RAYS 3, Mariners 2 (12; boxscore)
THE GOOD: Hellboy’s Control. Jeremy Hellickson entered last night’s start with just 14 strikeouts and 12 walks. A pitcher like Hellickson should have at least twice as many strikeouts as walks, and three times as many would be preferred. So it was nice to see the control return last night with 7 strikeouts and no walks…EJ the Good. The guy we affectionately refer to as Mini-Maddon came through in the bottom of the 12th inning. With the shortstop shifted over towards second base, Johnson looped a single right past where the shortstop normally would have been and Ben Zobrist raced home…BJ Upton. For the second time in a week, somebody else will get all the glory, but BJ Upton’s at bat earlier was actually more important. In the 11th with the Rays down 1, it was BJ’s 2-out RBI single that kept the Rays alive…Jose Molina. We’ve been bashing his defense recently, so it is only fair that we point out his great play that saved the game. With 1 out in the 9th and the go-ahead run on third, a bunt attempt was fielded by Fernando Rodney who threw home. It appeared that Molina’s tag missed the runner, but the crafty veteran calmly held up the ball as if he had made the tag, and the umpire called the runner out.
THE BAD: Depth. The one thing the Rays cannot afford is a serious injury to a key player. And that is exactly what may have happened with Evan Longoria when he was pulled from the game with an injured knee. He is expected to have an MRI today. You can see the play here…Bad Luck. The the score tied in the 5th, Carlos Pena laced a double to deep right-center. Ben Zobrist would have scored easily..EJ the Bad. With 2 outs and 2 strikes in the 5th and with 2 runners in scoring position, Elliot Johnson inexplicably tried to bunt his way on. He fouled the ball off and the inning was over.
THE TELLING: The Rays now have a 1-game lead over the Orioles in the East…The Hideki Matsui signing is now official. He is expected to report to AAA in Mid-May…Prospect Brandon Guyer is out with a sprained ankle…
THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- Be sure to click the <Read More…> below to see some videos and GIFs from last night’s game.
- If you missed it last night, The Happy Heckler made his triumphant return to the Trop last night. [RaysIndex]
- Alex Torres, one of the big 3 pitching prospects at triple-A Durham, is being moved to the bullpen permanently. Torres has struggled this season with a 10.38 ERA in 5 starts and 21 walks in just 17.1 innings. [Watching Durham Bulls Baseball]
- Gary Shelton spoke to Fernando Rodney about his new home in the Rays bullpen and what it has meant to the Rays. [TampaBay.com]
- Here are the undrafted free agents the Bucs have already signed. [JoeBucsFan]
DOWN ON THE FARM…
DURHAM 1, Indianapolis 0. Matt Torra made his 5th start and tossed 8 shutout innings, giving up just 1 hit and 1 walk. He had 1 strikeout…Reid Brignac did not play…CF Jesus Feliciano went 2-3 and drove in the lone run ending the Bulls 13-game skid.
MONTGOMERY. (no game scheduled)
Palm Beach 7, CHARLOTTE 4. Albert Suarez gave up 6 runs (5 earned) in just 3.2 innings, raising his ERA to 5.79…SS Derek Dietrich went 1-3 with 2 walks, and RF Mikie Mahtook was 1-4 with his 4th steal.
Wisconsin 7, BOWLING GREEN 2. RF Drew Vettleson went 0-4 with a pair of strikeouts…Roberto Gomez allowed just 1 unearned run in 5 innings.
David Price delivers the celebratory rabbit punches following the walk-off win…