The Rays entered Sunday not having been shut out the entirety of 2012. All things must come to an end.
The Rays just could not put anything together against Tim Hudson. Hudson held the Rays perfect through 3 innings and continued to groundball them to death. The Rays couldn’t get a runner to second base until loading the bases with 2 outs in the 6th. However, Carlos Pena flied out to end that threat. Sean Rodriguez bloop doubled with 1 out in the 7th, but Hudson stranded him as well. Then in the 8th, Hudson exited after allowed a B.J. Upton infield single with 2 outs. Lefty Jonny Venters subsequently hit the next two batters, Matt Joyce and Carlos Pena. Then Luke Scott hit a bullet towards right field… but it hit Carlos Pena in the foot, ending the inning. Craig Kimbrel completed the shutout with a perfect 9th as the Braves won 2-0.
David Price was outstanding again. He allowed an opposite-field homer to Braves backup catcher David Ross (trade candidate?) in the 3rd, and didn’t allow another run until the 6th, when Jason Heyward singled in a run. Price went 7 innings, allowing 2 runs, just 1 earned, on 6 hits, striking out 7 while walking 3. 81 of his career-high 123 pitches were strikes and he forced an 8-3 groundout to flyout ratio. But he fell to 6-2 on the season as Tim Hudson was simply better. Hudson improved to 3-1 on the year as he went 7.2 shutout innings, allowing just 4 hits, striking out 3 while walking 2. He forced a ridiculous 14-5 groundout to flyout ratio and nothing was hit particularly hard. He threw just 99 pitches, 61 strikes. He was vintage Tim Hudson, hyper-efficient and if not overpowering keeping the Rays completely off balance. On a a day where Sam Fuld joined the Rays’ broadcast booth for a sabermetric broadcast, Hudson decisively beat Price in FIP (3.20 to 4.34). Kimbrel earned his 13th save in this game. The Rays could not muster much of anything against Hudson in the Braves, and when they did they could not come throw with runners in scoring position, going just 1 for 4- but the 1 hit was Scott’s shot that hit off of Pena for the third out of the inning. The Rays drop to 25-17 on the season and welcome the Blue Jays to the Trop for a 3-game set next. As RCG writer Andrew Katzman tweeted, the Rays have lost 2 of 3 in two of their last three home series and split the other one versus the Red Sox after sweeping their first three home series of the season. With the Blue Jays coming to town, the Rays have to get back on track on their home turf. That begins with Jeremy Hellickson taking on Kyle Drabek on Monday night.