The Tampa Bay Rays let the Pittsburgh Pirates off the hook Saturday night. The Rays generated 10 hits and 4 walks but managed to leave 12 on base. Anytime you see numbers like this you know the ending cannot be a good one, this was no different. Jason Hammel gave up a 13th inning HR to Jason Bay for a walk off win. Bay had gone 0 for 5 with 3 K’s up to this point. It’s a mystery having had a guy figured out all game long how you serve up a HR pitch at this point in the game. SP Edwin Jackson pitched well enough to win the game. He went 6.2 innings giving up only 6 hits, 3 ER, 2 BB and 3 K’s.
Johnny Gomes had tied the game at 3 with a pinch hit HR in the 8th. The game remained knotted at 3 until the 13th. Eric Hinske, Carlos Pena and Jason Bartlett led the offensive charge all hitting 2B’s.
The unfortunate fact of this game is that the Rays failed to get hits when they needed them. Leaving multiple runners on base (12) and giving up a lot of strike outs (10) has been a trend for this team. I thought that they had finally stepped beyond that point in their development with the offense they have shown on this road trip. But, maybe that is wishful thinking on my part. They had an opportunity to end the night sitting alone atop the AL East as the Red Legs lost. The Rays must gain consistency in these areas to be able to continue to compete in the long term. Don’t get me wrong, I know they are going to lose games. If this were an isolated incident I would be ok with that. It wasn’t, it has been a season long trend.
Today’s matchup pits Andy Sonnanstine (8-3, 4.85) toeing the rubber against Tom Gorzelanny (6-6, 6.43). Gorzelanny has proven to be a model of inconsistency. He has accumulated 55 walks to only 41 K’s. If the Rays hitters are patient at the plate they WILL get on base one way or another.
This afternoon the Rays have the opportunity to end this road trip 5-1. That would be a great boost to their confidence heading back home to The Trop for a match up against the Red Sox. I’ll be watching to see how they improve or adjustments they make to score those runs when they have the opportunity.