Joe Maddon said back on June 28th heading into the deciding game of the Baltimore Orioles series, “For us to get back on top… we have to start winning series consistently.” Well, the Rays have started doing just that, winning the deciding game of that Orioles series, and clinching the series win against the New York Yankees on Tuesday. The Rays would take the game 2-1, and now sit at 37-49 on the year.
David Price had a disappointing start… well, relatively speaking he did. It was the first game in 6 starts that Price did not strike out 10 batters (he struck out 9), and the first time in 5 starts he didn’t go 8 innings (he went 7.0). Still, Price did more than enough to get the win in this one, giving up just 1 run on 4 hits, though he did walk a higher than normal 3 batters. As usual, his command was spot on, and his changeup was especially sharp on the night. He also was helped out by some great pitch framing from Jose Molina. Price has been putting on a clinic lately, and that continued in this game. If he is going to be traded this summer, he sure is doing his best to make sure he makes an impact until the bitter end.
If we are already talking about pitchers that have been outstanding lately, then Jake McGee deserves credit as well. He would put up yet another scoreless inning in this game, also striking out a batter. McGee hasn’t given up a run since June 5th, throwing 10.2 innings since then, striking out 15 and walking 3. On the season his ERA sits at an amazing 1.21. Grant Balfour would come on for the 9th and worked around a pair of walks to lock down the save. Since allowing 5 runs in his outing on June 8th, Balfour has only given up 2 runs in his last 9.1 innings. His control has been much better as well, as he has walked only 3 hitters over that time after walking almost a hitter per inning before then. Overall, you have to be encouraged by how he has been pitching as of late.
Offensively, the Rays started things off in the 4th inning when Logan Forsythe drove in Matt Joyce with a single. Forsythe would go 2-4 in the game as he continues a recent hot streak. On June 15th his average sat at just .178, but he has bounced back in a big way over the last couple of weeks and is now hitting .248 on the season. The Yankees would tie the game in the bottom of the 4th, but thanks to a James Loney solo home run in the 6th the Rays were able to take the lead once again. That would be all the scoring in this game, but it was enough to get the job done thanks to a great job by the pitching staff.
As far as individual performances go, there were plenty of players that had a good day at the plate. On top of Forsythe’s two hits, Loney, Evan Longoria, and Desmond Jennings all had two hits. After many of the Rays key cogs in the lineup have struggled to find consistency this year, it is good to see some of them starting to get hot. If the Rays want any hope of making up their 10 game deficit in the AL East, it all starts with getting their lineup mainstays to produce.