Historically championship caliber teams win these types of games.
Games where your most inconsistent starter takes you into the seventh inning and hands the bullpen a four run lead, games where the opposing team gives you nine free passes in addition to the 10 hits your offense puts together for a total of 19 base-runners. On Tuesday night at Tropicana Field, for the Rays, it was all for naught as the Angels rallied late in the game for a come from behind 6-5 win.
Rays’ P Roberto Hernandez (6-13, 4.95) pitched very well and deserved a better fate than a no decision. The only run Hernandez allowed in his six innings was a fourth inning bomb by Mike Trout that travelled 458 feet. The home run by Trout was the longest home run hit at Tropicana Field this year and it was Trout’s third home run of 450+ feet this year. That would be the only blemish on the night for Hernandez who came into the game as the Rays’ back of the rotation starter with a 6-13 record on the season along with a 4.97 ERA.
After Hernandez allowed the first two hitters to reach base in the seventh (the second of which was a bunt that barely stayed fair), manager Joe Maddon made the call to the bullpen, calling in Jake McGee who promptly loaded the bases with a walk. A ground out by Angels’ DH J.B. Shuck made it 5-2 in favor of the Rays before Angels SS Erick Aybar singled driving in two more runners to make the score 5-4. McGee was able to escape without any further damage, but plenty of damage had already been done.
The score stayed 5-4 until the ninth inning as Rays’ closer Fernando Rodney was called in to close out the game. Unfortunately for the Rays’, the game would further unravel as Rodney walked leadoff hitter Peter Bourjos, who promptly stole second base. A rare error by CF Desmond Jennings would put runners on first and third setting the stage for more heroics by Aybar. This time Aybar doubled off of Rodney bringing home both runners for a 6-5 lead and a blown save for Rodney.
Only time will tell if these current Rays are a championship caliber team. With only a few weeks left in the season, we’ll find out soon enough.
The loss was the 15th game this season the Rays have blown a lead in the 7th inning or later, and the 12th time they’ve lost such a game