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Game Report: Wednesday, June 28th at Florida

RAYS 3, Florida 1

[Fan Graphs]

Casey Fossum combined with three relievers to shut down Florida as Tampa Bay edged the Marlins, 3-1, to avoid the sweep in the finale of a three-game interleague series at Dolphin Stadium. Julio Lugo was 3-for-3 with two runs scored for the Devil Rays, who snapped a three-game skid. Jorge Cantu and Ty Wigginton each drove in a run for Tampa Bay. Fossum (3-3) went five innings and allowed just one run on three hits. Jae Seo, Shawn Camp and Brian Meadows then closed the game with four innings of scoreless relief. Meadows picked up his third save. The Marlins' pitcher, Scott Olsen, drove in the only run for the team. Wes Helms was 2-of-3 with a run scored, while Josh Willingham and Jeremy Hermida each had a hit in the game Olsen (6-4) hurled six innings for Florida, who lost for the first time in four games. The lefty was the hard luck loser after throwing six innings and surrendering just two unearned runs on four hits. The Devil Rays jumped on top in the first inning thanks to some shoddy fielding by Willingham. Lugo singled to leadoff the game and scored a batter later when Willingham seemed to lose Cantu's fly ball in the lights. After Willingham corralled the ball, he threw it away while trying to gun down Cantu at third. Wigginton then came through with a two-out RBI single to make it 2-0. The Marlins cut the lead in half in the second on Olsen's two-out RBI single. Tampa Bay got that run back with three consecutive singles off Matt Herges in the seventh. Lugo grounded a base hit to right, moved to second on Rocco Baldelli's single and scored when Cantu smacked another hit to center. Game Notes The Marlins had won eight straight at home...Fossum is 1-2 in five career starts against the Marlins...Florida is 94-69 all-time in interleague play, while the Devil Rays are just 66-90 against the National League.

[The Herald News]
W: Fossum (3-3)
L: Olsen (6-4)
S: Meadows (3)

How I Stacked Up

Here's what the '3 Up, 3 Down' you see on the sidebar (based strictly on my opinion) would have looked like had I gone with Win Probability...

3 Up
2B Jorge Cantu: 22.6 WPA
SP Casey Fossum: 21.8 WPA
RP Jae Seo: 17.9 WPA
SS Julio Lugo: 12.9 WPA
RP Shawn Camp: 9.7 WPA

3 Down
CF Rocco Baldelli: -12.1 WPA
3B Aubrey Huff: -8.0 WPA
LF Damon Hollins: -7.6 WPA
1B-RF Ty Wigginton: -4.0 WPA

My Thoughts

Well, despite five walks from Casey Fossum, and just as many errors as runs scored in the game, the Rays were able to squeeze by the Marlins despite their lowest run output of the series.

Casey Fossum continued to struggle with his control, but was able to pitch out of the problems that he helped to create, which totaled up five walks and three hits. He struck out just two. Fossum's control problems continued, and these problems have contributed to a rather poor season from him. He has walked 35 and struck out just 29 this season. He has also struggled with the long ball this season as well, and opponents are hitting .275 off of him. Yet despite an outing comparable to others this season in which he has given up many more runs, Fossum was able to limit his damage and give up just one run over five innings, and that was enough to keep the Rays in the game.

Jae Seo got some work out of the bullpen which I saw part of. He pitched two full innings and walked two, while giving up a double, yet like Fossum, was able to pitch out of his messes. He didn't impress me, but it was only two innings, and it was mainly designed to just give him work, since his next start isn't until Sunday and he hadn't pitched since Friday with the Dodgers.

Shawn Camp was the only pitcher on the night to really be sound across the board, not allowing any baserunners in his inning of work, and Brian Meadows was able to keep up the illusion of being a good closer by saving the ballgame in the ninth. I would rant about Maddon continuing to foolishly use him as a closer, but with Tyler Walker due back soon, I am not that concerned.

The offense also came through tonight, although it scored all of one run past the first inning. Julio Lugo reached base five times, three of them on hits, and is hitting a very impressive .299/.365/.488 on the season. Now tell me that does not look appealing to a playoff contender.

Also, Jorge Cantu broke out of his recent double play and poor performance funk, going 2 for 3 on the night to help the offense, while Aubrey Huff also managed two hits, though neither involved a run. The rest of the offense managed three hits, though new addition Dioner Navarro did impress by walking twice and blocking the plate to prevent a Florida run from scoring.

Overall, this was not a well-played game. Fossum succeeded in spite of himself, succeeding at one point because the Rays were able to get a double play on an infield fly, Seo allowed a double and a walk, and still got out of an inning, while Meadows continued to keep up the mirage. Further, only two players on the offense really mattered at all. The performance in this game did not impress me, it just seemed like the Marlins played like the real team that they are and we got lucky. However, obviously, I will take it. The Rays won in South Florida for the first time in two years, and the Rays won the season series for just the third time in team history. But if we do keep playing like this, don't expect many wins. Luck had a lot to do with the Rays breaking a three game slide, and it could have been easily grown to four.

About Last Night...
Fan Graphs
St. Petersburg Times
The Tampa Tribune