Indians 6, RAYS 5 (boxscore)
THE GOOD: Erik Bedard. You can make an argument that Bedard is the Rays’ most consistent and dependable pitcher right now. He has now pitched 3 straight starts with 5+ innings and 1 or fewer runs allowed. But let’s not get too excited. While he is now doing as much as we could have hoped for, it won’t last. He is still walking too many batters (7 walks in 17 ip during those 3 starts) and he has yet to give up a home run this season even though both his line drive rate and flyball rate are up and historically, he gives up an MLB average number of home runs. Eventually his flyballs are going to start leaving the ballpark and considering how many batters he walks, there will likely be runners on base when it happens. That’s a recipe for disaster.
THE BAD: Maybe the Rays just aren’t very good. The Rays are a team built around their homegrown starting pitchers, good defense, offensive matchups, and their ability to maximize relief pitchers. Right now, they are without 3 of their starting pitchers which has made it impossible to maximize their bullpen guys. The fact may be that this team is just not very good without that many starting pitchers and Evan Longoria seems to agree: ““I think I’d be lying to you if I said I wasn’t a little bit stressed out. We win and we’ve won for quite a while here and I don’t think we’re playing bad games. I think we’re playing the game the right way. We’re just getting beat.” It’s not like the team is making a ton of errors or mental mistakes. They are just losing games and it won’t change until the starters start getting 6+ innings on a regular basis to minimize the bullpen which maximizes their matchups…Mentality. According to Joe Maddon, the Rays don’t yet have that “walk-off mentality.” But hey, this is Joe Maddon, so he only sees the positive when things aren’t going well: “It’s going to happen but I’m really pleased with the guys. I mean, the way it started out, they got on top. They continued to build their lead, we came back, we had the opportunity there in the 8th inning and the right guys up in the 9th.”
THE TELLING: Reminder. Tonight’s game is not on TV locally…Heath Bell has officially been released…Matt Joyce’s home run in the first inning ended a stretch of 30 straight innings with no home runs for the Rays…The Rays went 1-5 on the homestand and had the winning run at the plate in the 8th inning or later in all 5 losses…Jeremy Hellickson had a bullpen session and threw breaking balls for the first time. He called it a “huge step.“…Alex Cobb is expected to make a rehab start on Saturday.
THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- The Rays took a big slide in this week’s Power Rankings. [BI Sports]
- The Rays latest themed roadtrip was “Woodstock.” [TampaBay.com]
- DOWN ON THE FARM [boxscores] Nate Karns had a strong outing for the Bulls, allowing just 1 run on 3 hits and a walk in 7.2 innings. He struck out 6. However, the Bulls lost in 11. Cole Figueroa hit his 3rd home run…In double-A, Ryan Brett went 2-4 with a walk.