The Rays Tank: A lead upheld, Happ OK

J. Meric

Pitching allowed the Rays' offense to get a solid lead, and keep it; and discussion sparked again concerning protective gear for pitchers.

Last night the bullpen allowed the Rays' 10 runs to be enough, as they beat the Blue Jays 10-4, giving Joe Maddon his 600th win with the team and Matt Moore his sixth win on the season. Steve provided a thorough postgame recap, noting that Matt Moore's performance wasn't his best, recognizing James Loney's current helm as the AL batting leader, and giving some credit to Jamey Wright and Cesar Ramos for their effective bullpen relief.

Tonight David Price and R.A. Dickey face off, only the third time two reigning Cy Young winners have started against one another. Price is 1-3 on the year with a 6.25 ERA and Dickey is 2-5 with a 5.36 ERA -- neither are looking very Cy-Young-like thus far.

Last reigning Cy matchup? Tom Glavine vs. Roger Clemens on July 15, 1999, with Glavine and the Braves beating Clemens and the Yankees 6-2.

***

J.A. Happ update: CT scans showed no concussion or issue with his brain or neck; he suffered a small skull fracture behind his left ear, the cause of the blood on the field. Happ required stitches and his only other concern was his knee, which he tweaked in his fall to the mound.

With another pitcher struck in the head, discussions stirred yet again concerning protective gear for pitchers.

Brandon McCarthy, who was hit last September, voiced his opinion on the matter via Twitter yesterday:

In March, McCarthy discussed protective headgear for pitchers on Outside the Lines, revealing that he had tried a cricket helmet as a possibility:

"I purchased a couple of cricket helmets on my own to see if I could make something out of it, if it was something that worked," he said. "I actually feel like even with the face mask and all, I could get used to that quicker than I could with a half-shell [hard] helmet [like first- and third-base coaches and some catchers wear]."

During this past offseason, MLB tested four possible prototypes for protective headgear for pitchers, but felt that none were "sufficiently effective against baseballs traveling at velocities that can exceed 100 mph." MLB Vice President Dan Halem was cited as saying that "the frequency of a pitcher getting hit in the head by a batted ball is but once in every 250,000 pitches" and that MLB is hesitant to release a product until they are full confident.

Thoughts on protective gear for pitchers? If they seek the input of pitchers themselves, especially concerning their peripheral vision and comfort wearing it while pitching, I'll be interested to see what happens. Hopefully, it doesn't take another stomach churning incident like Happ's to ignite the conversation again.

Links:

- The Human Element strikes again. This time, an apparent game-tying home run cost the A's a loss against the Indians. Mind you, with replay.

- Jon Heyman assessed potential starting pitcher trades and ranked them from most likely to least likely; Price placed at 13 out of 21.

- "The Rays pitching staff isn't pitching like a typical Rays pitching staff" in case you didn't know.

- Everyone loves Matt Harvey. And they have very good reason to.

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