Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Rays pitching steps up against two of AL's most potent offenses

James Shields’ shutout caps a six-game run in which Rays pitchers post a 2.21 ERA against the Yankees and Rangers.

JAMES BORCHUCK | Times

James Shields’ shutout caps a six-game run in which Rays pitchers post a 2.21 ERA against the Yankees and Rangers.

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays had been pitching well. But for the past week, they were nothing short of great.

Facing two of the most potent teams in the Yankees, who lead the majors in home runs, and the Rangers, who are tops in hits and runs (and had been shut out only three times before Sunday), the Rays posted a dazzling performance: a 2.21 ERA (14 earned runs) and a .169 opponents average (33 hits) as they went 4-2.

"We're just trying to keep that momentum going, trying to feed off each other," RHP James Shields said. "That's what we're here to do, to pitch well and win ball games."

They're going to need to keep it up, especially this week as they head out to play the two teams ahead of them in the AL East race, the Orioles and their final series of the season with the Yankees.

"We've played great defense, and we've pitched so well," manager Joe Maddon said. "If we could just somehow turn up that offensive dial just a click more on a consistent basis."

HIT AND MISS: With his fifth-inning strikeout, 1B Carlos Peña tied his 2008 team season record of 166, third most in the majors this season behind the White Sox's Adam Dunn and the Yankees' Curtis Granderson.

On the positive side, Peña twice singled to leftfield, going to the opposite field rather than into the shift, his first game with two hits that way since opening day and only his third in three seasons.

"Since the beginning of September, he's been doing a better job of staying on the ball," hitting coach Derek Shelton said. "It's going back to trying to be as simple as possible."

BACKED UP: LF Desmond Jennings was out of the lineup for a second straight game due to lower-back tightness. But he said he was feeling better and planned to come in early today before the team left for Baltimore to get treatment and work out, with plans to return to the lineup Tuesday. Maddon said from what he heard from head athletic trainer Ron Porterfield, that might be the case. "There's a pretty good chance he may play on Tuesday," Maddon said. "I'm not 100 percent sure."

PRICE CHECK: Ace LHP David Price, who skipped his Saturday start due to shoulder soreness, remains on track to start this weekend in New York, though a key test will come Tuesday when he throws a bullpen session. "He said he felt good," Maddon said.

MINOR MATTERS: Short-season Class A Hudson Valley beat Brooklyn (Mets) 8-1 to extend its NY-Penn League playoff series to a third and decisive game tonight, and will have 2011 top draft pick RHP Taylor Guerrieri on the mound. … Double-A Montgomery lost 11-4 to Mobile (D'backs) on Sunday and was eliminated from the Southern League playoffs, three games to one.

MISCELLANY: The Rays wives and girlfriends group, led by Alison Shelton, raised $34,000 for All Children's Hospital with Saturday's Mystery Ball event. … The 2:15 game time was the Rays' shortest of the season. … RHP Burke Badenhop hasn't pitched since Sept. 2 but said there are no physical issues. … The Rays won the season series from Texas 5-4. … Texas starter Roy Oswalt left after two innings with muscle soreness near his elbow.

Tampa Bay Rays pitching steps up against two of AL's most potent offenses 09/09/12 [Last modified: Sunday, September 9, 2012 9:25pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays Kevin Cash: "We've got to turn it around. ... Time is of the essence"

    Blogs

    The question to manager Kevin Cash was about a rematch with the Mariners this weekend at the Trop, but he made clear this afternoon that with his Rays losing nine of their last 12 that they have to treat every game as essential.

    "We've got to turn it around,'' Cash said. "You can only delay it for so long and …

  2. Rays, Bucs and Lightning join Dungy in donating to move Confederate monument

    Bucs

    The Tampa Bay area's three major league sports teams have pledged their financial support in moving a Confederate monument out of downtown Tampa.

    Tony Dungy in 2011. [Getty]
  3. Tim Tebow came into their life, and never left

    Minors

    There are a lot of stories about Tim Tebow connecting with people during his life, Tebow inspiring them and Tebow being inspired.

    Boomer Hornbeck of Naples, Fla., has battled cerebral palsy and undergone surgery after surgery in the hopes of allowing him to one day walk. Inspired by Tim Tebow, and encouraged by his relationship with him, Hornbeck has become a motivational speaker.
  4. For starters: Rays at Jays, with Longoria moved to No. 2 spot in order

    Blogs

    UPDATE, 3:10: Cash said the change was made primarily for two reasons, to change the look for several of the hitters and to get back to alternating lefty and righty hitters to make it tougher for opposing managers to match up relievers. Cash said he plans to stick with this structure for a while but doesn't …

    Evan Longoria was moved from his usual No. 3 spot in the batting order up to second.
  5. The legacy of Tim Tebow's baseball summer

    Minors

    CLEARWATER — It was about three weeks ago. A Saturday night. I sat behind home plate at a Charlotte Stone Crabs game at Charlotte Sports Park. There was a professional baseball scout sitting just behind me with a speed gun in his hand. He had seen the whole thing.

    Seth Bosch, left, of Punta Gorda, Fla., met Tim Tebow in Port Charlotte, Fla., in late July when Tebow, while in the on-deck circle during a game, shook hands with Seth through the backstop screen. The moment was captured on video by Seth's mother, as was the home run Tebow promptly hit in his ensuing at bat. Seth, who has high-functioning autism and other health issues, celebrated wildly and the video went viral. PHOTO PROVIDED