Matt Joyce and The Tampa Bay Rays atoned for their opening day letdown by playing one of the most exciting games in recent memory, Wednesday night. The 8-7 win over the Baltimore Orioles evened the series at 1-1 and in the process broke a number of lengthy narratives.
Fernando Rodney, perfect since last August, was scored on and blew a save. The Rays rallied from 4 runs down at home for the first time since game 162, 2011. In 2012, the Rays only won twice when allowing 6 runs. The Orioles, dazzling in 1-run ballgames in 2012, lost their first such affair in 2013. They also had not been suffered a walk-off defeat since 2011. If it wasn't clear before Wednesday, it is now evident that this is a whole new season.
Continuing the trend of firsts, the Rays will send Roberto Hernandez to the mound for today's 3:10 start, triggering a series of crazy game notes: From Mark Topkin, Hernandez is just the 16th different starting pitcher used by the Rays since 2008, 4 fewer than any other team in baseball; It also breaks a streak of 1,207 consecutive games started by non-free agent pitchers; in addition, the Rays streak of starting 1,060 games by a pitcher under 31 will end.
Rays: Jennings CF, Joyce LF, Zobrist RF, Longoria 3B, Duncan DH, Escobar SS, Loney 1B, Molina C, Roberts 2B
Orioles: McLouth LF, Machado 3B, Markakis RF, Jones CF, Davis 1B, Wieters C, Hardy SS, Flaherty DH, Roberts 2B
Roberto Hernandez (0-3, 7.53 ERA, 7.28 FIP) vs. Miguel Gonzalez (9-4, 3.25 ERA 4.38FIP)