To say that Tampa Bay Rays P Matt Garza didn’t have his stuff working last night would be an understatement. Garza was horrible. Matt only lasted three innings before getting the hook from manager Joe Maddon. Garza surrendered 7 hits and 4 earned runs in just three innings, but three innings where he threw 84 pitches, nearly 40 in the third inning alone.
So after 4 innings of play, Tampa was down 5-1 and it was looking pretty bleak for the home team. Things turned around in the bottom of the 5th as the Rays put two on the board and it was time for Tampa’s middle relief to go to work. Dan Wheeler, Grant Balfour, Randy Choate and Joaquin Benoit combined to allow only one hit while striking out 6. Benoit has been lights out this season. In 24.2 IP, he has only allowed 9 hits, issued 4 walks and struck out 36 for a WHIP of 0.53. Soriano came on in the 9th to record his 22nd save in 23 tries and the Rays came from behind for the 22nd time this season for the win.
Last night’s game was a great sign. Two weeks ago, once the Rays were down 5-1, they would have just mailed it in and folded like a tent. And while all the ills are not cured (see 3-15 with RISP) it’s great to see the team starting to turn things around.
Tonights match up will see Jeff Niemann (6-2 2.80)for the good guys facing off against Felix Doubront (1-0 5,40) for the Evil Empire. Doubront will be recalled from AAA Pawtucket in order to replace Clay Buchholz who is serving a stint on the 15 day DL with a strained hammy.
Wade Davis, paging Mr. Wade Davis. Maddon told reporters after last night’s game there are some changes coming after the All-Star break. I wonder where I read that about two weeks ago……….. Maddon said, “What we’d like to do is give some people more time going into the second half”. Not unnoticed by this blogger is Jeremy Hellickson, who won again over the weekend to improve his record to 11-2 with an ERA of 2.21 as the Durham Bulls routed the Gwinnett Braves 11-0.