It’s not often that the Rays are swept on their home turf at Tropicana Field or swept at all. Unfortunately, when you go up against a red-hot team, such as the Chicago White Sox the brooms are likely to come out, no matter the opponent or where the game is played.
When you’re hot, you’re hot and the White Sox with their 4-3 win over the Rays on Wednesday afternoon extended their season-high winning streak to eight games and their hold on first place in the AL Central.
The eight-game winning streak is the Sox longest since taking nine-in-row from July 4 through July 15, 2010 and by sweeping the Rays, won consecutive series via a sweep for the first time since Aug. 30-Sept. 6, 2010.
This was also the first White Sox three-game sweep over the Rays at Tropicana Field – the last sweep over the Rays was June 25-28, 2007 in a four game series in Chicago.
The Rays were looking to snap their two-game losing streak as they sent Alex Cobb (2-1, 3.71) to the hill to try and shut down Chicago’s bats.
Regrettably, Cobb had difficulties from the onset of the game, hitting Gordon Beckham who eventually came around to score the game’s first run in the top of the first inning on Alex Rios single following Paul Konerko’s base hit that had advanced Beckham to second.
Cobb put himself into a jam in the second inning, loading the bases with no outs, but was able to get out of the inning unscathed as Alejandro De Aza grounded into a force-out, striking out Beckham and getting the dangerous Adam Dunn to fly out deep to center field.
Chicago would add two more runs in the third to take a 3-1 lead as Rios doubled with one out and came around to score on Dayan Viciedo’s single. A.J. Pierzynski (hit by Cobb) would then score on a sac fly by Alexei Ramirez.
“I was just trying to go fastball in and it got away from me a little bit,” said Alex Cobb on hitting Pierzynski.
In the fifth, with two outs, Chicago plated another run as Cobb gave up back-to-back doubles to Dayan Viciedo and Alexei Ramirez. For Viciedo, it was his second straight three-hit game, and he has raised his batting average from .196 on May 13, to .291 heading into Thursday’s off-day.
Cobb, who entered the game with a 2.25 ERA this season, gave up four runs (all earned) after allowing four runs combined in his previous two starts this season.
Additionally, the nine hits allowed were a career high – he previously had allowed eight, twice last season. For his career, he’s 3-1 with a 1.78 ERA (30.1-IP, 6-ER) in five starts on the road but only 2-2 with a 4.81 ERA (39.1-IP, 21-ER) in seven starts at home.
“I actually felt really good today. Coming in from the bullpen, I was hitting all my spots, my off-speed stuff was good, they are just a hot team right now. They found some holes and they hit some balls hard…They are hot right now. When a team is hot, good things happen for the,” said Cobb.
Luke Scott and Carlos Pena provided the three runs for the Rays as they each hit home runs. Scott belted his ninth home run in the second inning that tied the game at 1-1 and Pena’s two-run homer, his eighth of the season came with one-out and Jose Molina on first to make the score 4-3.
Offensively the Rays were shut down not just in this game, but the entire series. They totaled just six runs on 14 hits and went 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position. Today’s game was the third in their last five that they were held to less than five hits.
“We had it at the end right there. The right guys coming up in that situation did not get it done. Regardless if we are missing people or not we expect more of ourselves than that. It’s not about the people we are missing. The people that are here we have to figure out more ways to be more creative, more resourceful and get these runs. We’re playing it hard but we’re also making mistakes. We’re not playing really a high level of baseball right now,” said manager Joe Maddon.
Despite owning the American League’s best home record (17-10) and second best in the majors after the Dodgers (21-7), the Rays are 4-9 in their last 13 games at Tropicana Field after starting the season at 13-1.
“They’re a good team. They have great pitching. They came in here really hot at home. We hadn’t done really well here the last few years. To come in here and play the way we did against these guys was a good feeling. These guys are good, they’re going to be in a pennant race until the end and maybe we’ll see them down the road again,” said Chicago catcher A.J. Pierzynski.
For the Rays, it was the first time since last July (25-27) at Oakland and the first time at home since Opening Weekend (2011 – Apr. 1-3) against Baltimore that they had been swept. As well, they have now lost four of their last five games and dropped in second place in the AL East, a half-game back of the Orioles.
With an off-day tomorrow (Thursday) the Rays will now focus on their next opponent the Baltimore Orioles who’ll come in for a three-game series beginning on Friday night.
Baltimore has lost four in row and entering this afternoon’s game the Rays had been tied with the O’s for first place in the AL East. The Rays’ loss however gives the O’s a half-game lead as they enter their game against the Blue Jays tonight (Wednesday) in Toronto.
Baltimore outfielder Adam Jones is riding a career-high 20-game hitting streak, going 29-for-81 (.358) with three doubles, eight homers, 15 runs scored and 17 RBI. It is the longest hitting streak in the majors this year and the longest by an Oriole since Brian Roberts hit in 20 straight from May 9-31, 2005
Probable Pitchers vs. Baltimore
Fri., 6/1: David Price (6-3, 2.71) vs. Wei-Yin Chen (4-1, 3.31)
Sat., 6/2: Jeremy Hellickson (4-1, 2.83) vs. Brian Matusz (4-5, 4.82)
Sun., 6/3: Matt Moore (1-5, 4.76) TBA
Television: SUN (HD), Radio: WDAE 620-AM
Rays: Evan Longoria (Partially torn left hamstring; 15-day DL),Kyle Farnsworth (Right Elbow; 60-day DL), Sam Fuld (Right wrist surgery; 60-day DL), Robinson Chirinos (Concussion; 60-day DL), Brandon Allen (Right quad strain; 15-day DL), Desmond Jennings (Knee strain; day-to-day), Jeff Niemann (Fractured fibula; 60-day DL), Jeff Keppinger (Broken toe; 15-day DL), Brandon Guyer (Torn labrum; out-for-season)
Orioles:Zack Britton (15-day DL; Shoulder impingement), Endy Chavez (15-day DL; Strained oblique), Matt Lindstrom (15-day DL; Ligament tear-finger), Nolan Reimold (15-day DL; Herniated disc), Mark Reynolds (15-day DL; Strained oblique), Brian Roberts (15-day DL; Concussion), Taylor Teagarden (60-day DL; Lower back)
Send the Rays to Kansas Cityfor the All-Star Game
The All-Star voting is underway online at mlb.com and at Tropicana Field.
The Rays have Sean Rodriguez on the ballot at shortstop and Ben Zobrist at second base, along with: Carlos Pena at 1B, Evan Longoria at 3B, Jose Molina at catcher, Luke Scott at DH, and Desmond Jennings, B.J. Upton and Matt Joyce in the outfield.
Longoria is also one of 10 AL candidates for the home run derby. The All-Star Game is July 10 in Kansas City.
For more info: Tampa Bay Rays, Baltimore Orioles
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