I don't have a ton to say about the game tonight. You all saw it, you all pretty much know what the problems are. I had been planning a sort of rock opera where each act would correspond to each inning, but the only play that really speaks to me for tonight is "Death of a Salesman," and not just because of the terrible news about Don Zimmer, RIP.
Take a look at the past eight (now nine) losses and you'll notice that they all have quite a bit in common. Someone (I want to say it was Maddon) said that what wins games are pitching, defense, and timely hitting. All three equal a win, but you can sometimes win with two. Tonight, the Rays had nothing. The pitching was spotty, the defense was game-breaking, and the hitting was maddeningly inconsistent.
This was arguably the best part of the night for the Rays, depending on how much faith you put into box scores. David Price went 7.1 innings, and allowed 9 hits, 11 strikeouts, and 1 earned run. Unfortunately, the scorekeepers don't really care if most of the runs you give up are unearned. They'll count all the same. In the first inning, Price struck out the first two batters but gave up a double to Giancarlo Stanton and a single to Casey McGehee. Marlins up 1-0. In the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad third inning, Price gave up four runs, none of which were earned, and these would be enough to put the Marlins over the top.
Other than these two innings, Price pitched pretty well. Giving up a third-inning single to Jeff Mathis, he retired the last 14 he faced, before allowing an eighth (!) inning single to Marcell Ozuna and was pulled by Joe Maddon for Brad Boxberger. He and Juan Carlos Oviedo closed out the game and added three more strikeouts to give the Marlins 14 total strikeouts.
That third inning. Oh God, that inning.
Price got the second out of the inning on a comebacker to the pitcher's mound that cut down Ed Lucas. With two outs and runners on second and third, Evan Longoria booted a ball and allowed a second run to score. It was ruled an error and an unearned run.On the next pitch, Price gave up a three-run homer to Donovan Solano, who had hit five home runs in his major league career up to that point. Yeesh. None of those four runs were earned, but they still happened, and the Rays would be in a hole that they couldn't crawl out of.
In the first, the Rays seemed destined for a good game, finally. Back-to-back home runs by Zobrist and Longoria put the Rays up 3-1 early, and opposing pitcher Tom Koehler seemed shaky. But that would be much of the action for the night. Except for the eighth, the Rays either stranded a runner or hit into a double play. In the ninth inning, a double by Kiermaier (who I am really excited to see more of) off of Steve Cishek put runners on second and third with no outs. Then Jose Molina walked, which I thought was some kind of wonderful, wonderful cosmic sign. DeJesus grounded out to score a runner, and Zobrist grounded out to first. The Marlins walked Longoria to bring up Late-Inning Lightning Loney, but he popped out to end the game. Rays lose 5-4.
Like I said, I'm finding it harder and harder to find anything different or unique about the last week of losses. The unholy trinity of unfortunate starting pitching performances, cruddy defense, and impotent hitting showed up again, which has rapidly been becoming the Rays Way of late. The Rays try to salvage a win in the Citrus Series tomorrow, when Jake Odorizzi faces off against Jacob Turner.