Roberto Hernandez Sharp But Bullpen Fails
Suddenly the emotional magnitude of losing a 7-run lead on Monday night seemed infantile. Nothing serves as more of a poignant reminder that baseball is just a game – a sport that we follow for pleasure through all of its ups and down than a pitcher lying motionless in the center of the diamond with blood streaming down his face as he is tended to by paramedics and ultimately wheeled off the field on stretcher.
This is exactly what happened in the bottom of the second when Desmond Jennings sent a screaming line drive up the middle that ricocheted off Blue Jays pitcher J.A. Happ face and bounded down the right field line. As the play unfolded Happ lay motionless on the mound with his hands pulled over his head and as soon as the play was over his teammates and medical staff rushed out to tend to him as Tropicana Field fell silent.
Once again the Rays offense scored a handful of runs in one inning and then the bats went silent and the bullpen failed to hold a lead in the late innings as the Blue Jays rallied from 4-1 down to defeat the Rays 6-4. Of the Rays 18 losses this year they have led in 13 of them.
With Jamey Wright and Fernando Rodney unavailable the Rays needed a quality start from Roberto Hernandez and he obliged by going 6-innings allowing 1R/ER on 5 hits striking out 7 while walking only 1. He departed the game with a 4-1 lead and was replaced by an embattled Jake McGee who continued to struggle allowing 2R/ER on 2-hits (1 home run) while striking out 1. Kyle Farnsworth retired one batter in the 8th and allowed 1R/ER on 3 hits and struck out 1. Cesar Ramos recorded the final 2-outs in the ninth by inducing a ground ball double play. Joel Peralta came in to work the 9th inning and gave up 2R/ER on 3 hits (1 home run) striking out 2 and walking 1. With 2-on and 2-out Joel Peralta was replaced by Brandon Gomes who struck out Edwin Encarnacion to end the inning. Encarnacion was not happy after striking out and after tossing his bat and helmet was thrown out of the game by home plate umpire Marty Foster.
J.A. Happ started the game and worked the first 1.1 innings allowing 4R/ER on 5H and walked one. He was replaced by Brad Lincoln who delivered 2.1 scoreless innings allowing 3 hits and a walk before giving way to Aaron Loup who matched Lincoln with 2.1 innings of scoreless ball. Steve Delabar worked 2 scoreless innings before giving way to Casey Janssen who held the Rays in check in the ninth.
Joel Peralta (0-2, 2.51 ERA) took the loss for the Rays who have now lost the first two games of the series and their record drops to 14-18 on the season.
Steve Delabar (3-1, 1.80) got the victory and Casey Jannsen worked the ninth to pick up his 9th save on the year. The Jays extended their win streak to a season high 3 games improving to 13-21 on the year.
Adam Lind capitalized on the one mistake Roberto Hernandez made and put the Blue Jays on the board with a solo home run to right center in the top of the 2nd inning.
The Rays tied the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the second but it could have had more if not for another questionable call by home plate umpire Marty Foster (remember him). Sean Rodriguez led off the inning with a double and moved to third on a single by James Loney. Jose Molina dropped the squeeze bunt to first baseman Edwin Encarnacion whose throw home to catcher J.P. Arencibia was late but but Foster said that Rodriguez never touched home plate and was called out after being tagged by the Jays catcher. Joe Maddon came out to argue the call and was ejected from the game.
On the play James Loney wisely moved from first to third and came home to score on a J.A. Happ wild pitch to tie the game at 1-1 and Jose Molina moved into scoring position. Yunel Escobar singled but Molina was only able to advance to 3rd on the base hit. Desmond Jennings followed Escobar with the hard smash that struck J.A. Happ in the side of the head that scored both Molina and Escobar and Jennings motored all the way to 3rd. Brad Lincoln came in to replace Happ and gave up an RBI single to Ryan Roberts to give the Rays a 4-1 lead. Like last night this outburst would end the Rays scoring for the evening.
After 6 innings Roberto Hernandez departed with the Rays holding a 4-1 lead but Jake McGee came in and immediately gave up a double to Adam Lind and a 2-run homer to Colby Rasmus cutting the Rays lead to 4-3. To his credit McGee did not fall apart and did come back to retire the next three hitters.
Kyle Farnsworth replaced McGee in the 8th inning but gave up a leadoff double to Melky Cabrera who then advanced to 3rd on a passed ball off the glove of Jose Molina and came in to score the tying run on a RBI double off the bat of Jose Bautista. Edwin Encarnacion hit a soft liner just out of the reach of Ryan Roberts for a single advancing Bautista to 3rd. With runners on the corners and nobody out J.P. Arencibia came to the plate but Farnsworth struck him out.
Cesar Ramos replaced Farnsworth and got Adam Lind to hit into a 6-4-3 double play to end the Jays threat.
With the score tied 4-4 Joel Peralta came in to work the 9th and gave up a solo homer to Maicer Izturis to put the Jays ahead 5-4. With 2-outs in the inning Brett Lawrie singled and came in to score on a Melky Cabrera double pushing the Jays lead to 6-4.
Whoever was making the decisions after Joe Maddon was ejected will have to answer why Roberto Hernandez was pulled after 103 pitches when he had not pitched in 10 days?
Why were Jake McGee and Kyle Farnsworth used ahead of fresh arms Cesar Ramos and Brandon Gomes?
The Rays are a team that used to be built on their ability to manufacture runs but recently the Rays are scoring in bunches and then bats go silent the rest of the way.