ALDS Game Four Review: Tampa Bay

The Rays got on the scoreboard first in a game. Notable because in the previous three games, they had trailed before scoring their first run (or in game two’s case: when they thought about scoring a run).

Carlos Pena took a lot of heat for his awful performance in game one. Joe Maddon did not start him in game two against C.J. Wilson. Without much in the way of alternatives, Maddon had to throw Pena back in there against the righties in this series and hope the trust and larger sample size would prevail. Sure enough, Pena hit a triple in his first plate appearance today and a double in his second. Giving him a hit of each base variety over his last four plate appearances and giving the Rays a 1-0 lead after Matt Joyce’s blooper dropped in (credited as an error to Ian Kinsler).

Pena would spark another run in the fourth, hitting the second of back-to-back doubles alongside Evan Longoria. B.J. Upton would double two batters later, giving the Rays a 3-0 lead. Longoria would hit a two-run homer in the fifth and the Rays would have five runs on the day and 11 in the last two games —not bad for a team that managed a run in its first 18 innings this postseason.

Wade Davis had a strong start himself by going five, allowing seven hits, a homer, walking three, and striking out seven Rangers. Davis flashed heat and solid breaking stuff throughout along with some conviction. That’s often an overstated part of pitching and one heavily based upon outcomes, but he showed little fear or self-doubt while challenging Josh Hamilton (with a base open) or Vladimir Guerrero (with the bases loaded). A spotless start it was not, however not a bad way to begin a postseason career, and not a bad way to potentially wrap his first full season in the bigs.

The two teams will take a travel day tomorrow and meet one last time in St. Petersburg on Tuesday night. That’s right, it’ll be a night game for the first time in the series. The probable matchup is David Price and Cliff Lee for the third time this season, with the two teams splitting the first two affairs.

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