I'll admit: My heart went out to Tyler Chatwood in the first inning. Here's this 21-year-old pitcher, not missing his spots, but getting the early 2011 Tampa Bay Rays Treatment -- I'm talking bloop hits, near misses, and ~.900 BABIP against. After Felipe Lopez served a changeup into left field, I could swear Vernon Wells face said: "What else can we possibly do?"
Pity quickly turned to frustration as the Rays found themselves shut down by Chatwood for the following three innings, and then a combo of Angels kept them off the scoreboard. In total, Chatwood allowed 5 earned runs in 4 innings, and his counterpart, rookie Alex Cobb, could not hold his early lead. Cobb, making his major league debut, did not exhibit excellent control, walking 4 batters, allowing a homer to Hank Conger, and leaving in the 5th inning with runners on base.
Andy Sonnanstine couldn't hold off the runners and the Angels eventually tied the game. Then, in the top of the 8th, Torii Hunter led off with a screaming double, moved to 3rd on a wild pitch, and then came home on a weak grounder to Ben Zobrist. Since the ball had been so softly hit, Ben could not make the traditional double play, but instead caught Vernon Wells in a rundown. Wells wisely back-pedaled (when most runners stop dead), giving Hunter enough time to score.
Jordon Walden then arrived to close the game with some 98 mph heat. The Rays (15-13) are still just 2.5 games back from the Yankees, and have an off-day today.
Thoughts from the game and the evening:
- Matt Joyce went 3 for 3, and B.J. Upton went 2 for 4 with a double -- and a steal for both hitters. If these guys can hit well in the coming months, we could see a fearsome Rays offense whence Evan Longoria returns.
- Not a great night for the bullpen. Juan Cruz and Kyle Farnsworth did their duties seamlessly, but Sonny and Joel Peralta (1-1) produce some meltdown-type performances. In total, the bullpen will be tabbed for only 2 earned runs on a night where they pitched 4.2 innings -- which is not bad, but not enough tonight.
- In an electronic mail, Erik Hahmann noted: "...Maddon [let] Kotchman and Jaso face Downs. DanJo should have hit for Kotch. Even though Jaso got a hit the next inning it wasn't the right move. Rare bad managing by Maddon." Debate at your pleasure.
- The big news of the night was not about the Rays, however. For those who don't know, a task force of Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden last night in Pakistan.
For many, this event may be cathartic, emotional, or simply incomprehensible, and we fully appreciate that. However, in the comments today, I would like to encourage DRB users to share their feelings and emotions on the matter, but keep in mind our strict policy against political discussions. Also, I encourage any and most world-events discussions to take plate in the Off-Topic Thread of the Day (OTTOTD), so as to better focus the discussions in general (and to lessen your chances of a politca-ban).