April 20, 2011
v. Chicago White Sox
|White Sox (7-11)||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||0||1||6||1|
W: Wade Davis (2-2) 2.73ERA
L: Phil Humber(1-2) 4.42ERA
For only the second time in modern baseball history, a team that started the season 0-6 has evened their record in April.
Such is the story that has unfolded so far during the early part of the 2011 season. The Tampa Bay Rays, left for dead in the minds of baseball’s pundits before the season began, are 9-9. Kyle Farnsworth, the man they all said would implode, is 4-4 in save situations. The completely re-constructed bullpen has a 2.35 ERA–overall the Rays pitching staff is 3rd best in the American League with a 3.32 ERA–and the Rays have resurrected their season after watching their best player (Evan Longoria) hit the DL, their top free agent signing (Manny Ramirez) retire and their other top free agent (Johnny Damon) watching from the sidelines with a bruised finger.
If you were a baseball expert you had already shoveled proverbial dirt over the Rays season.
Wade Davis pitched out of a few jams and finished with seven strong innings, allowing six hits and one earned run on the way to winning his second game of the season. Joel Peralta pitched the eight, facing the heart of the White Sox order. After a fly out by Carlos Quentin and a pop up by Paul Konerko to Reid Brignac Peralta struck out Adam Dunn to close out the eight. Farnsworth needed only 11 pitches to retire the side for his fourth save in as many opportunities.
Davis got all the run support he needed in the second inning. After Dan Johnson grounded out and B.J. Upton went down on strikes, Casey Kotchman started the two-out rally with a single to left. John Jaso, who has struggled in the early part of the season, knocked one over the right field wall for his first home run of the year to give the Rays a two run advantage.
Sam Fuld went 0-4 for the second straight game, dropping his batting average to .345, but Jaso, Kotchman and Matt Joyce provided the scoring punch as the Rays won their eighth game in their last nine to move to 9-9 for the season and win the Series against Chicago. All four runs were scored with two outs.
Player of the Game: Matt Joyce – Joyce continues to be the bane of Juan Pierre’s existence, robbing him of a potential extra base hit with Alexei Ramirez and A.J. Pierzynski on base. He collected two hits in three at bats and drove in a run to cap a solid game, raising his average to .321 for the season.
Ben Ice is the Lead Writer for Rays Colored Glasses, part of the FanSided network of sports blogs. For questions, comments or if you are interested in contributing to Rays Colored Glasses email me at [email protected], follow me on Twitter @Ben_Ice or at @RaysColoredGlasses and like us on Facebook at Rays Colored Glasses