Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Boston Red Sox blast Tampa Bay Rays 12-2

BOSTON — Of all that went wrong for the Rays in Friday's 12-2 loss to the Red Sox — and with former teammate Kelly Shoppach getting three hits, scoring three runs and stealing his first career base, there was plenty — the most disappointing had to be the performance of starter David Price, who lasted only three innings after throwing 83 pitches.

"Absolutely, it's unexpected," pitching coach Jim Hickey said. "You've seen David as long as I've seen him, and that's probably the first time that's ever happened where it's just been three innings of an extremely high pitch count."

Reassuring to the Rays (4-3) was that Price said he felt fine physically. Frustrating was that they felt he was throwing well. "David actually had really good stuff," manager Joe Maddon said. "He had a great fastball (Friday)."

So what was the issue?

Primarily, a lack of command of his fastball, as 36 of his 83 pitches were balls (after 47 of 107 were in his first start). "That's my biggest thing," Price said.

Beyond that, he didn't have much in the way of an explanation. "I felt good today, just didn't have it," Price said. "That's part of it. I'm going to have 33-34 starts this year, and there's going to be some starts where I don't have it. My body feels good, my arm feels good, it just wasn't there today."

Maddon decided he had seen enough after Price's third inning, a 39-pitch mess that started with Shoppach sticking his left arm into a 2-and-2 pitch — "That's one of his best plays," Maddon said — and ended with a 3-1 Boston lead.

"Once David didn't go back out, I kind of sensed it changed the feel," shortstop Reid Brignac said. "Obviously we want him to go five, six, seven, eight innings every time, but that's not going to happen."

As little as the Rays were doing against Sox starter Josh Beckett (three baserunners after a second-inning run), the game, thanks to three solid innings from Wade Davis, was actually close at 4-1, until the eighth. That's when relievers Joel Peralta, who Maddon acknowledged is "not comfortable yet," and Josh Lueke, who was demoted to Triple A after the game, combined to give up eight runs, turning the 101st opening day at Fenway Park into a celebration for the Red Sox.

"It was a good baseball game that went bad at the end," Maddon said.

The Rays felt their lack of offense (six hits total, ending with Ben Zobrist's ninth-inning homer) was more a result of bad luck (on Friday the 13th) on well-struck balls than bad hitting, though their approach was curious. They saw less than 10 pitches in four innings, including the fifth, sixth and seventh, and six hitters swinging at the first pitch.

"I was not displeased with our at-bats," Maddon said. "It was kind of a nonfortuitous day on our part."

And it was quite a day for Shoppach, who had only two three-hit games in two seasons with the Rays, as he stood in the Boston clubhouse holding the actual base he stole and is planning to have mounted in the sixth. His slide, almost 10 feet short of the bag, will long be a topic of conversation with his former teammates.

"It was awesome," he said. "I know those guys are happy for me to have a good day any time. It's a good group of guys, and I know they didn't want it to happen against them. But I made some good relationships over there, and I'm sure I'll get some text messages. I probably already have about some of the stuff that went on on the field."

It certainly was an unusual day, with Shoppach the prime topic.

Marc Topkin can be reached at [email protected]

 
Comments
Raysí Kevin Kiermaier returns, with energy to spare

Raysí Kevin Kiermaier returns, with energy to spare

HOUSTON — Energy.That's what Kevin Kiermaier said he felt he'd provide most in rejoining the Rays Tuesday against the Astros after missing two-plus months recovering from thumb surgery."I like to think I bring energy on both sides of the ball, ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Rays journal: Blake Snell outlasts Justin Verlander in 2-1 win

Rays journal: Blake Snell outlasts Justin Verlander in 2-1 win

HOUSTON — The starting pitcher walked seven over seven otherwise solid innings Tuesday. That seemed weird enough for the Rays. Then the next pitcher they brought in was the one who started Monday's game. Even more bizarre.And then there was thi...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Marc Topkinís takeaways from Rays-Astros

Marc Topkinís takeaways from Rays-Astros

This is how odd LHP Blake Snell's night was — he became the first pitcher to work seven or more innings and walk at least seven since Edwin Jackson threw his 149-pitch, eight-walk no-hitter at the Rays on June 25, 2010.If you weren't aware of t...
Updated: 9 hours ago
For starters: Rays at Astros, with Kiermaier back and an ace-high matchup

For starters: Rays at Astros, with Kiermaier back and an ace-high matchup

UPDATE, 6:45: Cash said Smith will continue to play a lot, getting time in LF and RF, meaning something of a rotation system for rookie Johnny Field and veteran Carlos Gomez.UPDATE, 4:49: Kiermaier is batting leadoff and playing center as expected, w...
Published: 06/19/18
So, how exactly did the Rays end up losing Monday?

So, how exactly did the Rays end up losing Monday?

The Rays lost Monday's game when Sergio Romo failed them in the ninth inning.Called on to protect what was whittled to a one-run lead from 4-0, Romo got off to a bad start, walking the first batter on four pitches and then allowing a single to the se...
Published: 06/19/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Rays continue to struggle in close games

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Rays continue to struggle in close games

The Rays blow a four-run lead in Houston and lose on a walkoff hit to the Astros in the opener of their three-game series. It's the 19th one-run loss for the Rays this season as they continue to struggle in close games. Fortunately, reinforcements ar...
Published: 06/19/18
Rays DFA Rob Refsnyder to make room for Kevin Kiermaier

Rays DFA Rob Refsnyder to make room for Kevin Kiermaier

The Rays made official after Monday's game that CF Kevin Kiermaier would be activated on Tuesday.And to make room on the 40- and 25 man rosters, they designated for assignment OF Rob Refsnyder.Acquired from the Indians for cash considerations just be...
Published: 06/19/18
Rays journal: A 4-0 lead disappears in loss at Houston

Rays journal: A 4-0 lead disappears in loss at Houston

HOUSTON — The Rays brought up several of their top prospects so they can get as much experience as possible.And Monday that included seeing how the relentless defending champion Astros worked their way back from an early four-run deficit to sco...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/19/18
Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella pondered upside-down pitching in 2005

Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella pondered upside-down pitching in 2005

HOUSTON — Well before the idea of using a reliever to open games, as the Rays did against the Astros Monday for the 12th time, and then bringing in a starter was even a gleam in the eyes of the current Rays staff, former manager Lou Piniella wa...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/19/18
Marc Topkinís takeaways from Rays-Astros

Marc Topkinís takeaways from Rays-Astros

RHP Ryne Stanek continues to look comfortable and confident as the game opener, retiring all five batters he faced. His six starts now cover a complete game, and he has allowed only two runs in the nine innings.OF Carlos Gomez's feelings about not li...
Published: 06/18/18