The Tampa Bay Rays might not have the best record in baseball but you would have a hard time convincing most right-thinking folks that they are not the best team in baseball. The Rays are primed for a series victory at Fenway Park in Boston, shutting the Red Sox bats completely down twice already in this four game series.
The Rays look like the complete package right now, with their rotation all but back to full strength and their lineup set, inasmuch as any Joe Madden lineup can be “set.”
These aren’t your slightly older brothers Rays, as this team can bash with the best of the American League. But the pitching is really the key – as Red Sox fans are painfully aware.
The Rays have exposed the Red Sox' kryptonite: overpowering LHPs who throw a billion mph and work unrelentingly in the strike zone.
— Alex Speier (@alexspeier) July 25, 2013
After Matt Moore mowed down the Red Sox with a dominant performance on Monday night, David Price followed it up with more domination. Last night, David Price tossed a complete game in which he allowed just five hits and one run without walking a single hitter. For the fifth time since he came off the disabled list (on July 2), David Price lasted at least seven innings. For the fifth time since he came off the DL, David Price’s pitch count did not reach 100.
Other than the 10 strikeout, 70 pitch performance against Houston (his first start back), Price has not posted gaudy strikeout totals. Just good, old fashioned overpowering stuff and ye olde weak contact. Mixed with precise command (just one walk compared to 27 strikeouts), it makes for a great month.
Price isn’t alone in dominating opponents during the Rays. Matt Moore has performed even better in the month of July, posting a sparkling 0.91 ERA (2.00 FIP) over 29+ innings.
The entire Rays staff is pitching phenomenally. The below chart plots ERA and innings pitched/game over the last 30 days for all starting staffs in the majors. The Rays…well the Rays stand out.
As if consistently good starting pitching going deep into games isn’t enough, the Rays ALSO happen to play pretty spectacular defense behind their superlative hurlers.
It’s a good time to be the Rays, though it is still just July. There is plenty of time of this this collection of bonus babies and scumbag castoffs to go belly up. It just doesn’t seem that likely, you know?
And the rest
- Horrible scenes in New York last night as Braves pitcher Tim Hudson fractured his ankle while covering first base. Mets outfielder Eric Young Jr. stepped on Hudson, causing the horrific injury. Rather than show the injury, here is a screen grab of Young going over to console Hudson as he was taken from the field.
— Addison McNutt (@AddisonM11) July 25, 2013
Eric Young Jr. was visibly upset after the incident, appearing to wipe tears from his eyes at one point. A freak happening that could happen on just about every banger at first. Tough break for the Braves and for their well-liked veteran pitcher.
- Matt Garza made his debut for the Texas Rangers last night. Matt Garza won a lot of fans last night, leading the Rangers over the Yankees.
- If the Dodgers end up winning the National League West by a single game, they’ll have Colby Rasmus to thank.
- Alex Rodriguez is a magnet for insanity.