Rapid Reaction: Rays 9, Rangers 0
September, 30, 2011
By Richard Durrett | ESPNDallas.com
ARLINGTON, Texas -- C.J. Wilson didn't have it, and Matt Moore did. The result: a 9-0 Rays win. Moore pitched seven scoreless innings Friday, while Wilson gave up eight runs, including six in the first three innings. So the Rays take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five American League Division Series. The road team now has won all six playoff games these two teams have played the past two years. Some quick thoughts on the game (more to come from the clubhouse, and thanks to Mark Simon of ESPN Stats & Information for providing some great numbers):
* Wilson just wasn't on his game. His command was wobbly, and he fell behind way too many hitters. He gave up eight runs, six of them earned in five innings. He threw 103 pitches. The six earned runs match his season high, set once on Aug. 27 versus the Angels. Wilson had allowed eight runs only one other time in his career. That was Aug. 5, 2005, versus Baltimore. He pitched just 2 2/3 innings that day and gave up eight runs (all earned) on nine hits.
* Moore was excellent. He fired a fastball in the mid to upper 90s, and kept the Rangers off balance with a nice change and a sharp breaking ball. They managed no runs and two hits in seven innings off him. And this was an offense that hit .320 in September and came in clicking. The Rangers have 11 losses against rookies this season.
* Wilson's six earned runs allowed are tied for the most given up in Rangers postseason history with Cliff Lee, who gave up six in Game 1 of the 2010 World Series.
* Wilson faced 25 batters and went to a 3-ball count on eight of them. In those counts, the Rays had five hits -- including a HR by Kelly Shoppach in the fifth. Wilson had some long at-bats and just wasn't able to get ahead like he wanted.
* Things didn't go well for Wilson starting in the second inning. After breezing through the first on nine pitches, including a one-pitch out on Evan Longoria, Wilson hit Ben Zobrist to start the second. It was not a good omen. He got behind hitters, including 3-1 to Johnny Damon, who blasted a two-run homer to right field. The Rays got three more singles and scored an additional run to make it 3-0. Wilson allowed five earned runs in 21 2/3 innings all season to the Rays (three starts).
* It was rare to see a left-handed batter, Damon, hit a homer off Wilson. He allowed just two of them this season. The last left-handed batter to hit a homer off him was Tampa Bay's Matt Joyce on May 31. Wilson didn't allow a homer to the last 125 left-handed batters he faced in the regular season.
* Damon has 10 career postseason homers (hitting them for the Red Sox, Yankees and Rays). He hit six homers versus LHPs during the regular season, four coming since Aug. 12.
* Josh Hamilton hit a leadoff double in the fourth. But as he took his lead, Adrian Beltre hit a sharp ball to short. Hamilton froze instead of immediately going back to the bag. Sean Rodriguez alertly headed right toward Hamilton and tagged him out. Just like that, a possible rally was snuffed out.
* Hamilton was the only Rangers batter to get a hit off Moore. He had two of them.
* It was very strange to see Hamilton try to bunt in the sixth inning. With the shift on, Hamilton was trying to beat it by going up the third-base line. But in an 8-0 game and with Hamilton being the only guy with a hit off Moore, it was an odd decision. He was awarded a sacrifice at first but then was credited with just an out. The bunt went to the mound, and he was thrown out.
* Shoppach, who went to Fort Worth Brewer High School, had two home runs. He is the first batter to hit two home runs off Wilson in the same game. Shoppach had five RBIs, tying the Rays' postseason record. He had 22 RBIs and hit .176 in the regular season, fifth-lowest among the 355 MLB players who had 200 or more plate appearances this season. Shoppach was 1-for-12 against Wilson in the regular season. The one hit was a HR on Sept. 1. He was 0-for-9 in the playoffs against the Rangers in 2010.
* Scott Feldman came in to relieve Wilson, and pitched three scoreless innings with four strikeouts and two hits.
* Matt Harrison, who started Wednesday and is slated to start Game 3 or 4 next week at Tropicana Field, came in for the ninth to face a few batters. He gave up a walk and a single but also got two outs. Mike Gonzalez came in and allowed one of the inherited runners to score, so that was charged to Harrison.
* Beltre made a rare throwing error in the fifth. With two outs, Beltre's throw to first base was high, allowing Damon to get on base. The next batter, Shoppach, hit his second homer of the game. That accounted for the seventh and eighth runs of the game, both unearned. Beltre had 11 errors in the regular season. He hadn't had an error since July 1.
* The 9-0 loss was the worst shutout loss in Game 1 of a playoff series since the Cubs beat the Padres 13-0 in the 1984 National League Championship Series.