The Tampa Bay Rays have had their fair share of touted prospects in their nearly 15-year history.
Stars such as Scott Kazmir, Evan Longoria and David Price are Rays who lived up to their high expectations. The organization, however, has seen a handful of busts and underachieving prospects as well.
Without further delay, here’s a look back at the four Rays prospects who never lived up to the hype.
Drafted third overall in the 2001 MLB Draft right behind Joe Mauer and Mark Prior, Dewon Brazelton was expected to be the Devil Rays’ ace for years to come.
He never would find success at the big league level, though, struggling mightily throughout his brief five-year MLB career.
Brazelton posted a lifetime 8-25 record and a 6.38 ERA, pitching most of his innings with Tampa Bay.
B.J. Upton is obviously nothing near a prospect bust, but he has yet to live up to the very high expectations put upon him since the age of 17.
Over eight seasons with Tampa Bay, the now 28-year-old centerfielder was a productive player. He put up a .255/.336/.422 slash line with 118 home runs, 232 stolen bases and a 107 wRC+.
Upton will likely never live up to the hype of being a No. 2 overall draft pick and the No. 2 ranked prospect in all of baseball in 2004, but his tenure with the Rays wasn’t all that disappointing.
Delmon Young’s case is similar to B.J. Upton’s: He was a Devil Rays top prospect who simply never played as well as expected, and is now a somewhat productive big league outfielder.
One year after Upton was drafted second overall, Young was taken by Tampa Bay first overall. He was ranked in the top three of Baseball America’s Top 100 Prospects list four straight years (2004-2007), including being ranked the game’s No. 1 prospect in 2006.
The kid who was once expected to be an MVP caliber slugger has turned out to be a career 97-wRC+ and -0.3 WAR player.
General Manager Andrew Friedman really made the right move when he traded Young to Minnesota in a blockbuster deal before the 2008 season which included Matt Garza and shortstop Jason Bartlett, two guys who would help bring Tampa Bay its first pennant that year.
Rocco Baldelli was another top prospect who was a key part of the Devil Rays’ once bright outfield future.
Baldelli, a former sixth overall draft pick and No. 2 ranked prospect, didn’t disappoint at all to begin his career. He had a successful first two seasons, finishing third for Rookie of the Year in 2003 and quickly becoming a fan favorite in Tampa Bay.
It would only go downhill from there for Baldelli, however, as a rare muscle disease caused him numerous injuries and derailed his promising career.
Rocco, now retired, owns a career 98 wRC+.
It was another agonizing loss for the Rays Wednesday. The bullpen continues to let down the rest of the team, as Fernando Rodney’s fourth blown save squandered a ninth inning lead for the Rays in yesterday’s game. It was the ninth time this season that the Rays gave up a lead in the seventh inning or later.
Jeremy Hellickson was an encouraging sign from this game, turning in his best start of the year. Hellboy went eight innings (106 pitches) deep, allowing just two runs on four hits, only one walk and four strikeouts.
Hellickson’s first inning struggles continued in this ballgame, however, as the Blue Jays bats struck first. Jose Bautista began what would be a huge day with an RBI double to start the scoring, giving Toronto an early 1-0 advantage.
After a slow start, the Rays’ bats would get things going in the top of the third versus southpaw Mark Buehrle. A Ryan Roberts knubber that skipped past second baseman Maicer Izturis tied the game at 1-1. Ben Zobrist followed with a go-ahead line drive single.
In the fourth, a big baserunning miscue by Sean Rodriguez would cost the Rays. After a leadoff double, Rodriguez managed to get picked off second, killing both a rally and Tampa’s momentum.
While Hellickson appeared to be settling in nicely, he would add one more blemish to his strong outing as Joey Bats came through once again. Bautista destroyed a misplaced changeup for a moonshot solo homer, tying the game back up at 2-2.
Skipping to the ninth, the Rays’ lineup continued to give Blue Jays closer Casey Janssen troubles. An Evan Longoria double and then a James Loney RBI single gave them the late 3-2 lead.
It was then up to Fernando Rodney to seal the series victory, but he unfortunately would have the challenge of facing the meat of the Blue Jays order. Jose Bautista started things off with a hard-fought at bat, eventually prevailing to take Rodney yard for a game-tying long ball.
