After a disappointing home stand where the Rays went 4-6, the promotion of Wil Myers was supposed to give the Rays offense a lift as they went into a seven game stretch over six games against AL East opponents.
Today started the road trip with a double header in Boston, with the Rays falling in Game One.
Game Two featured Jake Odorizzi and Felix Doubront, and just like you'd expect, was a pitching duel through-and-through.
Doubront would leave the game with his fifth quality start in six outings. He limited the Rays to three hits and surprisingly walked no one.
Meanwhile, the Odor was working a fine change up and gave the Rays what they needed from a spot start in a double header: quality pitching, eating innings. His 5.2 innings may not sound like much, but were valuable after Archer's weak start was cut even shorter by a three hour rain delay.
Odorizzi limited the Red Sox to one run on a Daniel Nava home run over the low fence in right field. He only worked two strikeouts, but had the hitters on the ropes for much of the night before he was replaced by Alex Torres. Unsurprisingly, Torres continued his dominant pitching ways. His 2.1 innings featured three base runners and only one strikeout, but likewise held the Red Sox to limited opportunities. He allowed no runs and gave the Rays their chance.
The slumping Rays offense -- which entered the night tied with the Tigers for the most productive offense in baseball, according to wRC+ at 112 -- looked anemic. They gathered only four hits this evening, scoring one run on a solo shot by Kelly Johnson in the ninth.
Doubront had retired seventeen straight batters when he was lifted after eight innings for closer Andrew Bailey.
Bailey missed his first pitch high and outside to Kelly Johnson at the start of the ninth. THe second pitch was slightly lower to reach the strikezone, but the same general location, and Johnson bounced it off the bullpen dugout in right field to tie the game 1-1.
With Zobrist on first and two outs, Longoria came to the plate to battle Bailey. Zorilla found his opportunity to take second with an excellent jump, but had to return on a foul by Longoria -- happenstance, but a difference maker. Zobrist never made it to second after Longoria grounded to the left side, and the Sox turned a quick force at second base.
Joel Peralta got the nod from Joe Maddon to hold the 1-1 lead. He walked Daniel Nava, bringing up former Rays cult favorite Jonny Gomes. Peralta had been struggling to keep the fastball down in the first at bat.
Facing Gomes, Peralta took a little heat off his fastball and put one in the top of the strike zone. Gomes crushed it.
The ball soared up the left field line, and if it stayed fair it was a towering home run. Gomes dropped his bat and watched intently.
Then he took off sprinting around the bases, punting his helmet after passing third, and leaping onto home plate like an Olympic long jumper.
And it cut deep.
Watch at your own risk.
- You might think Odorizzi made a case for earning the starting slot currently reserved for Colome on Saturday. Colome is coming off two starts of limited plate appearances, and is presumably out of rhythm; however, Colome has strong groundball tendancies that are a wiser play in Yankee Stadium. If you were watching today, you'll know Odorizzi is of the flyball pitcher mold.
- Wil Myers notched his first major league hit, a single to left field that showed professional patience. He timed his easy swing on an offspeed pitch away. Promising for a guy who might struggle with contact for the next year or so.
- Andrew Bailey entered with a 1-0 lead and spoiled it. Doubront shut out the Rays for eight innings over 93 pitches. Of course Bailey is awarded the Win, right?
- The Rays have dropped to seven games behind Boston in the AL East standings. The Rays are now 2-9 against the Red Sox. You do the math.