US PRESSWIRE - Presswire
Not capitalizing on early opportunities from Gavin Floyd now place the Rays playoff hopes in someone else's hands.
Last night Jake Peavy was a tough luck loser. Tonight that luck turned around for Gavin Floyd. The Chi Sox starter threw a remarkably unremarkable game tonight. Ben Zobrist started off the night with a solo homer to right-center on the first pitch he saw from Floyd, but that would be all the Rays could muster against the righty and his stocking'd compatriots.
And it's not like Floyd didn't try. The G-Man walked five in five innings and Rays hitters worked nine full counts over that time, but could only muster the one run. Floyd left after 105 pitches, but the Sox bullpen wasn't any easier on the Rays. Jessie Crain pitched a season-high 2.2 innings and K'd four before Joe Maddon and Robin Ventura played the match-up game for the final four outs. Guess who won?
As for the Rays pitching, Jeremy Hellickson didn't have the flashiest stuff either tonight, but he tried his darnedest to make the numbers look OK. His line: 5.2 IP, 3R/2ER, 9H, 1BB, 2K on 93 pitches. He was peppering the Sox hitters with first-pitch strikes, but couldn't close the door; pitching only one clean inning. He made a few bad pitches, the highlight being a high, inner-half fastball to Alex Rios that ended up in the left field stands.
But, the biggest mistake might have been an errant pickoff throw on Gordon Beckham in the third inning. Beckham had lead off the inning with a single, but was still at first with one out when De Aza popped out on a bunt to Jose Lobaton. Helly was trying to keep GBecks honest, but his pickoff was quite off the mark, missed Pena's glove, and bounced off of Beckham who scrambled safely to second. He scored easily on a Youkilis single that squirted through a shifted right side.
The third run came after a leadoff double by Rios in the sixth inning. Hellickson coaxed a flyout that moved Rios to third, but then got Viciedo to K. This seemed like a big K, but it proved to be moot when Ramirez fisted an inside fastball to left to plate Rios. It wasn't a bad pitch, but it was an identical location to the previous couple and Ramirez just got enough to get it out of the infield.
But, it was just... It was nothing. Nothing doing. After a helluva stretch of the Rays firing on all cylinders, the offense pulled a '2012 Rays Offense' and the starter wasn't perfect enough to get the job done.
And for those of you scoreboard watching:
Fire Sale, anyone?