I tried to warn you.
I told you this would happen.
As soon as I saw that I was assigned to recap today's game, I knew it would end in frustration. It's no fun being a prophet.
Alex Cobb was outstanding today. An ace in every sense of the word. His beastly final line of 6 innings, 6 strikeouts and 6 hits would somehow bedevil the Rays offense, who looked marked for failure from the start.
The game remained scoreless until the 5th, when Curt Casali doubled a Travis Wood fastball to left field for his first major league extra base hit, and was then knocked in on a strange Desmond Jennings single paired with a Javier Baez throwing error. Deezy hit a soft grounder that Baez barehanded, but threw way offline allowing the runners to advance and Casali to score. We'll take them how we can get them. 1-0 Rays.
Javier Baez would immediately dig himself out of the doghouse in the bottom of the frame. Pitcher Travis Wood singled his way on base with a soft liner to left. Baez then hammered a ball through the shift to plate him. SeanRod's throw home had no chance, and it appeared that no one made any effort to cut the ball off. BA and Dwayne seemed to think it may have been on Loney, but others leaned more towards chalking another one up to Escobar here. These shifts are confusing, you guys. 1-1.
In the top of the 7th, Brandon Guyer pinch hit for Alex Cobb and singled his way on base. With Joyce batting, Guyer stole second to put himself in scoring position. Desmond Jennings would come through again with an RBI double that sent Guyer to the plate. 2-1 Rays.
There were a couple of frustrating fly balls this inning as well as earlier in the game, one from SeanRod in particular, that looked and sounded like sure homers but were kept in by the wind. Crazy how windy it gets in that city. Think anyone's ever looked into that?
In a bewildering move, Joe Maddon would send Grant Balfour to the mound because he thinks leads are boring and nine inning games aren't enough. Balfour would oblige in typically ineffective fashion, allowing a two out Ryan Sweeney double followed by a Chris Coghlan RBI triple to tie it up 2-2.
The inning did bring a bit of joy, however, as Dwayne Staats serenaded the crowd to a rousing rendition of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" dedicated to Harry Caray. Ever the Ray, Dwayne remained notably silent during the "Root root root for the ______" portion of the song. No "home team" or "Cubbies" from his mouth. No sir.
Extra innings would only bring more offensive frustration for the Rays faithful. Zobrist gave us a little hope with a lead-off single in the 10th, but Longoria would shift the momentum the wrong way again with an astonishingly poor plate appearance that ended in a strike out.
Evan Longoria's final line today: 0-5 with 1 K and SEVEN RAYS LEFT ON BASE. The Rays will not be winning very many more baseball games with a black hole like this in the middle of the lineup. Slumps are slumps. Injuries are injuries. A lack of focus is something else entirely. This guy needs to pull it together. I'm rooting for him to do it.
Cesar Ramos would lock down the L in the bottom of the 12th. A lead-off single from Ryan Sweeney began the festivities, and a Chris Coghlan sac fly moved Sweeney into scoring position. With one out, Ramos managed to strike out Javier Baez, but Casali was unable to handle the ball and Baez ended up on first base. Officially classified a wild pitch, it won't end up on any highlight reels for either player. Anthony Rizzo ended the extended affair with a walk off single into the ivy. 3-2 Cubs final in the 12th.
Today's loss puts the Rays record at 57-60, 10 games behind the red hot Orioles in the AL East. It was a shameful effort by the Rays offense against Travis "not Kerry" Wood today. Alex Cobb deserved better.
The journey continues. On to Arlington and the Rangers.