After the rain, Rays lose 7-0

The team was shut out for the fourth time this year.

The Rays were held hit-less by Baltimore starter Jake Arrieta until the top of the sixth frame, when Sam Fuld drove a leadoff double off the wall in left-center field.

It was one of only three Tampa Bay hits on the evening.

They reached base more times on walks (five).

Arrieta had faced the minimum batters through five innings; two Rays walks were erased when Johnny Damon was caught stealing in the first and Evan Longoria negated Ben Zobrist's free pass by grounding into a 6-4-3 double play in the fourth.

What else needs to be said?

The Rays didn't even manage to get solid contact off Baltimore pitchers; that alone would have been reason enough to rejoice for the sake of mitigation.

Despite coming off a three-game win streak—after sweeping of the Halos in L.A.-Anaheim—the Rays had played .500-ball in their last 10 games. Wins by division-leading Boston and New York put Tampa Bay four games back in the American League East.

Friday night the Rays looked like a team lucky to be in third place. They play in arguably the toughest division in baseball—the only one with four teams over .500. With Toronto and these same Orioles nipping at their heels, the Rays could find themselves in dead-last if they keep swinging the bat like this.

Still, tomorrow is another day. Ace-lefty David Price (7-5, 3.35 ERA) gets the start Saturday against Baltimore righty Jeremy Guthrie (2-8, 3.71). That one is scheduled for a 7:05 first pitch, but we know how that goes.

Maybe the Rays can make it worth the wait.

click to enlarge Stock photo - Kevin Tall
Kevin Tall
Stock photo

Stock photo

No one likes a rain delay.

Of course, no one of the Tampa Bay persuasion liked what happened after the rain delay Friday night.

After more than an hour delay due to stormy skies in Baltimore, fans of the Tampa Bay Rays found themselves wondering if there was a better way to spend their evening than watching their team get shutout for the fourth time in 2011 and the second time at the hands of the Orioles.

Jeremy Hellickson—3-0 vs. Baltimore coming into the game—took the hill for Tampa Bay and fell to 7-4 on the year. It would be charitable to say the Rays starting pitcher didn't have his best game ever.

Statistically speaking, it was his worst.

The five runs charged to the rookie right-hander in the 7-0 loss were the most he'd allowed in any start of his young career. Those tallies came on seven hits, accompanied by three walks and only two strikeouts over his five and two-thirds innings pitched.

Hellickson yielded the winning run on his second pitch of the game, a home run to Orioles leadoff man J. J. Hardy. He also gave up a grand slam to Nick Markakis in the bottom of the second, having loaded the bases with two walks and a double.

This game, however, was one of those lovely outings where poor pitching was rendered inconsequential by an even worse showing by the Rays at the plate, illustrated nicely by the fact that the winning margin came from their opponents first at-bat.

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