Alas, they did not, going 0-for-7 last night with RISP and stranding a runner at third base nine times in the series. That surprisingly impressive offense this year? Shut down by the Red Sox, hitting a measly .141 (12-for-85) with RISP vs. Boston on the season, and a sad .092 in the seven losses. They only managed one run last night, after scoring seven plus runs in a club record four straight games.
In the last 12 games, starting pitching has failed to pitch five innings five times. In the last 31 games, since May 10th, starting pitching has failed to pitch five innings 10 times. In the first 34 games of the season, all starters worked at least five innings, which was the second-longest streak to begin a season since records were first available, only falling behind the 1981 Pirates, who managed to do so in their first 45 games. I'm somewhat convinced that some Yankees or Red Sox fan has a set of Rays starting pitching voodoo dolls and are vexing us in their basement as I type this.
Since that was so depressing, let me share some positive stats:
- The Rays hit nine home runs against the Red Sox, tying a club record for number of homers over a three game series. The other was earlier this season, against the Orioles (April 16th-18th).
- Despite the short outings by starting pitching, the pitching staff has recorded 22 double-digit strikeout games in 65 games this season. In the first 65 games last year, they'd recorded 21 -- ahead of pace from last year when they set a major league record with 61 double-digit strikeout games.
- Evan Longoria hit a home run in all three games of the series, the first time in his career he's ever homered in every single game of a three-game set. Since June 2nd, he's hitting .317 (13-for-41) with a .378 OBP and seven XBH: two doubles, one triple and four home runs.
- Ben Zobrist is currently on a nine-game hitting streak, his longest since an 11-game streak July 21st-31st, 2011. Over the past 10 games, he's hitting .429 (15-for-35) with a .500 OBP.
- Alex Torres. I could just leave it at that, but he hasn't allowed a run in 14.1 innings pitched this season. In franchise history, that's tied for the second longest scoreless streak to begin a season by a reliever. Dom-i-nance.
Currently five games back in the AL East, tonight the Rays open the final series on this homestand against the Royals. They then head on the road to face Boston and New York...let's hope for a sweep these next four days.
- Yesterday the Rays announced they've officially signed six-of-their-41 Draft picks, the most prominent being their second-round switch-hitting shortstop, Riley Unroe. Check out Scott's take on Unroe in his review of position players the Rays took in the Draft. Unroe was pretty excited, tweeting the following:
- Jay Jaffe provided his take on #FreeWily.
- Japanese officials admitted yesterday that they tampered with baseballs in the NPB this season to up the offense and "make the game more exciting." Oh, okay.