After last night’s game that ended on a controversial call, Tampa Bay Rays fans expected the Rays coming in tonight’s game full of anger and ready to make the Texas Rangers suffer. Instead, the Rays only had one run and four hits throughout the game. They lose to the Texas Rangers 6-1. This time, the Rays had no one but themselves to blame for the loss.
- Desmond Jennings CF
- Matt Joyce RF
- Ben Zobrist 2B
- Evan Longoria 3B
- James Loney 1B
- Shelley Duncan DH
- Yunel Escobar SS
- Jose Molina C
- Kelley Johnson LF
- Roberto Hernandez P
- Ian Kinsler 2B
- Elvis Andrus SS
- Lance Berkman DH
- Adrian Beltre 3B
- David Murphy LF
- Nelson Cruz
- A.J. Pierzynski C
- Mitch Moreland 1B
- Leonys Martin CF
- Nick Tepesch P
Texas Rangers right-handed, 24-year-old pitcher Nick Tepesch made his major league debut tonight against the Tampa Bay Rays. He quickly got the first three Rays batters out. When the Rangers were up to bat, Rays pitcher Roberto Hernandez hit Ian Kinsler on the first pitch. It was probably just bad command because Hernandez hits Nelson Cruz later on in the game. Kinsler made his way to third base but failed to reach home after Adrian Beltre grounded out to Yunel Escobar. In the 2nd inning, Evan Longoria leads off with a walk and makes it to second after James Loney and Shelley Duncan ground out, but Yunel Escobar and Jose Molina walk to load the bases. At this point, the Rays are 0-for-9 (with 2 walks) in bases loaded situations this year. Pitcher Tepesch manages to strike Kelly Johnson out, making it 0-for-10 for the Rays in bases loaded situations.
The Rays take the lead in the 3rd after Desmond Jennings doubles and makes his way home after Matt Joyce and Ben Zobrist both ground out. The lead doesn’t last long after Leonys Martin walks and Ian Kinsler singles. With two outs, Lance Berkman singles to center field, allowing Martin and Kinsler to score. At this moment, 26 of 40 (65%) runs against Rays scoring w/2 out this season. Last year, it was 41%, the third lowest in the American League.
In the 4th, James Loney singles but the Rays fail to move him further than first base. Hernandez once again hits a batter, Nelson Cruz, but is able to get the next two batters out. At the bottom of the 5th, the Rangers score two runs thanks to Martin, Elvis Andrus, Berkman, and Beltre. Rangers now lead 4-1. The Rangers extended their lead in the 7th to 5-1 after Martin singles and makes it home on Kinsler’s single and Andrus’ ground out. Jake McGee replaces Hernandez, but an error by Loney allows Craig Gentry to score. Rangers lead 6-1. The Rays had a threat in the 8th inning with runners at 3rd and 2nd, but Sean Rodriquez pops out and Zobrist grounds out to the pitcher to end the threat.
I will not question the pitching, the bull pen, or the defense because baseball season has only been here for one week; but, I will question the Rays’ offense. Rays are known for having a bad offense and the goal of the 2013 was to have hitters to support the pitching staff. The Rays only managed to score one run against a young pitcher making his pitching debut – this pitcher barely made the Rangers’ roster. Rays can take down CY Young winners, but not rookie pitchers. At the moment, Zobrist and Longoria are the only Rays batting over .250. Desmond Jennings and James Loney show potential, but Matt Joyce and Yunel Escobar have had weak at-bats this season. The Rays continue to show that they either score numerous runs when everyone can hit, or no runs when only a few players hit. This puts more pressure on the pitchers because they know that if they give up a run, that could be the game.
Other Rays News
- Pitcher Jeff Niemann will have right shoulder surgery tomorrow – it will take 9-12 months to recover. The season is over for him.
- Coach Joe Maddon signed the lineup card for Joe Nathan’s 300th career save and gave it to him. Maddon wrote “Congrats. Outstanding career. Keep it going!”
- Matt Joyce may have injured his neck attempting to make a leaping catch in right field.
- Luke Scott took batting practice today and ran in the outfield while being watched by trainers.
- Rays have scored 3 or less runs four games so far this year – that is 50% of games.
Around the League
- New York Yankees beat the Cleveland Indians 14-1 and the Toronto Blue Jays lost 7-3 to the Detroit Tigers.