In the bottom of the tenth, Cesar Ramos took over on the hill for the Rays. Colby Rasmus leadoff bunt single would prove to be the difference in this game. Ramos would retire the next to batters after that, but would walk pinch-hitter Mark DeRosa to put two men on base for none other than….yup, Jose Bautista.
Kyle Farnsworth was brought in to face the always-dangerous slugger. Farnsworth quickly jumped ahead of Bautista 0-2, but was simply outdone by some great pure hitting on Bautista’s part. The pitch was actually a good one; a 96 MPH fastball low and away (wide of the strikezone). Bautista however, having a ridiculous game, poked it for a walk-0ff single.
Bautista finished the game 4-4 with a pair of homers, reaching base five times and knocking in all four runs for Toronto.
The Rays, now 24-22, are off today before facing the Yankees at home this weekend for a key three-game set. Roberto Hernandez (2-4, 5.24 ERA) will square off against right-hander David Phelps (2-2, 3.83 ERA); first pitch 7:10 ET Friday night.
Rays News and Notes:
- This series defeat to the Blue Jays ends the Rays’ 15-series streak of not losing a series against Toronto. The streak was the longest active in the MLB.
- Evan Longoria (1-3, BB) extended his hitting streak to 16 games.
- Jose Molina (hamstring tightness) returned to the lineup Wednesday, continuing his hot-hitting ways going 2-4 with a run.
- Joe Maddon took advantage of today’s offday to shuffle up the rotation a bit. Instead of having the less-experienced Jake Odorizzi pitch in the crucial matchup against New York Sunday, Alex Cobb will get the start and Odorizzi will be pushed to Monday.
- Matt Joyce (hamstring tightness) feels good and expects to start Friday.
- Rays minor leaguer Angel Yepez was suspended 50 games for testing positive for PEDs.
- David Price is improving well without any setbacks, but it looks like he’ll miss at least three starts as he won’t return right when he’s eligible to come off the DL on May 31. He’ll likely be pitching one rehab start.
- Evan Longoria told the Tampa Bay Times that his legs felt tired early in the season.
It was almost another late-inning disaster for the Rays Tuesday night in Toronto. The bullpen struggles continued as they nearly blew a three-run lead, but Tampa Bay would hold off the Blue Jays to pick up the ‘W’.
Alex Cobb was on his A-game. He didn’t get a lot of whiffs (only two strikeouts), but he allowed just one run and three hits over 6.1 innings pitched.
The Rays got the scoring started in the second against Blue Jays starter Ramon Ortiz. Evan Longoria’s leadoff double led to a Luke Scott RBI groundout, and then Kelly Johnson went deep against his former team to make it a 2-0 ballgame.
Desmond Jennings extended the Rays’ lead to three with a solo shot in third. Later in the inning, the Rays put together a mini rally, knocking in another run via a RBI single by Scott.
The Jays would score their only run against Cobb in the fifth, when Colby Rasmus crushed a ball off the upper deck in right for a solo homer.
After scoreless sixth and seventh innings from Alex Cobb and Jake McGee (1.2 IP), Toronto began to cut into the Rays’ lead in the eighth. Joel Peralta started the inning with a single, a walk, and then an RBI single off the bat of Jose Bautista. After a strikeout, a Ryan Roberts error at second ruined what probably would have been an inning-ending double play.
Instead, Joe Maddon decided to go with Fernando Rodney for the five-out save with the bases loaded and the score 4-2. He got the first batter he faced to groundout into the key double play the Rays were looking for.
The threat wasn’t over, however, as the Blue Jays would knock Rodney around a bit. Colby Rasmus scored on a wild pitch after a double, and then a two out walk put the go-ahead run to the plate (Melky Cabrera) with two outs. Cabrera struck out on a controversial 0-2 called strike. The pitch was far out of the strike zone, but was apparently good enough for home plate umpire Dale Scott.
The Rays improve to 24-21, and will go for the series victory today at 4:37 ET before an offday Thursday. It’ll be a battle of two struggling starters, as Jeremy Hellickson (2-2, 5.82 ERA) takes the hill against Mark Buehrle (1-3, 6.33 ERA).
News and Notes:
- Matt Joyce exited last night’s game with right hamstring tightness after going 2-3. It’s fortunately said to be just precautionary at the moment. He’s not scheduled to start against the left-handed Buehrle today anyways, so hopefully with that and the offday tomorrow he won’t be missing any time.
