How Will the Rays React to the Perfect Game?
Yesterday, the Rays got perfect-gamed by Felix Hernandez. How will they respond today as they start a series with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim? (Well, they certainly won’t go to Disneyland.) Let’s look back at how the Rays have done in the past after getting no-hit.
The day after Derek Loweno-hit the Devil Rays a little over 10 years ago on April 27th, 2002, the Rays’ game against the Red Sox was mercifully rained out. However, the no-hit loss was their 3rd in a row, and the losing streak wound up making it to 15 games before being broken on May 11th. Let’s just say that it wasn’t pretty. The Devil Rays were terrible in 2002, losing 106 games, and nothing nearly as catastrophic is going to happen to the Rays this year.
The day after Mark Buerhle’s perfect game on July 23rd, 2009, the Rays came back with a 4-2 win over the Toronto Blue Jays in 10 innings as Matt Garza went 9 innings with 9 strikeouts and Evan Longoria drove in 3, including a 2-run double in the 10th inning. The Rays also won the next day versus the Jays in a 10-9 slugfest.
As it turned out, the day after Dallas Braden’s perfecto on 5/9/10, the Rays began a three-game set with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium. They lost the first game 5-4 in 11 innings in backbreaking fashion as they came back from a 4-0 deficit with 3 runs in the 9th inning, including a 2-run double by Evan Longoria before falling in an 11th inning walk-off sac fly by Juan Rivera. Matt Garza went 7.2 innings for the Rays allowing 4 runs.
Wait a second! Matt Garza, the only pitcher to ever throw a no-hitter for the Rays, pitched the day after a no-hitter twice? That’s pretty uncanny.
The Rays proceeded to win the next two games 7-2 (beating Scott Kazmir) and 4-3 (beating Jered Weaver) to take the series 2 games to 1. The Rays went 8-2 in their next 10 games following the no-hitter.
The three no-hitters above occurred on series finales so the Rays played a different team in their next game. Edwin Jackson’s bizarre 8-walk, 6-strikeout no-hitter happened in the series opener of the Diamondbacks versus the Rays, so there were two games still to play. The Rays actually won the next game 5-3 as Ian Kennedy struck out 7 but walked 9 in 5.1 innings and was far from pitching a no-hitter and David Price struck out 11 in 8 innings of 2-run ball. Amazingly, the Diamondbacks had their third consecutive starting pitcher walk more than he struck out in the series’ final game as Rodrigo Lopez walked 5 versus 3 strikeouts, but he allowed just 1 run in 6 innings as the D-Backs beat Wade Davis and the Rays 2-1. The Rays then went 8-2 in their next 10 games again.
(Garza pitched the day before the no-hitter.)
Yes, Garza’s gem actually went the Rays’ way on July 26th, 2010. We can’t talk about the Rays getting no-hit all these times without mentioning the one time they’ve no-hit somebody else! Garza’s no-hitter was the third game of a 7-game winning streak by the Rays and 11 of 12 wins.
How will the Rays react to getting perfect-gamed by Felix Hernandez? Well, history tells us they’ll either go on a winning streak or a really long losing streak. We would much rather go with the former. The perfect game is a reality check- even with Evan Longoria back, the Rays offense has a lot of work still to do. Hopefully the Rays can get back on track in Anaheim and continue their run towards the postseason.