Tampa Bay Rays lose again at “The Dump”


When Rays DH Luke Scott was asked several days ago about Fenway Park, he said it was a dump to play at. In Game 2 against the Red Sox, Scott drove in 4 RBIs, showing that he indeed hates Fenway Park. But sadly, he was one of the few Rays to express his hatred for Fenway Park in this game. The Rays failed once again to beat their biggest rivals in baseball, giving the Red Sox their first two consecutive wins since August 27, 2011.

The Rays took an early lead in the first inning when Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz had trouble finding the strike zone. Desmond Jennings walked and scored when Carlos Pena doubled. Pena continues to be hot, hitting RBIs in nearly every game this year. After Buchholz got Evan Longoria and Matt Joyce to get out, Ben Zobrist walked to bring Luke Scott to the plate.  Scott has been absent after having hamstring troubles, but he quickly showed what the Rays have been  missing in the past few games by hitting a homerun. Rays were winning 4-0 after the 1st inning.

Trouble started in the bottom of the 2nd when Jeremy Hellickson managed to get the first two outs, but walked Ryan Sweeney then gave up a homerun to Jarrod Saltalamacchia. The score was now 4-2, in favor of the Rays. In the 3rd, Scott was back at the plate, hitting a double to score Joyce. This would be the last run scored for the Rays, who after getting an early lead, failed for the third time in three games to keep it. Dustin Pedroia hit a solo homerun in the third, making the score 5-3. In the fourth inning, Hellickson fell apart after giving up a single to Ortiz. Though bases were loaded, Hellcikson managed to prevent the Red Sox was scoring, but his pitch count increased drastically. In the fifth inning, Hellickson managed to get the first two batters out, but allowed Kevin Youkilis to single than gave up a homerun to David Ortiz. The game was now tied. Usually, the Rays begin to play baseball toward the end of the game, but for some unknown reason, they went down without a fight. Buchholz found the strike zone and was plowing the Rays down.

In the 7th inning, the Red Sox showed that the Rays’ bullpen is their biggest weakness at the moment. Mike Aviles hit a homerun off of Burke Badenhop. J.P. Howell was called in to limit the damage, but allowed Adrian Gonzales to double to center, walked Youkils, gave up a hit to Ortiz, and then gave up a double to Cody Ross; the Red Sox now lead 8-5. Meanwhile, the Rays seemed to raise the white flag AGAIN. They did not hit, walk, or work the pitch count. They looked awful at the plate. Now the 8th inning was up and it was déjà vu from Game 1 of the series. Dan De La Rosa, who was just called up today, was making his first appearance. Since this was his first game, I will not bad mouth him. But, let’s just say I was not too impressed by him. Darnell McDonal walked, Aviles doubled, Pedroia singled (because De La Rosa forgot to cover first base for Pena), Gonzales hit into a double play, Youkils walked, Ortiz doubled, and Ross homered. The score was now Red Sox 13, Rays 5.

Now for some fun facts

  • The Red Sox have scored 13 runs in the 8th inning in the past two games.
  • This was the first time since July 21-22, 2007 in which the Devil Rays allowed 12 or more runs in consecutive games. (I was not even in college yet)
  • The Red Sox have scored 25 runs in the past two games.
  • The Rays Starting pitchers have allowed 23 runs in 47 innings while the bull pen has allowed 28 runs in 20 innings.
  • Third game in a row in which the Rays starting pitcher failed to make it to the 6th inning.
  • The Rays have scored 15 runs in the past five games (2, 4, 2, 2, 5).  How nice, the Rays have scored 2 runs or less in 37.5% of the games so far. Last year, it was 32%. This is not a good sign!!! The starting pitchers will get better because they usual do, the bull pen will get better because it usually does, but the batting has not changed in the past few years. How many times do I have to say “Get the Man In!?”

What I Liked:

  1. Luke Scott: Scott, who looks like Wolverine, showed up today. Scott decided it was unfair for the Rays to depend on Carlos Pena for all their hits, so he went 2-for-4 today. Scott had 4 RBIs, including a home run. If Scott did not show up today, the Rays would of scored only one run… (Ok, maybe I’m being harsh, but who knows; just glad Scott is back).
  2. Carlos Pena: Pena continues to hit, scoring 1 run today. He is batting .379 at the moment, which is way better than .190 in 2010. Maybe if I wear my Pena jersey tomorrow, he’ll hit another grand slam…
  3. Jacob Ellsbury: Ellsbury, who was injured yesterday, might be out for a few months. Though I don’t like it when players are hurt, Ellsbury purposely slid into Reid Brignac to break up the double play, so its his own fault.
  4. Kelly Shoppach: Shoppach wasn’t in the game today so I didn’t have to watch him play.
  5. Orioles: Yankees lost to the Angels today so the Orioles are now in first place in the A.L. East. Go Orioles!

What I Didn’t Like:

  1. Bullpen: The bullpen has made another negative appearance in my blog. As mentioned earlier, the bullpen has allowed 28 runs in 20 innings. Though this is due to the fact that the Rays starters have failed to pitch past the 5th inning, it does not help that the Red Sox have scored 13 runs in the 8th innings. The 8th inning is usually bullpen territory, so this is just not acceptable. My advice, James Shields, get ready to start throwing complete games again this year if you want a win. There will be more depth in the bull pen with Kyle Farnsworth returns, but what if he is not the same as last year? Fernando Rodney is the only pitcher that can be depended on, Wade Davis being second. On the plus side, Scott Lueke has been sent down to the minors.
  2. Starting Pitching: For the past three games, the Rays starters (Jeff Niemann, David Price, and Jeremy Hellickson) have started out well, but failed to find the strike zone after the second inning. Now I am super curious as to why this is. Jeff Niemann’s issue could be blamed on James Shields being put between Matt Moore and Niemann in order to duel against Justin Verlander; but this does not explain Price and Hellickson. Hellickson had a large pitch count from his previous outing, so maybe that is the reason. It’s just very disappointing to see how the best rotation in baseball is not living up to the expectations, especially since the Rays can’t hit a baseball. Matt Moore, it is up to you to save the series.
  3. Lack of Hitting: Once again, the Rays did not hit the ball. Yes, they scored 5 runs, but Luke Scott had 4 RBIs and Carlos Pena had 1 RBI. No one else is hitting the ball! Evan Longoria, who usually loves playing at Fenway, has been hitless this series. He usually bats around .270 against Boston, not .000. But, it is stupid to think that the three power hitters will win every single game. Ben Zobrist and Desmond Jennings have random hits, but where are the other hitters???
  4. Injuries: Jose Lobaton has been sent to the D.L., Chris Gimenez has been called up and will start as catcher on Sunday. Elliot Johnson, who may not be the best hitter but is a decent fielder, was injured trying to make a catch in left field. Not good, since Sam Fuld is going to be out for a while.
  5. Technical Difficulties: Game 162 wasn’t shown after the game due to technical difficulties, thus I am still upset over this series and writing angry blogs.

So what now? Matt Moore needs to last at least 7 innings tomorrow, allowing the bullpen a smaller chance to ruin the game Fernando Rodney to pick up a save. Also, more batters need to participate in hitting and scoring runs.

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