To be completely honest with you, around the bottom of the fifth inning I stopped watching this baseball game. The scene of Felix Hernandez striking out Rays batters occurred more often than John Cusack escaping certain death in the movie 2012*. By the end of the fourth inning James Shields had done his best “Mr. Bean Goes to the Rogers Centre” impression, giving up a season-high 4 Home Runs to the worst offense in baseball.
*I would have rather watched the movie 2012 than this baseball game. That should tell you something.
When I stopped watching it was 8-0 in favor of the Mariners. Felix Hernandez wasn’t going to allow 8 runs in a baseball game on planet Earth. He was especially not going to give up his lead to a lineup featuring such names as Felipe Lopez, Sam Fuld, Reid Brignac, and the ever-spectacular-against-even-the-best-right-handed-pitcher Kelly Shoppach.
The Rays did eke out a run in the sixth (I’m reading from the box score here, as I was watching Russell Crowe murder Romans in Gladiator at the time) so there’s that. I feel like members of the offense took the whole grunge road trip theme too far; some of them were definitely doing Kirk Cobain impressions at the plate (i.e. no longer doing anything).
One hitter who was decidedly alive and kicking was Matt Joyce. He went 2-4 with a double and, ho-hum, another home run off of a left-handed pitcher. Joyce is one of the scariest hitters in the league right now. It’s a shame there’s no place for players like that to showcase their talent (unless, of course, they wear pinstripes.) Oh yeah, and just to make sure his day as my fantasy superstar was complete, Joyce stole third after his double in the first.
Another performance which deserves a group golf clap was that of Juan Cruz. Cruz entered in the top of the fifth inning in relief of James Shields and was able to give the Rays 3 innings of shutout baseball to keep the bullpen in decent shape. With Sonnanstine set to start tomorrow, there’s no real long man in the bullpen. Cruz’s innings helped keep the Rays’ high leverage relievers rested for games the Rays aren’t getting demolished in. With Sonnanstine starting tomorrow, we’ll need every bullpen arm we’ve got rested and ready to go.