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Rays shut out Yankees to complete three-game sweep

Apr 8, 2012, 5:00 PM EDT

Jeremy Hellickson AP

Jeremy Hellickson allowed three hits over 8 2/3 innings Sunday as the Rays beat the Yankees 3-0 to complete a three-game sweep to start the season.

Hellickson was removed after walking Nick Swisher with his 118th pitch of the afternoon. Fernando Rodney took over and got a one-out save for the second straight day.

The Rays got another homer in this one from Carlos Pena. Including the grand slam in his first at-bat of the season Friday, Pena drove in seven runs in the series. Evan Longoria went 2-for-3 today and 6-for-10 with a homer and three walks in the series.

The Yankees’ on the other hand, got very little from the middle of their order. Robinson Cano, Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira all went without an RBI in the series.

Hellickson, the 2011 AL Rookie of the Year, got roughed up this spring, finishing with a 9.00 ERA and 33 hits allowed in 20 innings. Many are expecting him to give up more hits this year, but he allowed just three — all of them doubles — in this one.

  1. fishfiletkray - Apr 8, 2012 at 5:26 PM

    The rays are sick! They have three aces, a phenom and neiman is a quality starter. If they keep hitting Watch Out!

  2. DCBlueStar - Apr 8, 2012 at 6:06 PM

    I absolutely love my Rays. Our pitching staff is phenomenal. Arguably the best in the league, however our offense hasn’t always been high flying. I have to say as a fan, I hoped for a sweep – cause that’s what fans do, but honestly I figured we’d win the series 2-1.

    They’ve far exceeded my expectations over this first series, and I can’t wait for the rest of the season to get underway.

    GO RAYS! Happy Birthday, Hellickson! A well deserved win!

    • DCBlueStar - Apr 8, 2012 at 7:41 PM

      Thank’s to that one -a-hole- who gave the comment a thumbs down. Classy guy.
      There’s always one.

      • djpostl - Apr 8, 2012 at 9:45 PM

        Appears to be fourteen now

      • hittfamily - Apr 9, 2012 at 3:17 AM

        Welcome fellow Rays fan. I thumbs upped your comment to make it a 13:1 ratio. Then you shot yourself in the foot with that follow up comment. Oh well. I like it more when my thumbs down exceed my thumbs up. It means I’m not stating the obvious, and acting like a true “fanatic”.

        So with that said, the Sox and Yanks should win 100 games this year….combined!
        Go Rays

      • DCBlueStar - Apr 9, 2012 at 3:35 PM

        Just don’t understand how someone could thumbs down a big round of applause for a young kid who did a hell of a job on the New York Yankees… Especially for his 25th birthday… ThIngs really aligned well for him yesterday. I’d be willing to bet all those thumbs downs are from bitter Yankee and Redsox fans.

  3. gotampabay52 - Apr 8, 2012 at 8:15 PM

    Take that ny oh boston you too go RAYS

    • pisano - Apr 8, 2012 at 9:13 PM

      cur68….. no doubt about it, heeee’s baaack. This should be a very interesting summer.

  4. indaburg - Apr 8, 2012 at 9:31 PM

    Great series. Hellickson was impressive, shutting down the Yankees for 8 2/3 innings and keeping that potent lineup off balance the entire game. Obviously, we’re not going to go 162-0, but I love the way we’ve started.

  5. djpostl - Apr 8, 2012 at 9:49 PM

    Side note, Nick Swisher is off to a good start in retaining his title as Human Rally Killer.

    Seven at-bats with two or more runners on and he goes: dribbler to first, dribbler to first, trickler to third for cheesy infield single/RBI, strikeout, HOME RUN =0 but wait…two out in the ninth & six runs down so turn that smile upside down =( , pop-up, strikeout.

    Last year the guy had 89 plate appearances with 2 out & RISP. He managed to get a hit eight times. EIGHT.

    • hittfamily - Apr 8, 2012 at 10:21 PM

      He is a huge upgrade over Ibanez in the field though. That was hilarious to watch though.

