The Toronto Blue Jays avoided the series sweep by defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 3-0 in a early afternoon affair at Tropicana Field. The loss ends the Rays three game winning streak and the Rays fall to 41-38 on the year while the Blue Jays record climbs back over .500 at 39-38.
Outside of his start against the Miami Marlins Roberto Hernandez (4-9, 4.98 ERA) had his finest start as a Ray. He worked 8+ innings allowing 3R/ER on 6 hits striking out 5 and walking just 1. He threw 118 pitches, 84 for strikes, threw a first pitch strike to 20 of the 30 hitters he faced, and had 11 ground outs. He allowed a 2-out RBI single to Melky Cabrera in the 4th inning, a solo homer to Adam Lind in the 6th, and a solo homer to Edwin Encarnacion to lead off the 9th.
Hernandez felt that this was his best start as a Ray saying “I feel very, very good. As I’m pitching more innings and more innings. I’m feeling more comfortable. I want to win, everybody knows that, but I can’t control that.”
He fell victim to lack of run support and an incredible start by Blue Jays right hander R.A. Dickey (7-8, 4.72 ERA) who resembled the Dickey that won the 2012 N.L. Cy Young award win than the 2013 version. He threw a complete game 2-hit shutout striking out 6 and walking just 1. He threw just 93 pitches (lowest career total for a complete game), 68 for strikes, a first pitch strike to 20 of 29 hitters he faced, and had 11 ground ball outs.
After the game Joe Maddon said that “we didn’t hit, I don’t think one ball hard – even the foul balls were not hit hard. He was just on top of his game and he was good.” He also talked about the Jays series saying “before the series began, two out of three against these guys would have been outstanding. That’s what we got. We just saw a very good pitcher today.” He reiterated that he isn’t worried about the standings and said “I liked the way we played today, we keep playing that game we’re going to win a lot in the second half of the season. That’s the way you play baseball we just got out pitched.”
Dickey’s had his knuckleball dancing and he said, “You know what made it good was it was consistently in the strike zone. I told you it would take some time to un-learn some bad habits that I had icked up trying to compensate for some earlier maladies. It’s starting to take shape a little bit. Hopefully, this will be a springboard for the next hundred innings…It’s hard to say ‘you’re there’ You take it one pitch at a time.”
The Rays have an off-day tomorrow and will take on the Detroit Tigers in a 3-game series starting Friday night at 7:10 p.m. Alex Colome (1-0, 0.00 ERA) will make his 3rd start of the season and is up against undefeated Max Scherzer (11-0, 3.05 ERA).