- Angels Pitcher Jered Weaver was placed on the DL for his fractured left elbow. He will be out at least for a month.
- Phillies Pitcher Roy Halladay has given up 12 runs in 7 innings this year.
- Chris Davis leads Orioles past Rays (mlblogstbchick2011.wordpress.com)
- Tampa Battles Back and Beats Baltimore (mlblogstbchick2011.wordpress.com)
- Tampa Bay Rays lose Opening Day (mlblogstbchick2011.wordpress.com)
Roberto Hernandez’s first start with the Tampa Bay Rays was overshadowed by Chris Davis’ unbelievable start this season. After driving in seven runs in the first two games of the season, one would expect the Rays to walk him each time at the plate. Today, he showed that he can hit, ball or strike.
- Desmond Jennings CF
- Matt Joyce LF
- Ben Zobrist RF
- Evan Longoria 3B
- Shelley Duncan DH
- Yunel Escobar SS
- James Loney 1B
- Jose Molina C
- Ryan Roberts 2B
- Roberto Hernandez P
- Nate McClouth LF
- Manny Machado 3B
- Nick Markakis RF
- Adam Jones CF
- Chris Davis 1B
- Matt Wieters C
- J. J. Hardy SS
- Ryan Flaherty DH
- Brian Roberts 2B
- Miguel Gonzalez P
The first inning went by smoothly for Roberto Hernandez – he struck out Nate McClouth and got the next two batters to ground out. For the Rays, Desmond Jennings led off with a walk, but he only manages to get to second base during the inning after being tagged out on his way to third base. In the 2nd inning, Adam Jones singles and then Chris Davis steps up to the plate… and hits a homerun. This makes homerun number three for Davis. In the bottom of the 2nd, Yunel Escobar walks but is caught stealing, ending any threat. In the 4th, Davis is hit by a pitch – probably intentional since Davis has been killing the Rays all series.
Rays finally get a hit in the 5th inning thanks to Evan Longoria. Yunel Escobar singles, James Loney singles, and Jose Molina singles, making it 2-2. The Orioles answer back in the 6th when Nick Markakis walks, Jones singles, and Davis doubles, making it 4-2. Rays should have just hit walked Davis again. In the 8th inning, Cesar Ramos is able to get Davis to ground out, but allows J.J. Hardy to homer with Matt Wieters on base. Orioles now lead the Rays 6-2. In the bottom of the 9th, Sean Rodriguez is hit by a pitch (probably retaliation for Davis being hit, through Rodriguez does get hit the most on the Rays team). Zobrist singles and then Longoria singles – the ball is almost a homerun and is almost caught by Jones. After Rodriquez scores, Longoria is thrown out of the game for passing Zobrist while they were running the bases. Coach Joe Maddon wants the umpires to huddle together to confirm the call, but they refuse. Replays show that the umpires got the call wrong, Longoria never passed Zobrist. The replay also showed that the umpire never witnessed it, meaning that once again, umpires interfere in the game. Though the Rays were down 3 runs, the umpires killed the momentum of the game. Longoria and Zobrist both admit they should of ran the bases better, but baseball’s replay refusal continues to anger fans. Rays lose the game 6-3.
It is only game 3 of the season – pitching isn’t perfect and neither is batting, but they aren’t bad either. Pitching will improve and hopefully so will the offense. So far, the thing that stands out as being “perfect” is the defense. Also, Chris Davis is crazy good and it’s a shame the Rays met him. As Evan Longoria said, “Without Chris Davis, we’re at 3-0 without him in their lineup.” The Orioles scored 20 runs this series and he is responsible for driving in 11 of them. The last baseball player with at least 11 RBI in the first 3 games was Dolph Camilli of Philadelphia in 1935 with 12 RBI. Besides Davis, Orioles’ other threat was the starting pitcher. Miguel Gonzalez in his past four games against the Rays has only allowed 2 or fewer runs. Today, he only allowed two. When he entered the 5th inning today, he had tossed 17 1/3 scoreless innings at the Tropicana Field. Davis will cool down but the Rays need to figure out Gonzalez.
Around the League:
- Cleveland Scott Kazmir has a right rib cage strain, will be placed on DL. Will miss 2-3 games.
