The Rays defeated the Chicago White Sox by a final score of 3-0 to improve to a season high 8 games over .500 at 48-4o. The White Sox have now lost 8 of their last 10 games as they fall to 34-50 on the year. The victory clinches the season series over the White Sox something that the Rays have only been able to do 3 prior seasons (1998, 2008, and 2010).
Matt Moore (12-3, 3.42 ERA) earned the victory holding the White Sox scoreless through 6.1 innings of work allowing 5 hits while striking out 6 walking 2 and hitting 2 batters.
He combined with Jake McGee (0.2 innings – on just one pitch), Joel Peralta (1.o inning), and Fernando Rodney (1.0 inning) to record the clubs 10th shutout of the season tying them with the Cleveland Indians for the American League lead.
It was also the teams 25th shutout since the beginning of the 2012 which leads the Major Leagues. The next closest team is the LA Angels with 21. Over their last 13 games the Rays have allowed just 28 earned runs over 118 innings for a league leading 2.25 ERA.
Moore has been outstanding over is last 4 starts which is quite a stark contrast to his previous three starts. During a rough stretch covering his first three starts in June he posted a record of 0-3 with a 13.86 ERA (19ER/12.1IP) and allowed 26 hits walking 11 and striking out only 11. Over his last 4 starts he has posted a 4-0 record record with a 1.40 ERA (4ER/25.2IP) allowing 15 hits striking out 30 and walking 14. Overall his numbers do suggest a pitcher worthy of an All-Star nod.
Moore certainly has pitched like an All-Star this season but he was not named to the team. Joe Maddon said “He’s certainly pitched like an All-Star. There’s still an opportunity, possibly, we’ll see how it all shakes out the next couple days. That’s his 12th win, I really believe his last three start he’s gotten better. I know you look at the record, you think he’s been pitching great all year, but I think the last three starts as the game is in process he keeps getting better, and I saw that again tonight.”
Moore himself was not upset about not making the All-Star team and was happy for Ben Zobrist. “I think that those decisions were all subject to people’s opinion and things like that. By no means do I feel right taking away from anybody who did make the team. I’m very happy for Zobrist. He’s a great player to take off this team, as far as winning one game; he can make the difference, very versatile, can do a lot of things. I’m extremely happy for Ben, and hopefully we can get a win in the All-Star game and that’ll set us up nice for the playoffs.”
Fernando Rodney recorded his 19th save on the season and his 10th save in a row. His last blown save came back on May 25th against the New York Yankees. In his 17 appearances since May 25th he has posted an ERA of 2.07 ( 4ER/17.1IP) striking out 23 and walking 6.
The Rays jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the 2nd inning. Yunel Escobar led off with a single and moved up to second on an error by 3b Conor Gillaspie that allowed Jose Lobaton to reach first. Luke Scott drove in Escobar with a double and Lobaton scored on a fielders choice off the bat of Desmond Jennings. The double by Luke Scott was the first extra base hit by a left handed batter allowed by Chris Sale this season.
The Rays increased their lead to 3-0 with a run in the bottom of the 6th inning. Wil Myers led off the inning with an infield hit and hustled his way into 3rd base on a ground out to 3rd before coming in to score on a 2-out RBI single by Sam Fuld. Myers has now hit safely in 16 of his first 19 career games.
Chris Sale (5-8, 2.78 ERA) was the hard luck loser for the White Sox working 7 innings allowing 3R/2ER on 6 hits striking out 9 and walking 1. Over his last 7 starts he has an 0-6 record with an ERA of 3.10. In those starts he has struck out 62 batters while only walking 10.
Robin Ventura said of Sale’s performance, “You can’t expect him to blank everybody. He’s pitching fine, competing and doing all the things you want him to do. You don’t get any runs, it kind of seems like it’s wasted. Good job y him, we just need to put some points on the board.”
The losing is starting to grind on Sale and the White Sox, “Yeah, I think it’d be frustrating for anybody. Myself and everybody her is frustrated not only when I pitch, just overall.” Sale didn’t allow the black cloud of doubt to consume him saying “But hey, stuff like this happens. It’s part of the game. Just got to get it turned around…Just have to keep chugging along. If you start getting down on yourself, that’s when things go even worse than they are. Just keep chugging along and hopefully we can turn this around.”