- Evan Longoria (2-4, 2 R) extended his hit streak to 15 games.
- Yunel Escobar’s home run celebration Monday stirred some controversy. After condemning Escobar’s actions after Monday’s game, Joe Maddon is now saying that he “did nothing wrong.” Here’s more on the issue at TampaBay.com.
- Power-hitting prospect outfielder Josh Sale is now eligible to play after coming off his drug-related 50-game suspension Tuesday.
Jake Odorizzi was under the spotlight Monday afternoon in Toronto, making his big league debut in 2013 and becoming the first player in the James Shields blockbuster to make a major league appearance for the Rays. He was limited to just five innings and 92 pitches, but looked encouraging in his first outing.
Odorizzi got off on the wrong foot, however, as the Blue Jays’ bats put up two runs in the first inning.
R.A. Dickey, who’s having a slow start to the season like his fellow Cy Young award-winner David Price, was on the hill for Toronto. A Sam Fuld RBI groundout, scoring Evan Longoria who reached on a leadoff single, made it a 2-1 ballgame in the second.
The scoring continued in the bottom half of the inning, unfortunately, as the Rays’ tough luck with missed calls this season cost them yet another run. With one out and the bases empty, catcher Henry Blanco laced a base hit that rolled to the left field wall. Sam Fuld played the ball perfectly and the throw to second beat Blanco by a mile.
As you can see from the picture below, Ben Zobrist clearly got the tag down in time and second base umpire CB Bucknor simply blew an easy call despite being the right position.
This would cost both the Rays and Odorizzi a run as Melky Cabrera would drive in a Blanco later in the inning with a two-out double.
But Tampa’s streaking bats continued to show resilience. In the third, Longoria delivered with a two-run double to opposite field, tying the game at 3-3. He extended his hitting streak to 14 games.
Meanwhile Odorizzi was settling in, not allowing a single hit from the third to fifth inning. He finished the day with a line of 5 hits on 3 runs, 1 walk, and an impressive 6 strikeouts.
As I said before, Odorizzi was limited to just 92 pitches, and I would of liked to see him go a bit deeper into this game as he’s thrown 95+ pitches a few times this season with Durham. With a struggling bullpen, it’s important that the starters provide innings, and with Odorizzi on a roll I was a bit surprised that he wasn’t given a chance to start the sixth inning, assuming that Joe Maddon was behind the decision.
Back to the game, the Jays would break through in the seventh against the Rays’ bullpen. Josh Lueke replaced Jake McGee after his quick sixth, and simply wasn’t able to control his pitches today. He walked three batters to load the bases, and then gave up a bases-clearing double to Edwin Encarnacion with two outs. The three runs were the first allowed by Lueke this season.
Encarnacion ripped a liner right off the base off the wall, which took a hard bounce to Sam Fuld. Fuld somehow whiffed at the carom, costing the Rays an additional run or maybe even two. The miscue would end up hurting the Rays
In the eighth, Kyle Farnsworth entered the game and wasn’t able to keep Toronto’s lead at three. Munenori Kawasaki smacked a triple, making it a 7-3 ballgame.
In the ninth, the Rays attempted to pull off another epic comeback for the second straight game. They definitely gave the Jays a scare as they roughed up closer Casey Janssen.
Yunel Escobar’s 2-run homer cut the deficit to two with the Rays down to their final strike. Desmond Jennings and Matt Joyce then both reached base, bringing up the go-ahead run to the plate, Ben Zobrist. With Longoria on deck, Zobrist went down on three pitches to finally bring the game to an end.
The Rays are now 23-21 on the season. They’ll attempt to keep extend their steak of not losing a series against the Blue Jays to 16 games. Their current streak (15) is the longest (active) against any team in the MLB by any team.
Alex Cobb (4-2, 2.89 ERA) will square off against right-hander Ramon Ortiz (1-1, 2.35 ERA); first pitch tomorrow night at 7:07 ET.
Matt Moore continued his outstanding start to the season Sunday afternoon in Baltimore, tossing seven strong innings of one-run ball to improve to 8-0.
— MLB (@MLB) May 19, 2013
On the mound for the Orioles was right-hander Chris Tillman, who managed to cool down the Rays’ red-hot bats to some degree.
