Rodney Blows it as Rays Fall 4-3 on Middlebrooks’ Game-Winning Hit

Just when you thought the Rays’ bullpen issues were gone, Thursday night’s disaster reminded us that Tampa simply does not hae the same shut-down ‘pen they had in 2012. Fernando Rodney is at fault for last night’s loss, blowing a 3-1 lead in the ninth giving up three runs.

Starting for the Rays was Alex Cobb, who had his very good outing spoiled by Rodney. He went 6.1 innings deep (92 pitches, 56 strikes), allowing just one run on three hits, two walks and six strikeouts.

The Rays struck first, taking a 1-0 lead via Ryan Roberts’ solo dinger to left.

A David Ortiz RBI double would later tie the game in the fourth.

In the sixth, the Rays delivered with a pair of RBI singles by Desmond Jennings and Luke Scott to break the tie. Scott, now batting .316 on the season, reached base four times Thursday night going 3-4 with a walk in the the No. 2 spot in the lineuep.

Offensively, the Rays didn’t not have one of their better games against young left-hander Felix Doubront. They left 23 men on base in the ballgame, seven of them in scoring position.

James Loney had an off-night (0-4 with 7 LOB), but it was more than likely a result of facing a southpaw. It makes me wonder if the Rays should have a right-handed hitter on the bench outside of backup catcher Jose Lobaton. I think Maddon should at least have him hit further back in the lineup, which he’s already doing to a certain degree.

Skipping to the ninth, Rodney walked the first two batters he faced to start the inning. He then struck out Mike Napoli, walked Daniel Nava to load the bases, and then struck out Stephen Drew for out number two.

Ahead of Will Middlebrooks 0-2, the Rays were a strike away from a big series victory. Following a ball, Middlebrooks lined a game-winning three-run double in the left field gap.

Rodney’s pitch selection was terrible. Why he threw a changeup to a right-handed hitter while he’s throwing 100 MPH fastballs is beyond me. I think I speak for the rest of the stunned Rays Republic here.

Here’s a look at just how wild Rodney—who threw four walks—was in the inning:

The Rays had the meat of their order due up in the bottom of the ninth against closer Junichi Tazawa. They put two runners on base but failed to score.

The Rays now fall back to .500 at 20-20. Instead of 2.5 games behind Boston, they’re now 3.5 behind. Fortunately the Yankees lost again to Seattle, so their division lead remains 4.5 games.

News and Notes:

  • David Price has been placed on the 15-Day DL. Joe Maddon says he may only miss 2-3 starts, though. Alex Torres was called up yesterday as an additional bullpen arm until the Rays decide who will replace him to start on Monday. Jake Odorizzi appears to be the most likely candidate, with Alex Colome also as a possibility.
  • Torres made his 2013 big league debut last night, getting the only batter he faced to groundout in the ninth inning.
  • Evan Longoria was interviewed by MLB Network before last night’s game:

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