Thoughts on Agonizing Loss in Chicago and Tonight’s Lineups

The 12-inning defeats earlier in the week against the Yankees and Twins were agonizing, but Friday night’s loss to the Chicago White Sox was the most difficult of the young season for the 10-13 Rays.

For one, the Rays lost two leads, one of 4-1, and then 6-4 in the ninth.  Certainly lost leads by your closer are especially tough to take, but the defeat doesn’t hang only on Grant Balfour.

Yes, the Rays scored six runs against a team that had the league’s highest ERA coming into the game (5.20), and 10 hits and 11 walks were certainly a positive.  However, after scoring four two-out runs in the second inning, the Rays didn’t have another hit with runners in scoring position the rest of the game (3-for-13 overall).  The Rays also hit into three double plays.

Defensively, the Rays made several terrific plays throughout the game.  However, the Rays could have bailed out Balfour by turning the double play on the speedy Adam Eaton.  Ben Zobrist admitted afterward he didn’t get the ball cleanly to Yunel Escobar, and then cost the Rays.

In addition, Chris Archer lost a 4-1 lead, allowing four straight hits in one sequence.  Archer didn’t walk a batter, but said afterward he could have executed better.  Balfour’s biggest issue was that he got away from his fastball, as Joe Maddon accurately said after the game.   During one stretch in that ninth inning, Balfour threw 19 pitches – 15 sliders.  That’s far too many.

As Maddon says, the way a loss like this impacts the 10-13 Rays is if the players allow it to do so.  Here are the lineups for Saturday’s 7:10 start:

Ben Zobrist – 2B

Desmond Jennings – CF

Wil Myers – RF

Evan Longoria – 3B

Sean Rodriguez – LF

James Loney – 1B

Logan Forsythe – DH

Yunel Escobar – SS

Ryan Hanigan – C

Cesar Ramos starts for the Rays, and will be opposite John Danks.  Here’s the lineup for Chicago:

Adam Eaton – CF

Marcus Semien – 3B

Jose Abreu – 1B

Dayan Viciedo – RF

Paul Konerko – DH

Alexei Ramirez – SS

Alejandro De Aza – LF

Gordon Beckham – 2B

Adrian Nieto – C

Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m on the Rays Radio Network, and Dave and Andy will have the call.


1 Comment

I was thoroughly disgusted with Balfour’s approach to the lineup he was facing. With a 2 run lead make them hit some fast balls mixed with a slider obviously not walks. The team worked so hard to get into the lead and he let the whole team down. I don’t expect perfection but some common sense from our closer. Nice team response Saturday. Go Rays!! Listening on MLB while visiting South West US.

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