Devil Rays Inside Pitch 4/19

Devil Rays Inside Pitch 4/19: Virus plagues the Devil Rays' clubhouse

The Devil Rays weren't feeling good, the result of a virus running rampant in their clubhouse. But it was left-hander Scott Kazmir's performance that left them with a sick feeling.

Kazmir labored through 102 pitches and lasted only four innings Wednesday, and he didn't have any specific reasons for his poor outing.

It looked even worse coming off his brilliant performance Friday in Minnesota when he outdueled Johan Santana. Kazmir threw 113 pitches in eight innings against the Twins, didn't walk anyone (for the first time in his career) and threw first-pitch strikes to 19 of 30 hitters.

On Wednesday, he walked four and threw only seven first-pitch strikes to 20 hitters.

"I couldn't get in a groove," he said. "My mechanics were inconsistent. All in all, I just couldn't find the zone. I just kind of felt gassed from the very beginning. I just had to battle out there."

His velocity was down several miles an hour, clocking mostly in the 88-91 range, and his command, specifically of his changeup and slider, was noticeably off.

"Kaz was not his normal self today, no question about it," manager Joe Maddon said. "He was struggling a little bit. He did not have a nice tempo or rhythm going."

ORIOLES 6, DEVIL RAYS 4: The Orioles rallied from an early deficit and rode their strong bullpen to a victory and a series win. Erik Bedard kept the Orioles in the game, and the Rays went 2-for-11 with men in scoring position.

NOTES, QUOTES

--3B Akinori Iwamura was scratched from the lineup due to a virus that has been affecting the team for more than a week. Several others played at less than full strength, including INFs Ben Zobrist and B.J. Upton.

--OF/DH Rocco Baldelli jumped on Erik Bedard's fourth pitch for the sixth leadoff homer of his career, matching Carl Crawford for the franchise high.

--RHP Al Reyes is only the third Ray to have as many as five saves in the month of April, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The other two -- Roberto Hernandez (eight in 1999) and Lance Carter (five in 2003) -- made the All-Star team.

--CF Elijah Dukes was the eighth Rays outfielder to have two assists in a game. He also had two hits after getting two in his last 24 at-bats.

--LHP Scott Kazmir fanned leadoff man Brian Roberts for his 400th career strikeout. Kazmir is the 23rd left-hander in the last 50 years with 400 strikeouts before turning 24.

--LF Carl Crawford rapped his first triple of the season. It was his 60th since the start of the 2003 season, 14 more than any other major-leaguer.

BY THE NUMBERS: 4 -- Wins in nine road games this season, one more than the Rays had in their final 36 last season, from July 1 on.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Every day that guy pitches it's like Friday the 13th." -- Rays outfielder Rocco Baldelli, going into Friday's game against Johan Santana, which the Rays won.

MEDICAL WATCH:

3B Akinori Iwamura (illness) was scratched from the lineup on April 18.

INF/DH Greg Norton (surgery on torn medial meniscus in right knee) is expected to be out until May. He opened the season on the disabled list.

RHP Shinji Mori (torn labrum) is rehabbing without surgery and might be ready by midseason.

RHP Doug Waechter (shoulder surgery) is rehabbing and is expected to be game-ready by June.


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