Tonight's 10-6 loss to the Orioles wraps up a road trip in which the Rays went 2-7 and played some of the worst baseball I've seen from them over the past five seasons. Writing a detailed recap would only anger me further, so lets just hit the major points from tonight's game.
I'm writing this before hearing Maddon's explanation, but taking out David Price after just 86 pitches through six innings is odd. Yes, Price got hit with a line drive and Baltimore squared up some pitches on the night, but he hadn't talked a soul and thrown just 16 balls. It's possible he was gassed and he certainly hasn't been himself yet this season, but it was disheartening to see Jake McGee come in and give up a go-ahead home run to the first batter he sees. Every batter gets their moment at some point in the season, this was likely Steve Pearce's.
People love to live in the land of hindsight and the Maddon haters will have plenty to rant on tomorrow. After removing Jamey Wright after a leadoff single in the top of the 10th, Maddon brought in Brandon Gomes. You know the rest of the story -- Gomes threw 4 pitches and the Orioles collected four hits and a walk off victory. The ball Adam Jones hit should have been caught by Zobrist. I'm sure he'll even tell you that. He ran back on the ball and took a peek at the wall before pulling up as the ball landed on the warning track. Jones should have been out anyway, as he failed to re-touch second base on his way back to first.
The pitchers may not have executed perfectly but the defense didn't do them any favors. Matt Joyce missed a foul ball in the second inning and made a poor throw as Wieters doubled later in the at bat. Yunel Escobar fumbled the exchange on a would be double play in the same inning, getting one out instead of two. The next batter fly out to left which would have ended the inning. Instead, Nolan Reimold came to the plate and hit a game tying home run.
The offense was better once again. They hit four home runs, though they were all solo. Evan Longoria has three homers in his last four games. Kelly Johnson's power stroke is coming around. Hell, even James Loney has looked good. If the Rays score 16 runs in every three game series, like they did in this one, they're likely to win many more than they lose.
It's an extremely frustrating loss in what has been an extremely frustrating start to the season. Hopefully as the season progresses the offense and pitching will come together to work as a cohesive unit. The Oakland A's come to town this weekend as the Rays' tough April continues. They're 12-4 and own the best run differential in the American League (+33).