Tampa’s house of horrors. The Jays don’t play well at Tropicana Field and typically don’t match up well with the Rays, but things are a little different from usual. First, the Jays have won four of seven in the 2013 season series. Second, they’re riding an 11-game winning streak. Jeremy Hellickson got the call for the home side, while Esmil Rogers got the call for the Jays.
Chasing the 1930 Phillies
The 1930 Phillies ran into some good pitching by an old friend in game 75. Eppa Rixey was nearing the end of what the Oldtimers Committee believed was a Hall of Fame-calibre career, and he pitched poorly all season. Except in this game. Limiting the Phillies to six hits nd one run, Rixey helped the Reds beat his old team 6-1. A veteran who played with the Phillies in the dead ball era and World War I, Eppa Jephtha Rixey returned to a different world and adapted to it. Despite his poor season in 1930, he pitched effectively until he was 43. Check the boxscore here.
The Jays made the first threat, with runners on first and third, but couldn’t seal the deal. The real fireworks came in the bottom of the 2nd inning, though as James Loney, Wil Myers, and Sam Fuld went back-to-back-to-back against Rogers. Wil Myers, the super prospect acquired from Kansas City in the James Shields deal, hit his homer in his first at bat in front of the home crowd. His first major league home run was a grand slam against CC Sabathia in Yankee Stadium. He sure has a knack for memorable ‘firsts’. The commentators and, apparently, the Rays are noticing that Rogers doesn’t have any movement on his fastball. The Jays have their work cut out for them if they want to continue the streak but Hellickson isn’t pitching well this season.
A single run in the bottom of the 3rd inning pushed the Rays’ lead to 4-0. One of the hallmarks of the streak has been pitching. On the few occasions that the starter didn’t pitch well, he was picked up by the ‘pen and the offense. Tonight the Jays didn’t muster much in the early going against Hellickson.
Hellickson baffled the Jays through 6 IP, giving up only one hit. He walked 4, breaking several personal streaks, but the streak he’s in danger of breaking doesn’t belong to him. Worth noting is that Colby Rasmus just drew his 3rd walk of the game, giving the Jays a season-high-tying total for one game. It’s funny that Rasmus walked 3 times. Unfortunately JP Arencibia struck out to end the inning, and Colby’s 3rd walk of the game went for naught.
Alex Torres relieved Jeremy Hellickson to start the 8th inning. Maicer Izturis struck out before Emilio Bonifacio hit a 99-hopper over the mound that was gloved by Ben Zobrist, but there was no play. It was the Jays’ second hit of the game. Mark DeRosa pinch hit for Munenori Kawasaki and walked to put runners on first and second. Melky followed with a humpback liner into shallow left field to load the bases for Jose Bautista. Bautista grounded to Yunel Escobar, who got the force at 2B. The Jays are on the board, and still have runner on the corners for Edwin Encarnacion. EE flied out to Wil Myers in medium depth right field to end the threat. The Rays led 4-1.
Fernando Rodney relieved Torres to close out this game. Adam Lind was the first batter, and I believe it’s now safe to say that he has cooled off with a handful of hits since game 1 against Colorado (5-for-23). A couple of strikeouts preceded an infield single by JP Arencibia. Maicer Izturis grounded out to Ben Zobrist to put this one in the bag.
It’s fitting that the Jays win streak comes to an end against the Rays, a team they struggle to beat even, apparently, at the best of times. The Jays don’t have anything to prove, though. In two weeks they turned around a disastrous start to a once-promising season. The promise has been restored, but only if they follow up the streak with high-quality play.