Jeremy Hellickson turned 25 today, but his birthday was not on his mind when the final game of the Rays-Yankee Series started at 1:40 today. The American League Rookie of the Year only allowed 3 hits and almost threw a complete game, until Fernando Rodney was called in to get the final out. The Tampa Bay Rays were out in front, beginning in the first inning when Matt Joyce hit a triple, scoring Evan Longoria who had doubled earlier. In the third inning, Homecoming King Carlos Pena hit homerun number two, making the score 2-0. Then in the fifth inning, Carlos Pena supposedly hit another homerun, but it was ruled Fan Interference after a fan reached out over the rail to catch the ball. The homerun was then changed to a ground rule double. Umpire Joe West did not review instant replay of the hit, though replays show he made the correct choice.
The New York Yankees finally had some action in the fourth inning when Alex Rodriquez walked to first then ran to third when Mark Teixeira doubled. The threat ended after Desmond Jennings made a spectacular catch, robbing Raul Ibanez of an extra base hit.
Yankees had another threat in the sixth inning when Rodriquez doubled then stole third, but Hellickson struck Swisher out to end the threat. In the bottom of the sixth, Jeff Keppinger hit a homerun, making it 3-0. In the ninth inning, Hellickson was able to get the first two outs, but after walking Swisher on pitch #118, Rodney was called in get the final out. The Rays beat the Yankees 3-0, thus sweeping the Yankees in the opening series.
Player of the Game: Jeremy Hellickson. Hellickson was on his A-game today. Hellickson walked four, struck out four, and was one out from throwing a complete game. He kept his cool throughout the game, though he did display a smile after Jennings caught Ibanez’s ball in the 4th inning.
What I Liked:
1) Jeremy Hellickson throwing like an Ace: After Shields’ miserable outing in Game 1 and Price showing some shakiness in several innings in Game 2, it was wonderful watching Hellickson throw strikes through all nine innings.
2) Carlos Pena and Jeff Keppinger hitting homeruns: Glad to see that the Rays are showing power in the line-up.
3) Rays’ Defense: Today the Rays did not make any errors and all of them looked sharp, a great improvement after several players looked sloppy playing defense in the previous two games.
What I Didn’t Like:
1) Fan Interference: For the second time in two games, a fan has caught a ball in right field, making the possible homerun a double due to the fans interfering. Fans need to stop reaching over the rail!
2) Luke Scott exiting the game with tight hamstring: It is reported he will miss 3-4 days. It is important he returns since he is the DH and had 3 RBIs in Game 2.
3) Joe West: Joe West is an evil umpire who hates the Rays. Today he decided that he did not need to review the reply of Carlos Pena’s possible homerun. Luckily his call ended up being right, but with his history with the Rays, it is no surprise that he refused to review the replay. I’m glad he won’t be around for the Rays-Tigers game.