When Bryan Bullington tosses eight innings of shutout ball at the Yankees, you know it's going to be a good day.
The third edition of Helloween was just as successful and enjoyable to watch as the first two. Jeremy Hellickson dazzled again, working six innings while allowing just three hits, one run, one walk, and striking out five. The rookie hasn't allowed more than three hits in any of his three starts. The only hard hit ball was a Luke Scott double in the second inning. Hellickson didn't have his best fastball today, throwing 50 and only getting 28 strikes. Instead, he'd rely heavily on his changeup. The pitch, undoubtedly his best offering, was killer. He used it 30 times and registered 21 strikes, six of them swinging (20%). His curveball was also pretty effective, getting a strike 11 of 17 times.
The way Hellickson changes speeds on his pitches is a fantastic sight to see. Looking at the chart below you can see that he was relying on his faster pitches early on, then changed to a lot more breaking and off speed pitches as the game progressed.
He's been so impressive; just what the Rays needed when Niemann and Davis went down with injuries. Even though he likely has only one or two more starts left before those two come off the DL, I have to imagine Maddon will find a place for him in the bullpen if the Rays advance to October.
While the offense didn't put up a display like last night, it was very nice to see Carl Crawford and Ben Zobrist get involved. The two have been struggling mightily since the All-Star break, so any indication of life in their bats is welcomed. Crawford's bat was more lively than Zobrist's, going 3-4 with a home run and go ahead single. His OPS is just .521 since the break. The Rays need him to get going if they're going to make any type of noise. Zobrist didn't have a hit, but he did walk three times. Like Crawford, the Rays need Zobrist to keep getting on base down the stretch to set the table for Longoria and Pena.
- Dan Johnson is hitting just .111 but as R.J. Anderson points out his OBP is over .400 and his BABiP is .105. He's doing just fine.
- It seems like every day Matt Joyce does something awesome. Today's awesomness manifested itself in the form of an RBI double that turned out to be deciding run. Keep it up, sweet Ulysses.
- Yankees lose. Rays win. Today was a good day.
Ice Cube - It Was A Good Day (Explicit) (via emimusic)