In both teams’ next-to-last series of the 2014 season, the Tampa Bay Rays and the Boston Red Sox matched up in the rubber game on Thursday night. Jeremy Hellickson started for the Rays hoping to put in a solid performance after four ho-hum outings recently. I know Hellickson wanted to make a statement in his last start of what must have been a very frustrating season, but this unimpressive outing was more of a question mark as he didn’t make it out of the third inning and the Rays lost 11-1 to the Red Sox.
Despite getting ahead in the count on every batter he faced in the first inning, Hellickson was smacked around pretty well by Boston in the opening frame giving up three solid hits and one run. The Rays answered in the second with a big two-out hit by the hot-hitting Ben Zobrist, scoring Ryan Hanigan from second to tie the game at one. But struggling again in the second, Hellickson lost the tie, giving up a two-run moon shot home run to Christian Vazquez to give the Red Sox 3-1 lead. With one out in the third, Hellickson’s night was over after Boston made it 4-1.
After Steve Geltz relieved Hellickson with two runners on, Rusney Castillo jumped on Getlz’ first pitch and sent it to the screen over the Green Monster to give his team a 7-1 advantage. The Red Sox added two runs each in both the sixth and seventh innings to increase their lead to their final winning margin of 11-1.
It certainly must be challenging to play out the string when you miss the playoffs. It has been difficult for Joe Maddon and the coaching staff to light a fire under the team and it showed in this game. Of the eight hits the Rays could muster, all singles by the way, none came with less than two outs in an inning. I guess we can give the batters who came up with those hits credit for not throwing in the proverbial towel, but a team isn’t going to win many games when all you have in your holster is eight two-out singles. Two of the hits did come from Evan Longoria, and Cesar Ramos, Kirby Yates, and Grant Balfour combined for 3.2 perfect relief innings while the Rays’ other four pitchers struggle.
The Rays head to Progressive Field to end the 2014 season, with the first of the series beginning at 7:05 PM on Friday night. Chris Archer takes the hill against potential Cy Young candidate Corey Kluber as the Tampa Bay Rays will aim to end the Cleveland Indians’ playoff hopes.