      • djpostl - Apr 8, 2012 at 10:44 PM

        I can set a 55 gallon trash can out in RF and see the same results as Ibanez lol. But that does beg the question, why on Game 3 (on the road, away from the small area to cover in Rf in the Bronx) Joe Retardi thought he needed to DH Swish and put Raul in RF

      • hittfamily - Apr 8, 2012 at 11:20 PM

        That fan saved Ibanez a lot of embarassment when he reached over the wall. It cost Pena a triple for sure. Ibanez had already crashed into the wall, and the ball hadn’t gotten to the track.

        Swisher has been nursing a leg injury (hammy I think). He likely wanted to keep him off the turf as much as possible. I’ve heard ood managers say “I will lose today, to win tomorrow”, and maybe that was Girardi’s thinking. However, his decisions haven’t looked all that good this year.

      • djpostl - Apr 9, 2012 at 12:06 AM

        Groin pull on Swish.

        Yeah, like getting NunE6z in to play SS on Saturday. The guy committed 14 errors in under 200 chances last year and his just a train wreck in the field. He rewarded Girardi with an error on first defensive play of the game for Yanks that led to 2 unearned runs in a game they eventually lost by two runs.

    • nworca - Apr 8, 2012 at 11:28 PM

      Hmmm, Swisher would seem to be that only Yankee that got on base in the ninth today. Maybe Nick deserves a fate other than being a Yankee.

      • djpostl - Apr 9, 2012 at 12:07 AM

        Nah, he stunk up the joint in late/close situations in both Oakland and Chicago. His splits when the Yankees either lead or trail by four or more runs are damn fine though!

  6. hittfamily - Apr 8, 2012 at 10:20 PM

    Eventually, people are going to have to stop calling this kid “lucky”. He did it in 2010, 2011, and started 2012 by 3 hitting a top 5 offense through 8 2/3.

    The Rays have 4 of the top top 15 pitchers in the AL, and 2 perennial MVP candidates. Throw in 100 HR and 80 sb from their other regulars (Pena, Upton, Jennings, Joyce), and the games best defense, and this looks like a definite playoff team.

    • djpostl - Apr 9, 2012 at 12:13 AM

      Two MVP candidates? Who? Longoria is a great player but a perennial MVP candidate? Not even close. Even if you discount last years average decline because of injury his best years are .280-.290 range, 22 to 33 Hrs, 100 RBIs and good glove.

      Those are All-Star numbers but will not get it done in an MVP race I don’t think.

      Damn right it’s a playoff team though. I think they have 8 guys who could be top 3 starters on all but a few teams.

      The bullpen is going to be an adventure all year I think, but if a couple of those guys can hold it together and not revert to bad form it’ll be good enough.

    • hittfamily - Apr 9, 2012 at 2:16 AM

      He missed a month, and still hit 31 homre runs. He still finished 10th in the MVP balloting, even with a .240 average. He hasn’t hit his prime. He has finished in the top 11 MVP ballot 3 of his 4 years in the league. If you consistently finish in the top 11, I’d call that “perennial”.

      Ben Zobrist, perhaps the most under the radar player in all of baseball, is third only to Pujols and Longoria in WAR the last 3 years.

      Perennial MVP candidates, and I think you are the only one on BT that would be surprised if Longoria wins an MVP in his career.

      http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=y&type=8&season=2011&month=0&season1=2009&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&players=0&sort=20,d

      • stex52 - Apr 9, 2012 at 10:48 AM

        I don’t know if you guys ever really thanked the Astros for trading you Zobrist for what amounted to a one month rental on a journeyman third baseman. All because “they didn’t need any more shortstops in the system.” Ever since I have watched him grow into a real difference-making player.

        Thank God the Astros have gotten rid of all that old management. But be sure to think kindly of them for their generosity.

  7. bozosforall - Apr 9, 2012 at 12:25 AM

    Yanks will still make the playoffs, whether as the AL champ or as a wild card. The Red Sox, OTOH, will be golfing in October again this year.

  8. hammyofdoom - Apr 9, 2012 at 8:57 AM

    Huh, I just looked up Longo’s career stats and I was really surprised to see that he’s never had an OPS above .890. I know he’s only 26, but he started off with SUCH a bang I coulda sworn his 2009 season he was like 400 OBP and a .950 OPS. I’m actually a little nervous as a sox fan that this might be his real breakout year

  9. spudchukar - Apr 9, 2012 at 11:53 AM

    Unsustainable?

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