The offense the Rays showed over the past three games was abruptly shut down Saturday night. Brandon McCarthy dominated the Rays lineup finishing with a line of 8IP, 5H, 0R, 0ER, 0BB, 5K and 109 pitches. It shouldn't be a surprise that McCarthy, a predominate ground ball pitcher, had success against the Rays. Coming into tonight's game the Rays were hitting an American League worst .218 with a .653 OPS against ground ballers this season. McCarthy actually racked up more fly balls than ground balls, but that didn't help the Rays. He kept the Rays off balance all night, throwing four different pitches (at least according to Brooks Baseball) and none more than 32 times. The Rays only managed to get men in scoring position twice against McCarthy, obviously not coming away successful either time. They've now been shut out in 13% of their home games.
As for McCarthy's opponent, Alex Cobb wasn't his usual self. After the game we'd learn that he felt some discomfort in his throwing hand and went to the hospital after the game to run some tests. Hopefully, for his sake and the Rays', it's nothing serious. He lasted only 4.1 innings, giving up four runs, walking four, and striking out four. The 23% swinging strike rate he recorded with his changeup would be the highlight of his night. His fastball registered just 51% strikes, and of the 93 pitches he threw only 51 went for strikes. That's what the French call "not good".
The biggest storyline to take away from the game was how easily the A's abused the battery of Cobb and Robinson Chirinos. They stole six bases off of the duo, with four coming from Crisp alone. I know blame usually gets put on the catcher in those situations but I'm not sure what more Chirinos could have done. Cobb was clocked at 1.34 to over 1.40 seconds to the plate; very slow for any pitcher. When that's happening it's tough for even the best throwing catchers to catch many base stealers. The seven total steals for the A's were the most every for a Rays' opponent.
Hopefully David Price can make up for tonight's utterly forgettable game tomorrow afternoon.
Below are some post game comments from Joe Maddon: