After the “he-said, he-said” incident between Tampa Bay Rays pitcher David Price and homeplate umpire Tom Hallion, Price and several other Rays are waiting to hear if they will be fined by Major League Baseball. In 2012, MLB created a new law that forbids baseball players and coaches from criticizing umpires to the media – not surprising considering how much MLB protects the umpires. While players can be fined and suspended for one incident, it takes three incidents for an umpire to be suspended and even if he is punished, MLB will keep it a secret. Hallion was suspended in 1999 for bumping a player and a coach; he has a history of being an instigator.
Price also believes the ESPN video clip of him leaving the field distorts what happens – which is true. When I was watching ESPN, the clip made it seem that Price was talking to the umpire when he headed back to the dugout and that the umpire ejected him, but in reality, Price was just talking to himself (which he is known to do) and Jeremy Hellickson was actually ejected. Hellickson seemed to be the scapegoat since all the Rays were upset at Hallion because several players heard Hallion use the F-word to Price. Several sports analysts seemed to believe Price started the argument, when it was Hallion.
Price believes that none of the Rays players should be fined and that he was unaware of MLB’s social media that prohibits players from posting content “that questions the impartially of or otherwise denigrates a Major League umpire.” Besides Price, Jeremy Hellickson, Matt Moore, and Sean Rodriquez make comments on their Twitter accounts that criticized Hallion. Even if the four players are fined, MLB may choose to not punished Hallion at all.
Marc Topkin Price hasn’t heard from MLB yet, still upset at ump’s language Tampa Bay Times
- Umpire tells David Price “to throw the ball over the F-in Plate” (mlblogstbchick2011.wordpress.com)
The game was tied 3-3 in the 7th inning when Tampa Bay Rays pitcher David Price stepped onto the mound. The Cy Young Winner has yet to win a game this year and he was determined to pitch a scoreless inning. After allowing a single to Conor Gillaspie, Tyler Flowers hit into a double play. After David Price threw a “strike 3” pitch to Dewayne Wise, he and Rays fans were surprised to see the ball was called a “ball” instead. Throughout the game, homeplate umpire Tom Hallion had a strict strike zone – the pitch had to be perfect for it to be called a strike. Though Price was able to get Wise to ground out to him and end the inning, he was not happy.
After the commercial break ended, Rays announcer Todd Kalas announced that Rays pitcher Jeremy was ejected from the game. According to Price and several other players, after the inning was over Price was upset at the umpire, but did not say anything. The umpire, seeing Price was mad at him, told him to “throw the ball over the f-in plate.” This caused the Rays players, especially the pitchers, to get upset so Hallion pointed to Hellickson and ejected him. As fans know, Hellickson is the stereotypical country boy; he’s quiet, polite, and well-behaved so for him to get ejected is really surprising.
After the game, it wasn’t the win that the Rays were talking about first, it was the ejection of Hellickson. Coach Joe Maddon was surprised that of all the players, it was Hellickson that was ejected. When Hellickson was interviewed, he looked as though he couldn’t even harm a fly, much less cuss at an umpire. Hellickson has never been ejected, but less been in any kind of trouble. Price took to Twitter to defend him and Hellickson’s actions – asking his followers “Someone give me the definition of a coward please.”
Meanwhile, Hallion told a reporter, “I’ll come right out bluntly and say he’s a liar… I’m denying what he said I said, pretty strongly…I said ‘Just throw the ball.” That’s all I said to him.” Hallion also claims he ejected Hellickson because “He was told to know if off, him and Moore were at the dugout rail and I told them to knock it off, and he thought it was okay for him to have his final comment, at which time he was ejected.”
Once David Price heard the umpire called him a liar…
Price is not the only Rays player on Twitter upset. Fellow pitchers Matt Moore and Jeremy Hellickson, plus infielder Sean Rodriquez expressed their disgust at the umpire.
This episode shows that umpires need to be held accountable for their actions. Instead of claiming Price is a liar even though other players and fans at the game heard the “F” word, the umpire should of acknowledge his mistake, apologized to Price, and accepted his punishment. Instead, he called Price a liar and took his anger out on Hellickson. Umpires are supposed to be anonymous, not the antagonist of the show.
- Umps Continue to make Bad Calls Against the Rays (mlblogstbchick2011.wordpress.com)
After a rough 2-7 road trip, the Tampa Bay Rays returned home to sweep the Oakland Athletics’s and continued their winning streak against the New York Yankees.
- Desmond Jennings CF
- Ryan Roberts 2B
- Ben Zobrist RF
- Evan Longoria 3B
- Sean Rodriquez 1B
- Yunel Escobar
- Shelley Duncan DH
- Jose Lobaton C
- Sam Fuld LF
- Matt Moore P
- Brett Gardener CF
- Ben Francisco DH
- Robinson Cano 2B
- Vernon Wells LF
- Francisco Cervelli C
- Brennan Boesch RF
- Eduardo Nunez SS
- Lyle Overbay 1B
Kevin Youkilis* Jayson Nix 3B
- CC Sabathia P
*While Alex Rodriquez is recovering from steroid allegations and surgery, Kevin Youkilis is the new third baseman; but he was scratched from today’s game due to back pain. Youkilis had missed Sunday’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays for the same reason.
While Rays and Yankees fans are used to seeing David Price and CC Sabathia match-ups, the match-up between Matt Moore and Sabathia was just as entertaining. Moore walked lead-off hitter Brett Gardner in the 1st inning, but quickly got the next three batters out. When the Rays were at-bat, Ryan Roberts (the one with all the tattoos) hit a homerun to left field. With two outs, Evan Longoria singled and then scored when Sean Rodriquez hit a triple. Yunel Escobar then hit a homerun, making it 4-0 at the end of the 1st inning.
In the 3rd inning, Roberts once again hit a homerun to left field (seriously, who does this against Sabathia?) The Yankees scored at the top of the 4th when Robinson Cano hit a homerun, but they never scored another run in the game. The Yankees had a threat in the 6th when Moore walked Gardner and Cano reached first base due to an error by Escobar – Gardener moved up to third base on this same error. Moore was able to get the next two batters out to end the threat. The rest of the game quickly went by – total game time was only 2:29.
Matt Moore became the first Rays pitcher in history to win his first four starts: he pitched 8 innings, struck out 9, and pitched a total of 117 pitches.
The attendance was 15,331 – meaning that the New York Yankees fans aren’t coming to the Rays games anymore. Gone are the days when Rays vs. Yankees brought 80% Yankees fans and 20% Rays fans. Is it because the Rays have won 12 of its last 14 home games against the Yankees dating back to July 2011?
Also, Robinson Cano is being investigated for steroid use. A Biogenesis client roster lists the spokeswoman for Robinson Cano’s foundation, plus the fact that he’s friends with A-Roid and Melky Cabrera. Hmm…he did hit a homerun today. But seriously, stop taking steroids and doing illegal drugs.
Around the League
- Cy Younger Winner R.A. Dickey having back/neck problems, but will pitch against the Baltimore Orioles.
- Felix Hernandez got win 100 today – pitched 6 scoreless innings against the Houston Astros.
- Albert Pujols will be the Los Angeles Angels’ DH for a while due to foot pain.
The Tampa Bay Rays dropped another game to the Baltimore Orioles tonight, though I am not surprised. When I first saw the line-up, I was disappointed that Carlos Pena and Matt Joyce were not playing tonight. I understand that Orioles’ pitcher Brian Matusz is a lefty and Pena and Joyce are also lefties, but seriously I’m tired of the Rays creating a whole new line-up for lefty pitchers. A few weeks ago Pena and Joyce both had several hits off a lefty pitcher, so it is possible for them to hit against lefties. And even if they do not hit, I would rather see Pena at first instead of Jeff Keppinger and Joyce in left instead of Brandon Guyer.
It was probably one of the worst Rays’ games I have seen in a while, worse than the other games this past week. In the 1st inning, Ben Zobrist got a lead-off walk, but Sean Rodriquez hit into a double play. BJ Upton singed and stole second, but his threat ended when Keppinger struck out to end the inning. In the 2nd inning, Guyer hit a homerun, making it Rays 1-0. In the bottom of the 2nd inning, Adam Jones was safe at first on an error by Rodriquez; Rodriquez threw the ball over Keppinger’s head (Pena would not have been able to catch that ball). Jones was then safe at second on a throwing error by pitcher Matt Moore, who threw the ball into right field into of 1st base. After walked Matt Wieters, Moore struck out the next two batters but allowed Steve Tolleson to double, scoring two runs (run #2 was scored on an error caused by Guyer; the ball managed to roll by him into the corner of left field). Baltimore now led the Rays 2-1, all of the Orioles’ runs being scored because of errors. The Rays ended up committing three errors in the 2nd inning; making it the first time the Rays have committed that many errors in an inning since becoming the Rays instead of the Devil Rays.
In the 3rd, Will Rhymes hit a leadoff double but the next three Rays failed to bring him in. This seemed to be the theme of the week, the Rays manage to get on base but fail to bring the base runners home. In the 5th, Elliot Johnson was called out after bunting off his foot… enough with the bunting. In the bottom of the 5th, what would have been an easy pop-up ended up as catcher’s interference (error #4), this makes Chris Gimenez’s third error of the year. Moore began to fall apart and loaded the bases; to the horror of Rays’ fans, Jones was up to bat. Jones managed to single to centerfield, scoring two runs. BJ Upton committed an error by dropping the ball but even if he did not make the error, there was no one covering second base, allowing Jones to run to second base. Wade Davis was called in and he managed to get the final two outs. Moore failed once again to last past the fifth inning.
In the 6th, the Rays managed to score two runs due to the teamwork of Keppinger, Guyer, Luke Scott, and Orioles’ third baseman Tolleson committing an error. The error allowed Keppinger and Guyer to move up one base, thus allowing them to score on Scott’s single. The Orioles now led by only one run. None of the teams put up threats in the next several innings, minus a home run by the Orioles; thus the Rays lost to the Orioles again.
Player of the Game:
- Part of the Rays’ Bullpen: Wade Davis came in the 5th inning with two on, one out. He walked one Oriole, but was able to get two outs without giving up a run. In the 7th, Davis got all three batters to ground out. If Moore does not improve by the All-Star break, I would not be surprised to see Davis as a starting pitcher again. In the 7th, Burke Badenhop walked one, struck out three to end the inning. Badenhop’s last pitch was just amazing. The Bullpen worked several innings and did not give up any runs. JP Howell pitched the 8th inning, striking out the first batter but gave up a homerun in the 8th inning to make it 5-3. The homerun really did not effect the outcome of the game.
What I Liked:
- Bullpen: Reasons listed earlier
What I Didn’t’ Like:
- Lack of Aggressive Swinging: The Rays swung at balls out of the strike zone, but did not swing at fastballs done the middle (Rhymes and Keppinger for example). In majority of the strike outs tonight, the Rays did not swing on strike three. Several times, the Rays were about to swing, but held back for some reason. I also don’t think it’s a bad thing for Rays to hit balls out of the strike zone; Orioles’ Robert Adino managed to hit a double off a ball that was out of the strike zone. Rays are going to have to start being aggressive at the plate if they want to make it to the World Series.
- Bunting: There were two bunting attempts today, which resulted in two outs. I had no problem with bunting until this year because the bunt seems to be used in the wrong situations. As Brian Anderson said, why would Rhymes bunt at a ball “up and off the plate?” I’m for Carlos Pena bunting against the shift and Desmond Jennings bunting and beating the throw to first, but lately the Rays have looked awkward at the bunt.
- The five errors committed in today’s game were just plain awful and resulting in the Orioles winning the game. Rays have been known for pitching and defense, but today the Rays did not have either.
- Matt Moore’s Short Outing: Moore has the talent and I know he will be a great pitcher, but at the moment he is having trouble getting strike three. He drives his pitch count up high in the beginning of the game, resulting in him getting pulled in the 5th inning several times this season. It is becoming a burden on the bullpen who is forced to work four-five innings whenever Moore pitches.
Predictions: Rays will get out of this slump, but to do that these things need to happen:
- Matt Moore needs to last more than 5 innings. As soon as he does, he will have the confidence to be the Moore of last year. His problem is getting the final third strike due to command issues. If he fails to fix his problem by the All-Star break, I wonder what if the Rays will make a roster move.
- Aggressive Hitting: Rays are going to have to score at least four runs every game if they want to remain competitive. Walking is great, but walking does not score runs, hitting does. Scoring three runs may beat the Seattle Mariners, but not the Orioles, Texas Rangers, New York Yankees, etc. Swinging at balls but not at strikes is baffling.
- Better Defense: The defense this season has just been awful. Tonight the Rays made five errors, that has not happened since 2001.
I believe the Rays are capable of winning without Evan Longoria; I mean they have done it before, they can do it again. Though I can’t wait to see Desmond Jennings and Longoria back.
The Tampa Bay Rays entered Detroit with a 3-0 series over the New York Yankees. The Detroit Tigers were ready to face them, having won a 3-0 series over the Boston Red Sox. The afternoon game was played in chilly 40-50 degrees weather; but the Rays looked frozen throughout the whole game. The only Rays’ action was in the 3rd inning where Brignac singled (his first hit of the year), Jennings singled, Pena was hit by a pitch, and Longoria was walked to score Brignac. The Rays’ lead quickly fell when Rays’ ace pitcher Matt Moore walked Alan Jackson on two outs. The next batter, Brennan Boesch, singled, scoring Jackson. The Tigers had another threat brewing in the fifth inning after Jackson walked (also on two outs), and Boesch singled. Miguel Cabrera was intentionally walked and somehow Moore got Prince Fielder to fly out to left field.
The Rays took the lead again in the 7th inning after Molina hit a ground rule double. For some odd reason, a Tiger fan decided to reach and take the baseball that was still in play. This is the third fan interference call in the past three games for the Rays. Jennings managed to score Molina, Rays now led 2-1. The Tigers quickly answered back when Jackson hit a homerun; the game was now 2-2. The game was under control until the 8th inning. Cabrera and Fielder teamed up for one run, chasing Jake McGee out of the game. Burke Badenhop was brought in to do control damage, but the Tigers scored two more runs off of him. The Tigers won 5-2.
The Tigers won 6 out of 7 games against the Rays last year, so it is not surprising that the Tigers still have the Rays’ numbers. Actually, the Tigers look more like a threat than the Red Sox and Yankees since the Tigers have power and pitching. I’m glad we only have to play them six more times this, with four games being played at Tropicana Field. It is up to Shields and Niemann to halt the Tigers’ winning streak. Shields is looking to redeem himself after his poor performance on opening day while Niemann is out to show that he does deserve the fifth starter spot on the team.
Player of the Game: Matt Moore. Moore is still young and was not pitching like an ace today, but he kept the score low. Moore’s biggest problem was throwing balls; he walked a total of 5 (though 1was intentional) players today. Moore also showed he was able to get the first two batters out, but he had trouble getting the third batter out. (I believe Shields had this problem two years ago). Moore managed to keep his cool in dangerous situations, showing a high level of maturity.
What I like:
- Reid Brignac had his first hit of the season and ended up scoring the first run of the game. Ever since Jason Bartlett left, the Rays’ shortstop position has been hitting around .220. If the short stop can start batting around .250, then the Rays will have more opportunities to score runs.
- Carlos Pena: Pena only had one hit, but had several very good at-bats. He hit the balls hard, but sadly the Tigers were in the perfect place to catch the balls. Pena also worked the count, unlike several Rays players who swung at the first pitch and became quick outs.
What I Didn’t Like:
- Rays’ Offense: Only Desmond Jennings had 2 hits today while Jeff Keppinger and Sean Rodriquez had 0 hits. Most of the innings in the game were 1-2-3 outs, thus the Tiger’s pitchers had low pitch counts and Matt Moore did not have much time to rest between innings.
- Bull Pen: The Bull Pen allowed the Tigers to score 3 runs in the last two innings, allowing the Tigers to win 5-3. McGee and Badenhop were the two pitchers who failed to get the job done today.
- Jose Molina: Molina let a wild-pitch get by him, which led to the Tigers scoring their first run of the game. This is the second time in four games that a wild-pitch has gotten by Molina. The Rays haven’t had a decent catcher since 2008 when Dioner Navarro had an All-Star year, excellent defense and high batting average. The Rays NEED a catcher; to me, this is their biggest problem every year. Everyone knows we don’t have a catcher. I can’t diss Molian too much since he did score a run and I did like Moore and Molina talking in the dugout, but I want a catcher to play defense.