Despite Jeremy Hellickson and the Bullpen's best efforts, the Rays were three-hit by the Texas Rangers and lost 2-0. Arlington was a blistering 100 degrees, but Scott Feldman didn't mind.
Feldman started the Rangers' opening day last season, but knee surgery kept him in the bullpen until today's start. He relied on a sinker (that was faster than his fastball) to fool the Rays and went 6.0 innings: 2 hits, 1 walk, 0 runs. The Texas relief then kept the Rays to one hit the final three innings, ending the game on a double play.
Hellickson had "the stuff" to win, had the offense shown up. He barely wandered from his fastball/change-up combo. Although he did allow ten base runners, the only damage done was a towering homer by Josh Hamilton (the announcers proclaimed it was the longest longball they'd seen) and then three base hits to plate a runner. Hellickson finished his quality start and then took his seat. The bullpen allowed only one hit from there on.
For more detail on the Rays best scoring opportunity, let's go back to that game ending double play:
The Rays best scoring chance came off of Neftali Feliz in the ninth when The Legend, Sam Fuld, knocked a single to right and Desmond Jennings walked on five pitches. Unfortunately, Johnny Damon would pop up to right on the very next pitch and even though Ian Kinsler dropped the ball, he was able to force out Jennings at second. Evan Longoria would make some mighty hacks at a few 99MPH heaters before getting fooled on the offspeed pitch and grounding into the double play to end the game.
- Evan Longoria made a great out at home, getting the runner from third on a ball tomahawked into the grass.
- J.P. Howell made an out at first to end the eighth, sliding into the bag after Casey Kotchman tracked down the ball trickling up the first-base line and tossed it over.
- Hellboy pitched out of two bases-loaded jams.
- This was Tampa Bay's 13th shut-out of the season.
- The Yanks unfortunately beat Boston last night, pushing the Rays farther back in the wild card to 8.5 games back. Pray for Boston and the Rays to hit their stride the next two games and the standings could show 4.5 games instead.