoring for the day.
Every starter had at least one hit and the 18 hits matched a season high. Joe Maddon started eight right handed hitters against Ricky Romero, despite him historically having reverse splits. Since lefty CC Sabathia is slated to start tomorrow night I'd expect to see a similar lineup.
David Price picked up his major league best 17th win but didn't pitch near his best. He was good, but walking four, especially three in one inning, isn't what we've been accustomed to seeing from Price. He managed to work into the seventh, giving the bullpen some rest after rescuing Niemann yesterday. Burke Badenhop and Cesar Ramos combined to close out the game. Badenhop has really been fun to watch over the past two months. Since July 3rd he's thrown 23.1 innings and has given up just five earned runs, lowering his ERA to 2.95. The Rays acquired him for virtually nothing from the Marlins this past winter. Great pickup.
As I mentioned, the Yankees come to town tomorrow just 3.5 games ahead of the Rays. They're just 24-24 since the All-Star Break. Hopefully the Rays can take advantage.