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The Rays offense came alive again last night, blasting four home runs and giving the Rays an easy victory. Nevertheless, the Rays stood pat in the Wild Card standings.
This game started off on a bad foot...for me. I had forgotten all about MLB.tv's blackout rules for Saturday mid-afternoon games, so when I went to flip on what I was hoping would be a late season, tense, playoff-atmosphere game, I ended up extremely disappointed. And because I live up in the Northeast, I couldn't even get the game on television if I had basic cable. Thanks as always, MLB! You truly have the consumers in mind.
But anyway, that notwithstanding, this was a fun game to listen to on the radio. The game wasn't exactly tense -- after the fourth inning, the ending was never really in doubt -- but it's always a welcome treat to hear the Rays offense go wild. The Rays broke the game open and scored all 10 of their runs before the White Sox got on the board, and they hit four home runs.
Because we're so late getting this up, it's bullet point time:
- Despite not being in the starting lineup due to Sale's domination of lefties, Matt Joyce entered the game late and hit two home runs. Joyce had been slumping over the past month and these were his first home runs since September 1st. In fact, they're only his fifth and sixth home runs since the All-Star Break. I would say this is a good sign for the Rays' playoff hopes -- a hot Matt Joyce would really help the offense even more -- but it's a little bit late in the season at this point.
- Jeff Keppinger and Chris Giminez were the other two hitters to have home runs on the day. Not exactly who you were expecting, huh?
- #FreeVogt was 0-1 in the game, entering late as a pinch hitter. I feel so bad for the guy. Someone just let him get a hit already!
- Matt Moore was perfect -- and yes, that sort of perfect -- through four full innings, but he then got into a bit of trouble in the fifth inning. He allowed a single and then walked a batter, but he was able to get out of the inning without allowing any runs. Maddon didn't lie when he said he'd have a short hook for Moore, though; he ended up pulling Moore after only getting one out in the next inning, after throwing just 77 pitches. I wonder if the Rays believe that Moore is "hitting the rookie wall" as well.
Despite winning, the Rays didn't gain any ground in the Wild Card race. The Athletics and Orioles both won, and the Angels got rained out of their game. The Rays will just have to try again today and hope that the Mariners, Red Sox, or Rangers can actually pull out a win. Hope is still there, but their elimination number in the Wild Card race is now a mere two.