Tampa Bay got on the board first courtesy of a Desmond Jennings RBI double in the top of the third.
Baltimore responded in the fourth thanks to some bad outfield defense on the Rays’ part. Manny Machado led off with a fly ball to the right-center field gap, which both Ben Zobrist and Desmond Jennings misplayed due to miscommunication. The two nearly collided, and they failed to stop the ball from bouncing to the wall, resulting in an easy triple.
The scorers credited Machado with a hit, which handed Moore his only earned run of the day. Adam Jones delivered with the game-tying RBI single.
The Rays would get that run back in the fifth, however, as Luke Scott went yard for a solo home run. Matt Joyce added on another run in the sixth with a line drive homer right down the right field line and off the bottom of the pole.
The call was initially ruled a double and then overturned after instant replay.
Joel Peralta and Fernando Rodney both had quick 1-2-3 eighth and ninth innings to secure the sweep.
The improve to 23-20 on the season, and head to Toronto today. Jake Odorizzi will make his Rays debut against Cy Young knuckleballer R.A. Dickey (3-5, 4.83 ERA); first pitch 1:07 ET.
News and Notes:
- Evan Longoria extended his hit streak to 13 games going 1-4.
- Jose Molina (hamstring tightness) will likely be available today.
- Around the AL East: The Yankees-Blue Jays game was posponed due to rain, and the Red Sox beat the Twins 5-1.
It was a wild one in Camden Yards Saturday afternoon, as the Rays’ offense stayed red-hot and the starting pitching continued to struggle. After plating 12 runs in the series opener Friday night, the Rays put up another 10 Saturday and this time the bullpen helped the cause.
Roberto Hernandez was on the hill for Tampa Bay, and didn’t hesitate to get rocked by the Orioles’ big bats. Baltimore started off the game with a four-run, seven-hit first inning which included a pair of home runs.
Down 4-0, the Rays would get on the board in the third as Jair Jurrjens—who was making his first big league start of the season—hit a roadbump after two very quick first innings. Yunel Escobar drove in a run with an RBI double, and a then Matt Joyce cut the deficit to just one with a two-run bomb to right.
The O’s would get one of those runs back in the bottom half of the inning. Hernandez was pulled after hitting the first batter, which brought in the recently-impressive Cesar Ramos. He let up an RBI double to J.J. Hardy, which completed an ugly line for Hernandez: 5 ER, 8 H, 0 BB, 1 K in 2.0 IP (49 pitches, 36 strikes).
In the fourth, the Orioles would extend their lead to three with an Adam Jones RBI groundout.
Another Jose Molina double to deep center set up a scoring opportunity for the Rays in the fifth. Tampa Bay would cash in, as Matt Joyce delivered with a big hit, this time a two-out RBI double.
In the bottom half of the inning, Joe Maddon would replace Ramos with Alex Torres, who would be the hero for the Rays in this ballgame. Torres turned in four scoreless (and hittless) innings to keep his team in the game and the deficit at just two runs going into the ninth.
Baltimore’s Jim Johnson, a usually solid closer who’s been struggling as of late, wasn’t able to seal to win for the O’s. Luke Scott grounded out to begin the inning, but Tampa’s bats would unleash on Johnson after that.
Kelly Johnson started the rally off with a solo homer. Then the Rays loaded the bases with a pair of walks and a broken-bat bloop single. And then Matt Joyce, once again coming up clutch with the big hit, hit a two-run double to put the Rays ahead 7-6.
Ben Zobrist followed with a double to give the Rays two more insurance runs. The Rays would again load the bases, and a RBI walk by Luke Scott—who began the inning—put the Rays in double digits in the runs column for the second straight game.
The Rays improve to 22-20 on the year, and will go for the sweep this afternoon with their early-season ace on the mound. Matt Moore (7-0, 2.44 ERA) looks to pick up his eighth win of the season versus Chris Tillman (3-1, 3.40 ERA)
News and Notes:
- Jose Molina is listed as day-to-day after exiting the game with left hamstring tightness after running to second on his double in the fifth inning.
- It appeared Evan Longoria’s 11-game hit streak would be snapped Saturday unless he would get another opportunity in extra innings. However, Longo would get another chance to hit in the midst of the ninth inning rally that sent 10 men to the plate. He popped a bloop double down the right field line to extend the streak to a career-high 12 games.
