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Rinse and Repeat: Price Pitches Well, Rays Offense Doesn't Help

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ST. PETERSBURG, FL - JULY 20:  Pitcher David Price #14 of the Tampa Bay Rays starts against the New York Yankees July 20, 2011 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. The Rays won 3 - 2. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
ST. PETERSBURG, FL - JULY 20: Pitcher David Price #14 of the Tampa Bay Rays starts against the New York Yankees July 20, 2011 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. The Rays won 3 - 2. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
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This formula is getting old really fast: (Rays starter) pitches well, but the offense is unable to help. Sigh.

To say David Price pitched well last night might seem a bit weird -- he did allow three runs in 6.2 innings -- but for the most part, that's exactly what he did. He held the game close and only allowed a handful of runs on the night, and he no-hit the Blue Jays for the first 3+ innings of the game. His problem seemed to be that he was too reliant on his fastball; he threw his four- and two-seam fastballs 87% of the time last night, only mixing in 14 breaking balls in total.

While Price was able to get the Blue Jays to whiff and induce weak on his fastball, it was easy for the Blue Jays hitters to sit fastball and square up on occasion. That's exactly what Jose Bautista and Yunel Escobar did on their homeruns, and I wouldn't be surprised if that's why Rajai Davis was able to hit the double that scored the Blue Jays' third run. Price may have an overpowering fastball, but if it's all he's throwing and the batters are able to time it, it becomes an easier pitch to hit.

As for the Rays' offense, there's really not much to say. They didn't get their first hit of the game until Desmond Jennings hit a lead-off opposite-field homerun in the sixth inning, and they didn't get another hit until Casey Kotchman blopped a single into short left field in the ninth inning.

But the most painful part was watching the offense hand the Blue Jays the game in the second inning. The Rays had Ricky Romera on the ropes, as he'd loaded the bases with a walk, hit by pitch, and another walk. There were no outs, but the Rays still managed to get out of the inning without scoring a run. Matt Joyce and Kelly Shoppach struck out, and then Sean Rodriguez grounded out to end the threat. Talk about a facepalm inducing inning.

Game Notes:

  • As Staats and Anderson pointed out, the Rays have loaded the bases with no outs 7 times over the last month. You know how many times they have actually scored in these situations? Once.
  • In his last three times on the mound, David Price has only received two runs of run support. His record has now dropped to 9-10 as a result, showcasing how he's obviously a horrible pitcher.
  • It was good to see Juan Cruz get back into a game and strike out the two batters he faced. He had hit a groove by the time he got injured and was one of the Rays' better relievers, so here's hoping he can pick up where he left off.