Earlier this year, we might have called this a gimme game considering rookie Ivan Nova had yet to show the control necessary to pitch in the majors. Well, since his return to the majors after an early July demotion, he's wrangled his walks under control and been arguably the second best pitcher on the Yankees staff.
That being said, the Rays should not have been shut out tonight. They had a combined 10 different base runners, but Nova had the ground ball working, coaxing 12 ground balls and leaving the Rays with an unfortunate .231 BABIP.
In all fairness, though, the Yankees had a whopping 22 base runners to the Rays' 10. Not only that, they had 4 double to the Rays' 1. The fact that the Yankees scored only 5 runs is mind bottling.
- Wade Davis pitched a stinker. He went 4 and 2/3 innings, walking 5, hitting 1 batter, throwing a wild pitch, and striking out only 2. For a while, it appeared he was not going to escape event the second inning, wherein he allowed a bases-loaded double to Curtis Granderson.
- Offensively, we can talk about only Sean Rodriguez (2 for 3, all singles), Casey "One Base at a Time" Kotchman (1 for 2, with 2 walks), and B.J. Upton (1 for 4 with a double) -- but only briefly, because the plate discipline sucked tonight, and home plate umpire Wally Bell was clearly just doing his own thing out there (see below the fold).
- The Red Sox somehow found a way to not only lose today, but burn 7 pitchers in the process. Hopefully the Rays can play much better tomorrow because the Tommy Hunter-Josh Beckett match up certainly doesn't favor the Orioles.
Here are the dandy little strike zones Bell gave Davis and Nova:
Long story short: Nova did not have great control. The Rays should have killed him tonight.
However, Davis appeared to be struggling with his release point or something because he kept missing in the same, wide, arm-side little zone (that cluster of green on the far left). Bell's crappy zone didn't help either.