Last night's game was fairly annoying. Roberto Hernandez didn't pitch great, but he kept it close. The Rays could only muster two solo home runs against Jon Lester, though, and Kyle Farnsworth and some bad defense combined to put the game out of reach. You can read the full recap here. Maddon put the loss on the hitting, rather than on Farnsworth and the gloves of Escobar, Longoria, and Molina.
We have to do a better job vs. their pitchers. Lester was good. He was a strike thrower tonight.— Joe Maddon (@RaysJoeMaddon) July 24, 2013
Further bringing down the mood of the evening, Alex Cobb was pulled from his rehab start in Port Charlotte after just two pitches with a blister on his right index finger, according to Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times. Cobb hopes it will heel quickly, and allow him to make another attempt at a start this weekend or early next week. I imagine that when he returns he'll have increased velocity, as he seems to have developed a blistering fastball.
Stuart Sternberg was interviewed on the broadcast, and he announced that for the July 31 home game, children's tickets will be $2 (up to three children per one adult) and parking will be free. Oh to be back home and a ten year old with a car again.
In the biggest piece of AL East news, the Orioles sent high-A infielder Nick Delmonico to Milwaukee in return for reliever Francisco Rodriguez. Ranked as the Orioles number six prospect by Marc Hulet going into this year, Delmonico's bat has some potential, but there are questions about his defense (Mike Newman) and about his ability to stick at second base, where the Orioles were currently playing him.
As for K-Rod, he's pitched a lot better in recent years than people realize. Big name relievers who receive too-large contracts and have to spend time on the disabled list tend to develop a poor reputation, but it doesn't mean he can't pitch. Rodriguez has never been a control artist, so his 3.28 BB/9 this year isn't out of the ordinary, and he's still striking out over a batter an inning. His Steamer RoS projection of a 3.47 ERA is the third best of current Orioles bullpen options, behind only Jim Johnson and Darren O'Day. It's a good pickup for a team hoping to make a playoff push.
Finally, Greg Simons at The Hardball Times constructed a team made entirely of active players who have two first names. Luke Scott wins this important DH honor by default, and Fernando Rodney and Matt Joyce both made honorable mention at their respective positions, losing out to Joe Nathan and Torii Hunter.