Hot early, Rays fizzle out in loss to Angels

Share on Nextdoor

Rays’ starting righty Eric Cobb was all over the place in his major-league debut. He struck out Erick Aybar in three pitches to start the top of the first but yielded a four-pitch walk to Torii Hunter three batters later.

Cobb, who was optioned back down to Durham immediately following the game, at times had impressive stuff on the hill and made a case the call up. A major cause for concern is his propensity for walks on few pitches; the four-pitcher to Hunter was accompanied by five-pitch walks issued to Howie Kendrick and Peter Bourjos in the third and fifth innings. It’s one thing to allow a pass to a guy when he earns it after a battle at the plate but quite another to give free bases away like promotional items.

The rookie call up gave up a one-out homer to Anaheim’s Eric Conger in the top of the second but REALLY paid for the walks he issued. In his four and one-third innings pitched, he allowed four runs on four hits; three of those tallies came from runners to whom he issued one of four free passes.

Anaheim eventually took the winning edge in the top of the eighth; Hunter led off with a double off of Rays reliever Joel Peralta. He moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on an inning-ending double play.

“They went from five runs in the first to zero the rest of the game,” said Rays manager Joe Maddon. “You’ve got to give them credit for that. Our guys overall did a great job, too. They scored on a force play, we scored on a wild pitch last night. It’s kind of like tit for tat, a really well played series on both sides, very intense games. I enjoyed them except for the fact that I wish we’d won two out of three.”

This one should have been a W.

It was a great start on both sides of the ball but ended poorly on both sides as well.

No matter what kind of streak this Tampa Bay team goes on, if they let great starts like this one slip away too often, they may find themselves gathered around the grill with the family come October.

click to enlarge What gives? stock photo - Kevin Tall
Kevin Tall
What gives? stock photo

What gives? stock photo

What looked like a scorcher from the get-go burned out quickly, the barn-burner turned into a weenie roast.

Unlike the matinee the day prior, the Tampa Bay Rays started layin’ the lumber early and often on LA Angels’ starting pitcher Tyler Chatwood. With Jered Weaver missing his scheduled start with a stomach virus, the Rays bats gave Halos fans something to feel queasy about early on.

It started innocently enough, with lil ol’ LEGEND Sam Fuld leading off the home half of the first inning with a double. Johnny Damon’s sac fly advanced him to third and a base hit from B.J. Upton brought Fuld home to score. Upton, having made it to second on the throw home, swiped third base for his seventh stolen base of the year. Matt Joyce picked up an RBI-single and crossed the plate on a double by Ben Zobrist.

Casey Kotchman, Felipe Lopez and John Jaso each picked up RBI-singles to make it 5-0 Rays at Chatwood’s expense. The Angels’ starter allowed six consecutive hits before Reid Brignac struck out. Jaso was caught stealing to end the frame in which Chatwood threw 41 pitches and the Rays sent all nine men to the plate.

After that opening explosion, the Rays bats went quiet. They scattered hits in here and there—notably Joyce’s two-out base hit in the second, Upton’s leadoff double in the fifth—but failed to capitalize on their opportunities. There’s not much excuse for getting the leadoff man in scoring position but failing to get him home, with as well as this club used to play small ball.

Scroll to read more Sports & Recreation articles


Join Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.