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Rays Rough Up Roy Halladay In Ring Of Fire Opener; Crawford Day to Day

  • Somethings don't make sense. For instance, Scott Feldman's line against the Rays yesterday: 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 11 K. And Roy Halladay's line tonight against the Rays: 6 IP, 12 H, 8 R, 1 BB, 8 K.
  • The Rays handed Jeff Niemann a 3-0 lead after one only to see Niemann give it all back plus one on a Rod Barajas grand slam. After Niemann got a six pitch first inning, his second inning went like this: single, walk, single, grand slam, walk, single, run scoring fielder's choice, single, walk, double play. At the end of three it was 6-3 Jays and they still had to face Roy Halladay. Some how, some way, the Rays offense continued to hit Halladay hard and tied the game back at six. Carlos Pena would go deep against Halladay in the fifth to put the Rays up for good at 8-6. For those keeping track, Pena now has 35 home runs to go with 35 singles.
  • It should come as no surprise that the offense came to Niemann's defense; they've done it all season. Coming into today's game the Rays offense averaged 6.68/9 for Niemann in the game; the best in the American League for a starter.
  • Niemann was two different starters today. In the first three innings he allowed six runs on seven hits, three walks and used 65 pitches. Over the final 3.1 innings, he used just 39 pitches allowing just one hit and no walks. Take a look at the two graphs. The first is from innings 1-3, notice all the pitches between 2.5-3.5 FT. Now look at the plot for innings 4+. You'll see more pitches below the "belt" or under 2.5 FT.
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  • The Rays did most of their damage thanks to the 4-7 spots in the lineup. Ben Zobrist, Pena, Pat Burrell and Gregg Zaun went a combined 8-16 with two home runs, a double and nine RBI. Every Rays starter had a hit except Carl Crawford, who exited the game early with lower back tightness. The Rays do not expect CC to play tomorrow which means the three man bench is now down to just two, and one of those is a back up catcher. Again, why do we have eight relief pitchers?
  • Because of the short bench, the Rays had to make a few defense adjustments. Ben Zobrist started the game at second base, but then moved to left field to replace Crawford. This forced Joe Maddon to use Willy Aybar at second base. Later on in the game, the Rays replaced Aybar and moved Zobrist back to second base and Gabe Kapler into left field. It didn't seem to bother Zobrist at all as he went 3-4 with his 23rd home run and 18th double.