With the Buccaneers, the saying goes, “on defense, it all starts up front.” With the Rays, it all starts on the mound.
If they get the pitching they need, everything else falls in place. The last two games in Seattle are a perfect example of that.
Tuesday, David Price was dominant, works nine innings, strikes out 12. Gives up just one run and doesn't walk one batter and the Rays use that to grind out a 2-1 win.
Wednesday, it's Jake Odorizzi on the mound and he doesn't give up a hit until the 6th inning. And again, the Rays needed that because they manage only three hits -- that's it, three hits.
The Rays get a 2-0 shutout and their two runs come on a bases loaded walk and a wild pitch.
But when the Rays get pitching like this, when the pitching works like it's supposed to, the Rays will win games like this. Why?
Because it's their hitting history. In the last five years, they have been one of the best teams in baseball and the hitting has always been streaky.
Plus, another set of breaks that seem to go the Rays way -- when they are in a losing skid, (as they have been) they don't lose that much ground in the division because everyone else is losing.
As of this writing, the first place Orioles have dropped four in a row, the Yankees in second place have lost four in a row. So while the Rays were losing game, they were not really losing ground, they are still (as of right now) just four games out.
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