The Rays (29-28) could not score against the Mariners (30-27) tonight, even when their competitors began pelting fans with homers. Jason Vargas (4-3) matched his best performance of 2011, pitching a complete 9 innings while allowing only 5 base runners. On the other mound, Andy Sonnanstine (0-2) was just as bad as his advanced statistics suggested he was -- and then some. Sonny allowed a grand total of 7 runs, including 3 home runs, while walking 5 and striking out only 1 batter.
Not that Sonny's weak outing really mattered. The Rays offense looked just as impotent as ever. The top of the lineup did well setting the table -- as Johnny Damon went 1 for 3 with a walk and Ben Zobrist went 2 for 4 -- but the rest of the lineup combined for 1 for 23 night.
In lieu of assailing the reader with negative notes about the Rays terrible loss tonight, let's take hope in some other matters relevant to Rays fans:
- The Durham Bulls (the Rays AAA team) lost tonight, but in no part due to the middle of their lineup. Brandon Guyer, Dan Johnson, and Russ Canzler combined for a 4 for 12 night, all doubles. Guyer and Canzler both appear on the brink of reaching the MLB squad and adding some much needed offense. Johnson may be another hot week or two (or perhaps an injury or two) away from returning as well.
- Reliever Cory Wade pitched another 2 innings tonight for the Bulls, striking out 5 batters in the process. Wade's ERA is now a filthy 1.09, which -- after tonight's stinker -- should have Andy Sonnanstine sweeting.
- Shortstop Hak-Ju Lee (age 20) went 2 for 4 tonight with a walk and a steal for the Charlotte Stonecrabs (the Rays High-A affiliate). Lee now has 15 steals, and a criminal .343/.431/.480 slash line. His days in A-ball seem poised to end -- and for the best.
- Also, in more literary news, best-selling author and AAA pitcher Dirk Hayhurst appears to be healthy and ready to return to action in the Bulls' starting rotation, effective this very Saturday.