Toward the start of this losing streak, some of us oldsters on the masthead were kicking around this old Paul Simon song and wondering if there were fifty ways to lose a ballgame. But clearly we were underestimating this team. Because these Rays? They got 99 Problems.
When you have the opposing starter on the ropes, ground into a double play.
This game, like so many before, actually started out pretty promising. Logan Forsythe led off with a drive to right that Joey Rickard misplayed into a double. Next up, Corey Dickerson went down and got a first pitch cutter, lifting a lazy pop fly to right that just kept going.
2-0 Rays, and they weren’t done. Evan Longoria then doubled to right, and Logan Morrison continued the "make Joey Rickard run around" show with a single to drive Longo home.
A walk to Brad Miller followed, bringing Buck Showalter out for a mound visit. So when the next hitter Desmond Jennings dug in, he was looking to be aggressive and continue the assault.
Instead, he grounded into a 6-4-3 double play, effectively ending the rally. Jaff Decker would follow with a walk, but Gallardo fanned Taylor Motter on three pitches to end the threat.
Don’t learn the lessons of Jeter
Hey, ‘member when Derek Jeter pretended to get hit by a pitch against us? And how much that ticked you off? And how great it felt when Dan Johnson karma’d that sucker? Well, we had a similar situation in the third inning tonight, when the home plate umpire ruled that Evan Longoria was hit by a pitch. The Orioles disputed this, as the ball appeared to hit the knob of the bat. But you know who else disputed it? Evan Longoria. Because Evan is a classy guy. Also, because Evan wanted to hit. In the end, the umpire agreed with the Orioles and Evan, and Longo grounded out on a nice play by Manny Machado.
Now, this was good sportsmanship. Also, I like our chances with Evan swinging the bat. But it still cost us a baserunner, because that’s the kind of season this has been. Really, this one is on the baseball gods. Y’all messed this one up.
Ways #3 through #6
Make outs on the bases
The Rays lost men on the bases in the second, third, fourth, and fifth innings. These weren’t necessarily bad plays. They were aggressive and/or unlucky plays that just didn’t work out.
With two outs in the second, Corey Dickerson singled to right, then broke for second when Rickard didn’t exactly exert himself getting the ball back in. The relay beat Dickerson to the bag, but a Corey pulled a neat two-step that nearly avoided the tag. Nearly. But not quite. Because Rays.
In the third, Brad Miller grounded what looked like a single up the middle, until Schoop made a sensational play to get to the ball, and a strong throw to get Miller. But as Brian Anderson noted in the broadcast, Miller actually swung wide as if starting his turn in anticipation of the ball rolling into center. This cost him a step or two, and likely resulted in the out at first. Le sigh.
In the fourth, Taylor Motter singled with two out, and promptly tried to steal himself into scoring position. He was nabbed on a very close play by a good throw by Wieters and a strong tag from Hardy.
In the fifth, Hank Conger singled, but was doubled off when Frosty hit a screaming liner to Davis at first.
Run out of luck
But things didn’t seem too bad at that point, because we were winning. In fact, Matt Moore was rolling. His fastball was really sharp, and through four innings he had yet to allow a baserunner. He’d gotten help from his much-maligned outfield, with nice plays from Motter
Even Decker made a great sliding grab, but you’ll just have to take my word for it. What I’m saying is, things were going really well!
Until they weren’t.
With one out in the bottom of the fifth, Chris Davis sliced one toward the left field corner. Motter made a valiant effort to get to the ball but came up short, and Davis pulled into second with a double. Would a more experienced outfielder have made the play? Maybe. It was a tough play, no doubt about it, and Motter was shifted quite a bit. But it’s a play that a good outfielder makes maybe half the time in my opinion.
Moore retired Matt Wieters, then got J.J. Hardy into an 0-2 hole. And he couldn’t put him away. (I guess that’s Way #8?) Hardy ended up singling to right on a 3-2 pitch, scoring Davis and putting the O’s on the board.
Still, we were through five innings with a 3-1 lead. Matt Moore’s pitch count was looking really good. It was gonna be okay, right? Right???
Die by the sword
Leading of the bottom of the sixth for the O’s, Joey Rickard tried to push a bunt. Matt Moore made a nice play to retire him. And that will be the last nice thing I say about Matt Moore’s night.
The next batter was Adam Jones. Moore had been making hay with the fastball up all night. With a 2-2 count, he tried beat Jones upstairs, but didn’t quite elevate it enough. Jones got on top of it and hammered it out to left. 3-2.
Things kinda snowballed after that, with the bad plays and bad luck compounding on themselves. Schoop singled to left, and Machado followed with a single off Longoria’s glove on a play Longo makes six times out of nine. Mark Trumbo followed with a nine pitch walk, when Moore once again couldn’t put a hitter away.
Then came the play. It looked innocent enough, just a single to right, scoring Schoop. Decker came up throwing, and had an excellent chance to get Machado. But his throw was off line and skipped past Hank Conger. Luckily, Matt Moore was backing up the — what? hahaha no, of course he wasn’t backing up the play. He was still standing on the mound. This allowed Trumbo to score on the play all the way from first. 5-3, and that was the ballgame for all intents and purposes. Moore’s final line: six and two-thirds innings, five runs, seven hits, six strikeouts, one walk.
Steve Geltz would come on to give up the obligatory homer in his one and one-third innings of work for the final score, and Brad Miller teased with a leadoff double in the ninth, but that was it. Just another frustrating loss.
|Roll Call Info|
|Commenter list||Arsene Ko, CheezeySniper, DFAHowell, DankMemes, Dbullsfan, EvenLongoria, JRTW612, Nick_named_Nick, Noles95', Rays1118, Salizar77, Spurrier? I Hardly Know Her, budman3, chasstan, dylanccrain, essenpee, kapaafire, killa3312, nomo.red.evil, raycubs, thebigwiff, thedudeofdudes, turntwo21|