Let's Not Overlook Rays Jake Odorizzi's Solid Outing In Rays Sweep Of Red Sox
Rays Improve To 16-1 When Receiving A Quality Start
It is important that to take notice of what happened with the Rays before the Boston Red Sox decided to turn yesterday's series sweeping win by the Rays into a carnival.
Jake Odorizzi delivered a quality start (at least 6IP allowing three earned runs or less) by delivering six innings allowing just one earned run on four hist striking out five and walking one.
The outing tied his career high for innings pitched and lowered his ERA to 1.66 (4ER/21.2IP)?over his last three starts?and now has 31 strike outs over his last four starts.
He threw 108 pitches (74 for strikes) which marked the second consecutive start with 100-pitches a first in his major league career.
After the game he talked about gaining confidence in each start not only in himself but in the defense behind him as well.
By fouling off 31-pitches the pesky Red Sox lineup forced his pitch count to climb to 108 in just 6 innings. He was also unable to get a feel of his slow curveball and took the pitch out of his repertoire in favor of a well located fastball.
The goal for nearly all pitches is to throw first pitch strikes and induce early contact. He did deliver a first pitch strike to 14 of the 24 batters he faced but was unable to get the Red Sox to put the ball in play early in the count.
He ran into trouble in the third inning allowing a lead off single to A.J. Pierzynski who moved to third on a double by Grady Sizemore. ?After Jackie Bradley Jr. stuck out swing Brock Holt delivered a sacrifice fly to put the Sox up 1-0.
The Rays came back to tie the game on Evan Longoria's fifth home run to lead off the fourth inning. The home run snapped a 17-game homerless drought by Longoria which was two shy of his career high. It was his first home run since May 6th against the Oriole Chris Tillman.
Longoria is showing signs of heating up. In the three game series against Boston he went 8 for 16 after going 4 for 34 in the 10-games prior to that.
The lead was extended in the fifth inning. The Rays had the bases loaded and one out for Wil Myers who sent a ball to Red Sox third baseman Brock Holt who once again fielded the ball backing up. He threw to second for the force out but Dustin Pedroia's relay to first was not in time to catch Myers as David DeJesus crossed home plate with the Rays third run.
Joel Peralta entered the game in the seventh inning. A.J. Pierzynski led off the inning with an odd double on a slow chopper that evaded the barehanded grab of Rays shortstop Yunel Escobar. After striking out Grady Sizemore for the first out of the inning Red Sox Manager called on Jonny Gomes who had homered off Peralta in three prior plate appearances to pinch hit for Jackie Bradley Jr.
Joe Maddon elected to stick with Peralta and Gomes made him pay by launching a game tying 2-run homer to tie the game at 3-3.
The lead would not last as the Rays came back against Craig Breslow in the bottom half of the inning. Desmond Jennings walked and Evan Longoria singled to put runners at first and second and nobody out.
It was not time for the Rays to go to their bench as Joe Maddon summoned Sean Rodriguez to pinch hit for the left handed hitting Matt Joyce against the lefty Breslow.
Like Joe Maddon in the top half of the inning John Farrell elected to stay with his guy on the mound and Sean Rodriguez blasted a three run homer to put the Rays up 6-3.
The inning continued as James Loney and Brandon Guyer singled between a Wil Myers fl ? ? ? out and Logan Forsythe pop out. Yunel Escobar came up and delivered a 2-out 2-RBI double to extend the Rays lead to 8-3.
It was after he stole second that the barking from the Red Sox dugouts sparked a benches clearing incident (covered in detail here) that led to ejections for Yunel Escobar, Sean Rodriguez, and Jonny Gomes.
Juan Carlos Oviedo came in to work a scoreless eighth inning to extend his scoreless streak in the month of May to 12.2 IP spanning 11 appearances and has only allowed four hits.
Leading 8-3 in the ninth Josh Lueke was brought into the game but was unable to avoid danger allowing 2-runs to score and suddenly the game was 8-5 and a save situation.
Grant Balfour came in with Xander Boegarts on base and if Dustin Pedroia could reach David Ortiz would come to the plate representing the tying run but Balfour was up to the task and retired Pedroia on a ground out to Evan Longoria.
The Rays improve to 23-28 while the Red Sox fall to 20-29. The win went to Joel Peralta who improves to 2-3 with a 5.24 ERA and the loss to Craig Breslow who falls to 2-1 with a 5.51 ERA. Balfour earns his ninth save of the year.
It was the Rays fourth win in a row and fifth in row against the Red Sox. It was the Rays first sweep of the Red Sox since September 9 through 11, 2011.
The Red Sox have now dropped ten games in a row for the first time since June 8 through 19th, 1994.