"To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering."
When the Cleveland Indians got up by 3 runs in the third inning, the game felt ever over. The Rays had scored 4 or more runs in only 45 of their 89 games entering play on Monday. If that trend held, they had only a 50% chance of winning this game, assuming they could hold the Indians -- who had just run Alex Cobb from the game in the 4th inning -- at just three runs.
So when the Rays managed to make a game of it -- nearly scoring three runs themselves -- it was a delightful, painful surprise. And they scored their two runs in typical Rays fashion -- a comeback line drive that nailed the Indians' pitcher and a solo home run from one of the team's most ice-cold players. The two most walkest teams in the league also continued to walk (they drew 6 walks to the Indians' 8), but the Rays never put together enough for a comeback.
The Rays are now 46-44, just 2 games above .500. Before the season, I felt the Rays could make the playoffs for sure at 10 games above .500 -- and there is still plenty of time for that.
Notes from the game:
- The bullpen pitched 6.0 scoreless innings, striking out 7 and walking 3. Well done, friends.
- Cobb has now allowed 9 of 10 base thieves to succeed this season.
- Did I mention Cobb was a wreck? He threw 86 pitches -- 43 balls, 43 strikes.
- Of the Rays' 11 strikeouts, 6 were looking. Yuk.
- Howell closed out the 4th inning -- bases loaded with 1 out -- in Ice Man fashion: weak popper to Elliot Johnson, then a strikeout on a check swing.
- In the bottom of the 4th, Jeff Keppinger blasted Zach McAllister with a comebacker, plating the Rays' first run. McAllister finished the inning, and the next two, allowing only 1 ER in 6.0 IP.
- Top of the 6th, Elliot robbed Casey Kotchman of a single, diving into the outfield grass and throwing a laser-guided rocket to Carlos Pena.
- Jose Molina and Joel Peralta paired up for a beautiful strike-'em-out, throw-'em-out double play in the top of the 7th. Molina is catching fire with his arm, which is good. Unfortunately, he also allowed the first run of the game on a passed ball, which stings especially hard given the final score.
- Desmond Jennings homered. At this point, it feels like the team's cold players will never get hot, and their hot players will never get healthy. But who knows?
- The Yankees and Red Sox both won today, but they still have to shovel snow in the winters.