- The Rays have announced that Jake Odorizzi (4-0 with a 3.83 ERA this year with Triple-A Durham) will start Monday to replace the injured David Price. A corresponding move is to be made Sunday.
- It looks like the Rays are calling up left-handed reliever Jeff Beliveau from Durham to take Alex Torres’ place on the roster. After four innings of work Saturday, Torres is heading back to the minors (hopefully only temporarily). Belivau has posted a 4.35 ERA with 24 strikeouts in 10.1 IP so far this season with Bulls. He spent some time in the majors with the Texas Rangers last year, putting up a 4.58 ERA with 17 strikeouts in 17.2 IP. Beliveau is likely only for today’s game, as he’ll likely be sent back down when the Rays call up Odorizzi.
It hasn’t been an ideal start to the year for the Tampa Bay Rays. With one quarter of the season already behind us, the Rays currently stand at an even 20-20.
The’ve really underachieved overall as a team, as things simply aren’t falling into place for them just yet.
With a strong offense and a struggling bullpen, it’s looked like 2009 all over again so far for Tampa Bay. They missed the playoffs and finished the season with just 84 wins that year, so Rays fans hope their team is not going down a similar path.
After the first 40 games of the 2013 season, here’s a graded evaluation of the Rays’ offense, starting rotation, bullpen and defense.
The Rays currently have the third best offense in Major League Baseball with a wRC+ of 108.
Evan Longoria and James Loney have both enjoyed red-hot starts to the season. Longoria has posted a .417 wOBA and Loney is leading the league in batting at .367.
Kelly Johnson and Sean Rodriguez have both been pleasant surprises. Johnson’s posted a 119 wRC+ and Rodriguez has looked like a much-improved hitter, putting up a .326 wOBA in 60 plate appearances.
Below’s a chart of every player’ wOBA compared to their preseason projections (Fangraphs’ ZIPS projections):
Overall Grade: A-
With statistically one of the league’s best offenses, I thought the Rays deserved a high grade here. The difference between an A- and an A+ for me was the first two weeks of the season where the offense was anemic. Since late April, however, the lineup has been scorching hot.
“Disappointing” is the best word to describe the Rays’ starting rotation at the first quarter mark. Tampa’s starters have posted a collective 4.05 ERA (16th in MLB) and a 4.22 FIP (18th in MLB).
Shockingly, the starting pitching struggles have stemmed from the rotation’s front two: David Price and Jeremy Hellickson. Price—who’s now on the 15-day DL—is 1-4 with a 5.24 ERA through nine starts and Hellickson is 1-2 with a 5.25 ERA through eight.
There has been two bright spots in the rotation, however, as youngsters Matt Moore and Alex Cobb have both shined. Moore is an impressive 7-0 with a 2.44 ERA and a 9.56 K/9, while Cobb is 4-2 with a 2.89 ERA and a rotation-leading WAR of 0.9.
Roberto Hernandez has been nothing more than decent in his first seven starts. He’s 2-4 with a 4.43 ERA, but he’s actually looked pretty encouraging. His career-high 8.65 K/9 rate, 3.43 SIERA and 3.45 xFIP are possibly signs of a comeback year for Hernandez.
Overall Grade: C-
What was expected to be one of the better bullpens in baseball as turned out to be somewhat of a disaster. Tampa’s ‘pen ranks fourth worst in the league in ERA (4.67) and sixth worst in FIP (4.04).
Closer Fernando Rodney has been suprisingly lousy so far, blowing three saves in 10 opportunities to go along with a 5.28 ERA and a pair of losses. Jake McGee (8.80 ERA), Kyle Farnsworth (6.52 ERA), Jamey Wright (4.24 ERA) and Brandon Gomes (5.40 ERA) have all struggled as well.
The Rays have held leads in 34 of their 40 games this season, and have blown countless leads late in games. The bullpen is simply going to have to improve if the Rays want a shot at competing in October.
Overall Grade: D
They have the best defensive corner-infield combo in the game with Evan Longoria and James Loney, Longoria, as usual, has been nothing short of amazing this season, leading the team with a 3.8 UZR as he continues to play like a Gold Glove caliber third baseman.
