ST. PETERSBURG, FL - JULY 3: Pitcher David Price #14 of the Tampa Bay Rays cheers a run against the St. Louis Cardinals July 3, 2011 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. Designated hitter Johnny Damon doubled and scored on an error. The Rays won 8 - 3. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
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almost 2 years ago Update 0 comments
...Not that the Rays have been bad in interleague play: today's win gives them a final 2011 interleague record of 12-6. I'm just very glad that we won't have to watch another pitcher hit this season (until the Rays reach the World Series, that is). I know the NL style of play is more "traditional," but as someone that's grown up in a world in which the DH has always existed, watching too much NL baseball makes my head hurt.
But anyway, on to today's game. While the final score makes it look like the Rays blew the Cardinals out of the water (or air, I guess), this game felt a lot closer. Both teams went back and forth for the first five and a half innings, and while the Rays finally claimed the lead for good in the bottom of the sixth, the Cards threatened to score later on and weren't out of it until the Rays broke open in the bottom of the eighth inning. For a while there, I thought Jeremy Hellickson was going to fall prey to another "LOLfense" performance, but thankfully the Rays showed some offensive life late.
Speaking of Hellickson, he pitched a solid game tonight, lasting 7.1 innings while allowing seven baserunners (6 hits, 1 walk) and striking out two. It wasn't a dominating performance, as his strikeout total was low and he only generated five swinging strikes, but it seemed like he didn't have his best stuff and had to do the best he could. He only had his fastball and changeup working -- he threw three curveballs all game -- and his pitch location wasn't ideal. He left some changeups high in the zone and a few too many fastballs over the plate for my liking, and he allowed two homeruns on the day as a result.
But hey, overall I can't complain -- for a game when Hellickson was essentially working with two pitches, he did a good job of limiting baserunners and working deep into the game. Also, if Longoria had been playing third base today, he only would have allowed two runs instead of three. In the top of the sixth inning, Matt Holliday hit a sharp (but definitely field-able) grounder that got past Sean Rodriguez at third, and then the next batter (Lance Berkman)hit a homerun to tie the score. Ah well, c'est la vie.