On Star Wars Night, the force was not with the Tropicana Field lights come time for first pitch. A reported lightning strike caused a power surge that resulted in the dimming of some of the stadium lights, which resulted in a twelve minute delay. The outage would prove to be only the beginning of a strange night of baseball... one that would include five (!!) hit batsmen and a scary, UFC-esque Logan Forsythe forearm to the noggin of Dustin Pedroia.
The Rays did all of their non-run-scoring damage in the second inning, beginning with some Odorizzi up and in action on Cespedes that nailed him pretty squarely. Odo would receive a menacing glare from Yoenis as he took his base.
The bottom of the frame kicked off with an Evan Longoria hit-by-pitch, followed by a James Loney RBI double to send Longo home. 1-0 Rays. Guyer would follow with a single and Forsythe would walk his way on to load the bases. Ryan Hanigan launched a deep fly ball into center that would score Loney to put the Rays up 2-0.
Guyer and Forsythe aggressively tagged up on the play as well, Forsythe's being the more eventful of the two. Logan slid in head first as Pedroia fielded the throw. As he made what looked like a swim motion to avoid the tag, Forsythe's elbow connected hard on the side of Pedroia's head. The violent impact left Pedroia face down on the field, and would result in him leaving the game for precautionary reasons. The Red Sox have been down the head injury road before, and are probably not too keen on repeating it. The broadcast showed a clearly apologetic Forsythe give Pedroia a pat on the butt as he was helped off the field.
Once play resumed, Ben Zobrist hit a soft grounder to second that scored Guyer as Zobrist beat out the throw on the back end of the double play attempt. 3-0 Rays.
The Red Sox hit-by-pitch attack continued in the 4th, when Kevin Kiermaier was hit on the hands to load the bases with one out. John Farrell, preferring to annoy instead of attempt to win the game, would inexplicably challenge that the ball made contact with Kiermaier. The call was quickly confirmed. Another Zobrist RBI ground out would plate Forsythe to put the Rays up 4-0.
In the fifth, with Joyce and Longo on base with a walk and single respectively, Brandon Guyer put down a bunt to no man's land that only Sheriff David Ross could field. Ross's throw was embarrassingly offline and the Rays base runners were off to the races. Joyce and Evan would both score to put the Rays up 6-0. The final run of the game would follow on a Forsythe sac fly to score Guyer. 7-0 Rays would be your final.
- Jake Odorizzi looked phenomenal tonight in his first appearance since the one we will not speak of. He kept himself neatly out of trouble until the 7th. Jake walked three straight to load the bases with two outs, but managed to coax Bogaerts into a weak pop-up to get out of the jam without a mark. Magicrays mentioned in the GDT and the broadcast team made note as well that Odorizzi may have been tinkering with some new pitch techniques tonight. He struck Cespedes out swinging on a particularly beautiful cutter/slider combo that was just delicious.
Odorizzi's final line: 103 pitches over 7.0 innings. 1H 0R 0ER 3BB 7SO. That's right... one hit.
- Wil Myers was 0-5 with 2 strikeouts and 6 LOB and was just yucky out there tonight. Bad yucky.
- Brandon Guyer was hit by a pitch in the 7th.
- Ryan Hanigan was hit by a pitch in the 8th, putting our grand total at 4 Rays batters hit by pitches in tonight's game. And if Twitter is any judge, Red Sox nation will still be clamoring for more Pedroia retaliation tomorrow. See you then!
** Note: I've made my feelings about the Boston Red Sox, their fans and their online community pretty clear, but I do want to say that I took no pleasure in seeing Dustin Pedroia injured tonight. Head injuries are no joke, and unlike David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia is a scrappy, hustle ballplayer who does so much with so little because of his effort level every time he steps on the field. I hope tonight's clearly unintentional accident with Logan Forsythe results in nothing more than a minor headache and the tying up of his cleats tomorrow. Let's move on.