The pitcher formerly known as Fausto Carmona (Roberto Hernandez) can't seem to find anything to be happy with about his pitching performances thus far as a Ray.
Pitching, usually the centerpiece that the Tampa Bay Rays' success has been built around over the past 4 seasons, is ranked an appalling 22nd in the league if you were to go by overall WAR (according to fangraphs); not something a team that's known for great pitching should be pleased to learn.
Hernandez gave up five earned runs — including a two-run homer off the bat of Brett Gardener — in only four innings of work, ballooning his ERA up to 5.73. While Hernandez was never known to be a low-ERA type of pitcher, he was known for his velocity on both his Sinker and Four-Seam fastball, while having decent control of his pitching reportoire.
None of those attributes can be applied to what Rays coaches and fans have seen from Hernandez so far this season. While there is plenty more baseball to be played, nothing that Hernandez has done is convincing enough to sway Joe Maddon to keep him on as the fifth starter in the rotation. If anything, it might be time to call-up (again) Chris Archer and send down Hernandez so he can figure out just what exactly it is that's making him so hittable (besides the obvious control issues).
David Phelps dusted his starting pitcher arm off for the Yankees tonight, as he has been used, for the most part, as a relief pitcher. Through four innings, he hadn't given up a hit or a walk, which made Rays fans nervous with the thought of "are we going to give up another no-hitter/perfect game?"
Luckily, James Loney hit his thirteenth double of the season to break up the early no-no, but the Rays offense didn't wake up until the sixth inning, when three runs crossed the plate. Sam Fuld's sacrifice fly was the last run the team would score, while the Yankees' bullpen silenced the Rays' bats to secure a 9-4 win in the opening game of this three-game series.
It seems a bit odd that a team known for having sub-par/"situational" offense is ranked sixth in the league (according to fangraphs and using overall WAR), while its usually stellar pitching staff is ranked 22nd. Joe Maddon and Jim Hickey are wizards when it comes to pitching staff changes, and for the team's sake, hopefully changes are made sooner rather than later.
Notable(s) From Tonight's Game:
K. Johnson: 2-4, R, 3B