In the outfield, Desmond Jennings has done a fine job adjusting to centerfield, posting a 3.2 UZR. Sam Fuld and Matt Joyce haven’t done a very good job in the corners, but Fuld still covers plenty of ground and Kelly Johnson has bolstered the outfield defense a bit.
Johnson’s also played very well at second base thus far, owning a 0.8 UZR at the position.
At shortstop, Yunel Escobar has proven to be the defensive upgrade he was signed for. He gives the Rays the adequate-fielding everyday shortstop they haven’t had since Jason Bartlett in 2010.
As for the Rays’ catching tandem, both Jose Molina and Jose Lobaton have been below average in terms of throwing out runners and blocking pitching. It’s obviously a big minus for the overall defense, but it doesn’t erase the fact that Molina is the best framing catcher in the game.
Overall Grade: B
Just when you thought the Rays’ bullpen issues were gone, Thursday night’s disaster reminded us that Tampa simply does not hae the same shut-down ‘pen they had in 2012. Fernando Rodney is at fault for last night’s loss, blowing a 3-1 lead in the ninth giving up three runs.
Starting for the Rays was Alex Cobb, who had his very good outing spoiled by Rodney. He went 6.1 innings deep (92 pitches, 56 strikes), allowing just one run on three hits, two walks and six strikeouts.
The Rays struck first, taking a 1-0 lead via Ryan Roberts’ solo dinger to left.
A David Ortiz RBI double would later tie the game in the fourth.
In the sixth, the Rays delivered with a pair of RBI singles by Desmond Jennings and Luke Scott to break the tie. Scott, now batting .316 on the season, reached base four times Thursday night going 3-4 with a walk in the the No. 2 spot in the lineuep.
Offensively, the Rays didn’t not have one of their better games against young left-hander Felix Doubront. They left 23 men on base in the ballgame, seven of them in scoring position.
James Loney had an off-night (0-4 with 7 LOB), but it was more than likely a result of facing a southpaw. It makes me wonder if the Rays should have a right-handed hitter on the bench outside of backup catcher Jose Lobaton. I think Maddon should at least have him hit further back in the lineup, which he’s already doing to a certain degree.
Skipping to the ninth, Rodney walked the first two batters he faced to start the inning. He then struck out Mike Napoli, walked Daniel Nava to load the bases, and then struck out Stephen Drew for out number two.
Ahead of Will Middlebrooks 0-2, the Rays were a strike away from a big series victory. Following a ball, Middlebrooks lined a game-winning three-run double in the left field gap.
Rodney’s pitch selection was terrible. Why he threw a changeup to a right-handed hitter while he’s throwing 100 MPH fastballs is beyond me. I think I speak for the rest of the stunned Rays Republic here.
Here’s a look at just how wild Rodney—who threw four walks—was in the inning:
The Rays had the meat of their order due up in the bottom of the ninth against closer Junichi Tazawa. They put two runners on base but failed to score.
The Rays now fall back to .500 at 20-20. Instead of 2.5 games behind Boston, they’re now 3.5 behind. Fortunately the Yankees lost again to Seattle, so their division lead remains 4.5 games.
News and Notes:
- David Price has been placed on the 15-Day DL. Joe Maddon says he may only miss 2-3 starts, though. Alex Torres was called up yesterday as an additional bullpen arm until the Rays decide who will replace him to start on Monday. Jake Odorizzi appears to be the most likely candidate, with Alex Colome also as a possibility.
- Torres made his 2013 big league debut last night, getting the only batter he faced to groundout in the ninth inning.
- Evan Longoria was interviewed by MLB Network before last night’s game:
The Rays snapped their six-game win streak Wednesday night, getting pummeled 9-2 by Boston in what was a game to forget for Rays fans.
David Price, of course, is the big concern after last night’s game. In the midst of his disappointing start to the year, Price exited in the third inning with a triceps strain.
Ten of the 11 runs in this ballgame were scored in that third inning, as the Red Sox broke out for eight runs to start the scoring. Stephen Drew’s grand slam highlighted the offense explosion for Boston.
Price ended the night with a final line of four earned runs on five hits, a walk and one strikeout through 2.1 innings. The other four runs in the third were allowed by Jamey Wright.
A Desmond Jennings RBI triple and a Ben Zobrist RBI groundout put the Rays on the board in the bottom half of the inning, but that would really be it for Tampa’s bats against Jon Lester.
