Thanks to home runs from both Kelly Shoppach and Sean Rodriguez, the Rays won last night’s game against the Florida Marlins by a score of 5-1. Florida’s starter Brad Hand struggled with his command at times last night, walking three batters over only 4.1 innings, and he left pitches over the plate on more than one occasion. This spotty location did him in, as Rodriguez and Shoppach both took advantage of fat pitches left over the middle of the plate.
On the other side, Rays’ starter Wade Davis pitched well last night, only allowing one run over six innings, but it was still a difficult start to watch. Davis allowed a large amount of baserunners and had to escape out of a few jams, and he still struggled with putting batters away. As Erik Hahmann noted over at DRaysBay:
It’s been a maddening season for those of us who watch Davis. He isn’t able to put guys away when he gets ahead in the count. There were at least two at bats last night that lasted 8+ pitches — foul balls battering helpless fans every few seconds. The constant fouling off of pitches reminds me of watching Kazmir at the beginning of his decline. Of his 98 pitches, 65 were fastballs, but he did mix in 16 sliders which was nice to see. The Marlins only chased two of them, but Davis managed to register 75% of them for strikes. Until he finds a way to put away hitters, presumably by either pumping his fastball up to 94 mph or accurately locating his breaking pitches, he’s going to run into the same issues and we as fans will continue nervously biting our nails as we watch.
The Yankees got shut down by Doug Davis yesterday (yes, that’s right — Doug Davis), so the Rays are now only 3 games behind them for the AL Wild Card. The Red Sox won over Milwaukee, though, so they’re still 5.5 games behind them in the division race.
For more analysis on last night’s game, check out the work done over at DRaysBay.