Okay Rays, that sound you heard earlier was the cobination of shrieking screams from Red Sox fans and the creaking of the door that seemed to shut some last night, swinging open just a little bit, ahead of tonight’s game with Baltimore.
The Rays did themselves no favors last night blowing a seventh inning lead before eventually losing 4-2. The favors instead came from the bats of the Toronto Blue Jays and the suddenly struggling arm of Daniel Bard. Bard, who pitched 25 scoreless innings in June and July, has now blown two saves and picked up three losses in his last five appearances. In those appearances he has allowed a total of ten runs.
So the wildcard lead is back down to three and a half games, and the Rays can get it back down to three with a win tonight against the Orioles. As if every game didn’t already feel like a must-win, take care of business tonight and the Rays could be even with the Red Sox if they could get a sweep in Boston like they did last weekend in Tampa.
They will be facing Jeremy Guthrie, who has 17 losses heading into tonight. In his last appearance against the Rays he gave up seven runs and in five starts has allowed 20 runs total. He has a 1-3 record against Tampa, but that one win was spectacular. It was on opening day and Guthrie threw eight scoreless innings holding the Rays to just three hits.
The Rays will be sending Wade Davis to the mound. Davis has won two straight starts, including a 6-3 win over the Orioles a week and a half ago. In those two starts he has allowed five runs with 13 strikeouts to just four walks.
Advantage Rays? You would like to think so. Of course, I thought the same thing when David Price took the hill last night. If the offense can get it going early, Guthrie may falter. Tonight he’s trying not to be the first 18-game loser in the majors in four years.