Jeremy Hellickson walks to the dugout at the end of the third inning after his throwing error led to a couple of runs scoring. (Photo courtesy of Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
After facing RA Dickey 10 times over the last three seasons, while averaging just 2.4 runs per game in each of those starts, one thing has become certain: if you’re lucky enough to take a lead against the knuckleballer, then you’d better try your damnedest to hold it. The Rays did both Saturday. They were able to take a lead against Dickey, yet they gave it up in one fateful — error filled — inning. Despite a game tying sixth inning solo shot to left off the bat of Evan Longoria (his 21st homer of the year), the typically dependable Brad Boxberger gave up three runs an inning later, giving Toronto a 6-3 lead they wouldn’t relinquish. We in the blogosphere have deemed this the stereotypical (and clichéd) Rays loss.
A few thoughts/peripherals:
- A comedy of errors… Or, at least fielding gaffes. The Rays’ un-doing began in the bottom of the third, when Ryan Goins struck out but reached first on a wild pitch by Jeremy Hellickson. Anthony Gose followed with a single to center, before Reyes put down a bunt single that Hellickson threw wild to first. Goins scored on the play, and then Bautista drove home Gose with an infield single off Hellickson’s glove. Lind grounded into a fielder’s choice to drive home Reyes, giving the Blue Jays a 3-2 lead. “An error by me, and me not being able to field my position, period,” said Hellickson. “That was pretty embarrassing. Those plays have to be made.”
- Is Brad Boxberger running out of gas? It’s a fair question, since he’s now given up homers in back-to-back outings for the first time since June 24th and 27th. Moreover, he yielded three runs in those two outings after giving up only two runs in his previous 15-2/3 innings of work. Boxberger pitched in 79-1/3 innings last between the Padres and their AAA farm club — his high water mark. He’s accrued 72-1/3 between Durham and Tampa Bay this season — a number that doesn’t include the handful of unofficial appearances that do not toward his inning totals. He’s quickly approaching his innings threshold, and one wonders how much of an effect that may be having on Boxy? In a land where assumptions rule, we may be looking at the effect of depending too heavily on the plus arms in the pen, in lieu of those who couldn’t get the job done. Moving forward, the Rays front office should make some moves to bolster the 2015 bullpen.
- To that end, the Trib’s Roger Mooney writes that Boxberger’s workload isn’t a concern at the moment.
The New What Next
The Blue Jays chose to go with Mark Buehrle instead of the previously scheduled Marcus Stroman this afternoon. I’d imagine that speaks volumes for how they see today’s game. Buehrle will be opposed by Chris Archer, who’s coming off an improved 6-1/3 inning outing against the Yankees. I hate to even bring it up, though someone has to: while the Rays have touched up Buehrle the last three times they’ve faced him, they fell to the Blue Jays in extra innings in each of those games. You can read about Archer in our series preview, and I’ll post the starting lineup when it becomes available.
Rays 9/14/14 Starting Lineup
- It looks like Ben Zobrist’s understudy will be promoted to the Rays:
- In a piece about how the Rays may go about cutting the payroll in 2015, Marc Topkin expects the Rays to pick up Ben Zobrist’s $7.5 MM option, while also noting, “Of the five previously eligible for arbitration who combined to make about $10 million this season, a few are potential trade candidates, such as OF Matt Joyce and RHP Jeremy Hellickson, which could save around $10 million, while others will get paid, such as LHP Jake McGee, who was a $1.45 million bargain this year.”