The Tampa Bay Ray offense put on a power display in the finale of the 3 game set against the LA Angels. The offense put up 15 hits, 7 for extra bases including 4 home runs. Carlos Pena, Dioner Navarro, Evan Longoria and Carl Crawford all went deep while Navi, Ben Zobrist and Reid Brignac checked in with doubles. Gabe Gross chipped in 4 RBI’s in his 3 for 4 performance while swiping a couple of bags as well. Gabe has been swinging the bat well lately as he’s getting more regular playing time. Now that Matt Joyce has been sent to Durham with the activation of Pat Burrell Gabe should be able to keep his groove on as he gets time in the OF.
SP David Price threw out a mixed bag of good and bad. He did not figure into the decision as he had to be lifted after 4 1/3 innings due to a very high pitch count (105). To be honest he got into a lot of trouble in the first inning with a base hit and 2 walks to load the bases but wriggled free without any damage. Here’s how mixed his performance was – 6 K’s with 6 free passes. He was brilliant one minute and couldn’t hit the zone the next. I attribute this to youth and as the season develops so will David. The bullpen backed Price by going 4 2/3 allowing only 2 hits, 2 free passes while striking out 6.
Grant Balfour was credited with the win, his 3rd of the season; half of what he won all of last season. This is really indicative of the issues our starting pitching has had going deep into games. There have been at least 3 guys that struggle to get through the 5th inning Niemann, Kazmir and Sonnanstine. You can now switch Price with Kazmir and add him to that list. This presents the obvious issues for the bullpen being worn out early in a lot of games. On the upside Niemann has shown much better location as of late allowing him to conserve pitches and go deeper in. Sonny I think will always be hit or miss and I think he will find himself in the pen upon Kaz’s return. Price should work it out like Niemann has and, when this happens, will solidify a brutal 5 man starting rotation.
The Rays host the Washington Nationals this weekend at The Trop for 3. This series should be a “gimme” for the Rays and allow them to, at least, keep pace if not make up some ground. See you at The Trop!