- The only teams not to win a game so far this year are the Miami Marlins.
The Tampa Bay Rays were split today; one half of the team played the Pittsburgh Pirates while the other half played the Boston Red Sox. The lineup against the Pirates was:
- Sam Fuld (CF)
- Yunel Escobar (SS)
- Kelly Johnson (2B)
- Jose Molina (C)
- Luke Scott (DH)
- James Loney (1B)
- Wil Myers (RF)
- Chris Gimenez (3B)
- Rich Thompson (LF)
- Roberto Hernandez (P)
What many of Rays fans were looking forward to was the debut of one of baseball’s top prospects: Wil Myers. Though Myers will probably start the season off in the Minor League, everyone was excited to see a player known for hitting. Myers grounded out and walked, good signs since he is willing to put the ball into play (yay to no more strikeouts) and walked, an important part of Rays baseball. Myers admits to initially being nervous, “New jersey on a new team, a new field, but I was excited to be out there and I thought it went well.”
The first pitchers of the game were impressive: Roberto Hernandez retired three batters with 12 pitches, Jeff Niemann retired three with 11 pitches, and Fernando Rodney retiring three batters with ten pitches (notice the 12-11-10?). Rodney even did a “spring training” arrow. The last rotation spot will be either Hernandez and Niemann.
The Pirates scored first in the 4th inning off of right-handed pitcher J.D. Martin. Martin has a Minor League career 72-49 record with a 3.78 ERA. Martin pitched two innings. The next pitcher Mike Montgomery (acquired through the trade with Kansas City Royals) gave up two runs to the Pirates. Rays finally scored two runs in the 8th inning when Nick Weglarz walked (on two outs) followed by Rich Thompson’s single. After a balk and a ground-rule double by Kevin Kiermaier, the Rays score two runs.
The Rays ended up losing 3-2 against the Pirates. Besides the substitutes, the other Rays to get a hit in the game were: Yunel Escobar and Kelly Johnson. Due to the World Classic Baseball, Spring Training has started earlier, meaning coach Joe Maddon’s goal is to not overuse the players before the season starts. Attendance was only 4,436, probably.
The Tampa Bay Rays signed former Cleveland Indians right-hander Roberto Hernandez. The 32 year-old Hernandez received $3.25
million plus $1.825 million in incentives. Hernandez had spent all seven years in the Majors with the Indians. Though he finished fourth in the American League CY Young race in 2007 and was an All-Star in 2010, his career has been spinning downward ever since. About a year ago Hernandez was arrested by the Dominican Republic police on false identity charges. Hernandez was going by Fausto Carmona; he also claimed to be three years younger than his actual ages. The woman who created a fake birth certificate for Hernandez to obtain a visa to play in the United States was never paid by Hernandez’s father. The chargers were dropped after he completed a work program but he was still suspended by Major League Baseball for three weeks. In August 2012, he sprained his ankle and missed the rest of the year. In his three starts in 2012, he went 0-3 with an ERA of 7.53. The Rays are known as being a place for pitchers to restart their careers (relief pitcher Rafael Soriano went on to pitch for the Yankees while relief pitcher Fernando Rodney made history for having the lowest ERA) so it is possible for Hernandez to get his career back on track.
The question now is where Hernandez will be pitching – as a starter or a relief pitcher. He has not pitched as a relief pitcher since 2006. Executive vice president Andrew Friedman says he will be used as a starter during spring training and at the end, they will decide though there is a good chance that Hernandez will be starting pitcher #5. At the moment the Rays have seven pitchers going for the 5-man starting rotation, besides Hernandez there is David Price, Jeremy Hellickson, Jeff Niemann, Matt Moore, Alex Cobb, and Chris Archer. Price, Hellickson, Niemann, and Moore should be in the rotation, meaning it’s between Cobb, Archer, and Hernandez. Since Cobb and Archer are still young, veteran Hernandez will probably be pitcher #5. Rays also need Niemann to be healthy since his injuries made him miss majority of the 2012 season. Hernandez has experience and has pitched 200-plus innings twice; something the Rays need since James Shields is now gone. Hernandez’s current record is 53-69 with a 4.64 ERA – though one must remember he was with the Cleveland Indians, a team that has failed to have a winning record for a while.