Cesar Ramos came in later in the game for the Rays, doing a fantastic job allowing just one hit in three scoreless frames. Josh Lueke, who was recently called up to replace the injured Brandon Gomes, had a hitless inning of work and remained scoreless to start his 2013 big league season.
The Rays are now 20-19, and go for the series victory tonight at 7:10 ET in the crucial rubber match. Alex Cobb (4-2, 3.09 ERA) will take the mound versus left-hander Felix Doubront (3-1, 6.40 ERA).
As for Price’s injury, the MRI last night revealed a triceps strain that apparently could of been much worse. It’s unlikely that he’ll make his next start, but we’ll have to wait ’till later today to see what the word is on a possible DL stint for him.
Jake Odorizzi, who is currently struggling with Triple-A Durham and was roughed up last night, seems to be the most likely candidate to replace Price in his next start because he’s pitching on the same schedule as him. Chris Archer is another possibility.
Here’s Price on the injury Wednesday night:
News and Notes:
- More David Price health woes: Price told reporters Tuesday that his vision has been affected by severe allergy issues since the spring. Could this possibly be a reason for his surprising early-season struggles?
- Around the AL East: Fortunately for the Rays, both New York and Baltimore lost at home yesterday. The Blue Jays, however, destroyed the Giants 11-3.
- Former Ray Dan Wheeler is seeking a return to the big leagues.
It looks like the Rays may finally be hitting their stride in 2013. Good pitching and defense handed the Rays’ their fifth consecutive win Sunday afternoon, as they defeated San Diego 4-3.
Roberto Hernandez got the call for the series finale, and collected his second win of the season with a solid six innings of work.
On the hill for the Padres was left-hander Eric Stults, who kept Tampa’s hot-hitting bats relatively quiet early on. The first run of the game came in the bottom of the second, when Jose Molina gave the Rays a 1-0 with a bases-loaded sac fly.
Hernandez found himself in his first jam in the fourth inning. After allowing a game-tying single to Yonder Alonso, he had to deal with runners on the corners and just one out. Hernandez managed to escape the mess without giving up any more runs, getting Chris Denorfia to ground into a double play.
The Padres’ offense would go back to work in the fifth, though, as a solo homer off the bat of the 5-foot-8, 150 pound Alexi Amarista gave them a 2-1 advantage.
In the bottom half of the inning, Sam Fuld lined a leadoff triple, but the Rays failed to move a runner at third with nobody out. Bad base running on Fuld’s part cost Tampa Bay a run, as Ryan Roberts’ line out to left field would have scored Fuld if he had been stationed at the bag. Also, Ben Zobrist—who hadn’t grounded into a single double play before Sunday—grounded into his second of the day to end the fifth inning.
The sixth was a whole different story for the Rays’ offense, as the wheels appeared to fall off Stults. Sean Rodriguez’s single drove in Evan Longoria after his leadoff double to tie the game 2-2. Yunel Escobar then delivered off reliever Brad Brach with a RBI double to deep right field.
Jake McGee replaced Hernandez to begin the seventh. Hernandez’s line for the day: 2 R, 5 H, 4 K, 2 BB, 6 IP (95 pitches, 59 strikes).
McGee looked more like his 2012 self Sunday, enjoying a quick 1-2-3 inning with his usual heavy gas and even incorporating two sliders against the left-handed hitting Alexi Amarista.
Joel Peralta pitched a scoreless eighth, and had some breathing room thanks to James Loney’s solo blast.
Fernando Rodney then closed it out for his sixth save of the year.
The Rays improve to 19-18 on the season and remain 4 1/2 games out of first in the division. They have an offday Monday, an then take on the struggling Boston Red Sox at home for a big three-game series. Matt Moore (6-0, 2.14 ERA) goes for his seventh win Tuesday night versus John Lackey (1-3, 2.82 ERA); first pitch 7:10 ET.
Check out some of the highlight reel defensive plays from yesterday, including Sam Fuld’s incredible leaping catch:
News and Notes:
- Desmond Jennings has now missed the last three games with a sore groin. He should be good to go for the Red Sox series, though.
- Around the AL East: The Blue Jays destroyed the Red Sox 12-4, the Yankees swept the Royals with a 4-2 victory, and the Orioles shutout the Twins 6-0.