Matt Moore took the mound tonight having won his last outing against the intimidatingly powerful Yankees offense, and was poised to finally have a winning record by night's end. Shelly Duncan and the Indians had a different plan in mind for the young left-hander, roughing him up badly which forced him to have an early exit.
Moore just didn't seem to have any control of his pitches tonight, lasting just 4.1 innings while giving up 5 hits and 5 earned runs to go with 5 walks, on an extremely high 96 pitches (way too high a number for only 4.1 innings pitched). The Indians' batters weren't chasing any pitches, which is [usually] Moore's bread and butter, and how he's managed to rack up as many strikeouts as he has. After his start against the Yankees, it appeared that he had finally figured out how to be economical on the mound, saving his heat for the later innings (much like Justin Verlander does), but tonight's outing just looked like an exercise in futility.
Offensively, the Rays were somewhat able to get to the up-and-down Ubaldo Jimenez, and the struggling Luke Scott managed to go 2-4, hitting a two-run homer to center off of Jimenez in the fourth inning. Jimenez gave up 5 hits as well, but apart from the homer by Scott, the Rays couldn't get any more runs on the board while he was on the mound; they struck out 8 times against the hard-throwing righty, with Brooks Conrad getting the hat trick.
The problem was their inability to draw walks, which was surprising considering that Jimenez was the league-leader in walks allowed and the Rays usually do a pretty good job managing to get the free pass. That was not the case Saturday night, however, as the Rays only drew a single walk off Jimenez.
With this loss, the Rays are now 7.5 games behind the first-place Yankees, 1.5 games behind the Orioles for second-place in the divison, and only a single game ahead of the Red Sox (who split the doubleheader with New York yesterday).
Maddon's statement yesterday that Evan Longoria is out indefinitely (will be sidelined until at least August) is really a blow to the offense, as his bat [and glove] are obviously huge reasons for the Rays' success over the past three seasons. If Andrew Friedman wants his club to be a competitive postseason team, he should be seriously looking at trading one of the many farm pitching talents he has for a solid, run-producing bat. The Rays can't win without a catalyst similar to Longoria.
Notables from tonight's game:
L. Scott(TAM): 2-4, R, HR, 2 RBI
BJ Upton(TAM): 2-4, R, Solo HR
Rays News and Notes:
- Maddon announced the order of the rotation for the second half of the season, and it will look like this: 1) Hellickson 2) Price 3) Shields 4) Cobb 5) Moore. Here's Joe's explanation for everything.
- David Price said he expects to pitch in Tuesday's All-Star Game, but not start.
- Southpaws Enny Romero and Felipe Rivero will represent the Rays today at the MLB Futures Game in Kansas City; game starts at 5 ET.
- The Rays look to split the series with Cleveland today to cap the first half of the season. James Shields (8-5, 4.11) will square off against Zach MicAllister (3-1, 3.93); first pitch at 1:05 ET.