The Rays Tank: Bullpen Meltdown

Stephen Dunn

The Rays had a six run lead...and it's gone!

It certainly seemed like James Loney enjoyed his return to Los Angeles as he went 3 for 4 with two RBI’s on the night in the Rays 7-6 loss to the Dodgers. Loney was welcomed back with a video tribute from the Dodgers and applause from the fans.

Unfortunately, the excitement of that moment was long forgotten by the time the eighth and ninth innings rolled around. Going into the eighth inning, the Rays held a 6-1 lead. Enter the Rays bullpen. Jake McGee allows a leadoff walk to Mark Ellis, retires Nick Punto on a swinging strikeout, and then gets Adrian Gonzales to ground out while Ellis advances to second. So two outs and a runner on second. Josh Lueke then enters the game, just recalled from Durham, and immediately gives up a ground rule double to Yasiel Puig and then walks the next batter. He would head to the bench as Peralta took over on the mound. On a 3-2 count, Joel threw a fastball to Juan Uribe who singled to right field, scoring Puig. Carl Crawford would pinch hit next and fly out to shortstop.

So now it’s 6-3 heading into the ninth. Some insurance runs would be nice after that disaster of an inning, and it looked like the Rays might get some after Ryan Roberts singled to lead off the inning and Longo followed with a walk. Wil Myers struck out swinging, Ben Zobrist advanced the runners on a ground out to first and then Yunel Escobar left the runners stranded in scoring position as he grounded out to third.

In comes Fernando Rodney to close out the game. Coming off a blown save in Arizona on Wednesday, Rodney immediately gave up a leadoff single to Skip Schumaker, the Dodgers number eight hitter. Dee Gordon would strike out swinging and then it was back to back to back extra-base hits allowed, tying the game up at 6-6. Yasiel Puig would be walked to put runners on first and second and then Jerry Hairston Jr. hit a comebacker right to Fernando, which should have been an easy double play. Instead, Rodney winds up throwing the ball into right field and that would be the ball game. This was a league-leading seventh blown save of the season for Fernando Rodney. (Jim Johnson also blew his seventh save of the season last night, although the Orioles came back to win 5-2 over the Giants.)

The Rays left nine men on base last night and were only 5-18 with runners in scoring position. The offense did their job early, knocking Chris Capuano out of the game in the fifth inning after he had given up five earned runs. However, the Rays could not capitalize on other scoring opportunities and that was also a contributing factor to this heartbreaking loss.

Today, the Rays will send Roberto Hernandez to the mound against Zack Greinke at 4:05 PM EST.

In happier news, Alex Cobb made his third rehab start for the Charlotte Stone Crabs last night and feels ready to return to the Rays rotation. http://www.foxsportsflorida.com/mlb/tampa-bay-rays/story/Rays-Alex-Cobb-started-with-Charlotte-St?blockID=928051&feedID=3688 Per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, Matt Moore played catch at 100 ft yesterday and will throw off of a mound on Sunday. Also, Chris Archer was examined by Ron Porterfield and both Maddon and Archer were optimistic that Chris will make his next scheduled start on Tuesday.

Shown below is the goody bag for Astro, from the Dodgers, that was awaiting David Price in the clubhouse yesterday. What a nice gesture!

Links:

-Evan Longoria talked with Jimmy Traina of SI’s Hotclicks podcast about fatherhood, PED’s, the Rays’ hot streak and attendance lately, and food.

-Hillsborough officials held their first meeting yesterday to discuss the Rays stadium issue. Tampa Mayor, Bob Buckhorn, told the Tampa Bay Times, "this is the first step in a very, very, very long journey. This will be complicated. This will be expensive. But this is worth the effort." -Richard Justice of MLB.com wrote about the stadium saga and mentions that the Rays have been the best-run franchise in MLB for the past six seasons.

-Albert Pujols announced that he will take legal action against former Cardinals player Jack Clark, after Clark made accusations that Pujols had used PED’s during his career.

-Eno Sarris of FanGraphs talked with Jonathan Lucroy about ‘receiving’ pitches.

-Adam Wainwright sings karaoke to "Achy Breaky Heart".

-Jimmy Fallon created some walk-up songs for Derek Jeter.

-The High Desert Mavericks, Class A Advanced Affiliates of the Seattle Mariners, scored 30 runs last night on 30 hits.

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