First off: ROLL CALL
|Roll Call Info|
|Commenter list||#TheOneTrueKing, Banestar, Brett Phillips, Brian Andersbot, CSG BBR, DFAHowell, Dome Biscuit, GrayhawkAZ, Grimesy22, Hipster Doofus, Landlord, Paul Ellis, Rays1118, Rays15, RazeTheRoof, Yoko Longo, barnecles, essenpee, gatorbuc352, kfharlock, killa3312, lizzieray, magicrays, nomo.red.evil, raysfan81, sirthomas813, swampchomp7, thedudeofdudes|
|# Recs||Commenter||Comment Link|
|6||nomo.red.evil||can we wait till we're actually losing before we s*** away wins?|
|4||Landlord||Citrus series> boston marathong|
nomo with the most popular comment of the day, which turned out to be totally accurate, by the way. Today was without a doubt the best all-around game of the year, bringing the Rays back to .500, a goal that seemed insurmountable last year. With the exception of the final inning, every time the Marlins scored a run, the Rays would answer back in the top of the next inning. It's early in the season, I know, but the hope that the Rays can tread water until that insane DL list becomes smaller and shorter doesn't seem as far-fetched as it did not three days ago.
Quite the auspicious start: The Rays were able to strike first in the first thanks to a single by David DeJesus. DeJesus advanced to second thanks to a misplay by Giancarlo Stanton, and right after that Asdrubal Cabrera (whose name I will never get used to spelling) singled to score a run. After a wild pitch that moved Cabrera to second, Longoria made a bid to score more, but for the second time in two days, Adeiny Hechavarria made a diving stop to save a run, snagging the liner and doubling up Cabrera.
I hate it, but I love it.
That was the crux of the action for a long time. Karns, for the first three innings, was dealing. Through those 10 batters, seven of them got first pitch strikes and Karns only reached a two-ball count once. Henderson Alvarez also pitched great after that first inning, with another blemish coming from a hustle double from Kevin Kiermaier. After blooping a liner into shallow center field, KK took advantage of a slower Ichiro and never stopped running, diving into second before the throw even got there.
I mean, DeJesus grounded out on the next pitch, but still it was impressive. I was impressed.
The Rays were able to get runners on second and third but nothing came of it. Does that happen a lot? I feel like that happens a lot. I feel like I wrote those words around 100 times last year in recaps. Cabrera singled and Longoria doubled, but they were stranded when the Rays were unable to get a ball out of the infield. Desmond Jennings jammed a pitch back to Alvarez, who took the time to check third base, then second, before finally throwing to first, where a hustling Jennings almost beat out the pitch. Allan Dykstra did essentially the same thing, but was thrown out halfway down the line. Logan Forysthe flew out and the Rays wasted a golden opportunity in a tightly contested game.
The Marlins, on the other hand, did not let their chance go to waste so easily. Right after Brian Anderson finished singing the praises of Karns and his economical pitches, Karns walked Christian Yelich. Stanton then hit a ground ball to second against the shift, and Forsythe had to hustle across the diamond to reach it. Although making the play, first baseman Dykstra couldn't hold onto the ball, allowing Stanton to reach safely and Yelich to reach third base. Runner on the corners, no outs.
Ichiro drove in the run on a sac fly, but not before a great diving stop by David DeJesus saved a hit and insured that the inning ended quicker.
It was a sign of things to come. . .
Top of the fifth: Rene Rivera leads off the inning with his first hit of the year. Today I say him in the DRB Fantasy League so it would make sense he'd finally get a hit. With Karns up, Alvarez threw a ball high and insde when Karns was trying to bunt. Karns had to dive backwards to avoid being hit full on in the face, Giancarlo-Stanton style, by a wild 93 mph fastball. Rivera was able to "scamper" up to second, and advanced to third after Karns laid a perfect bunt down. Kiermaier drew a 6 pitch walk to put runners on the corners with one out. In steps David DeJesus:
The odd man out, the guy that everyone liked but who didn't have a place on the the roster this year, the guy who was sure to be traded by the end of Spring Training. . .he came through in a big way. When he crossed the plate, you could see him high five Rene Rivera with a surprising intensity, with purpose. I'm totally not reading too much into that high five, by the way.
The Marlins struck back for one more in the bottom of the inning on a Dee Gordon triple (God, I forgot they traded for him and he is fast), but Karns kept dealing. That's pretty much all we can say about Karns, honestly. He kept dealing, pumping strikes and, in the words of Brian Anderson, was "pitching with conviction." A far cry from his last start.
In the sixth, who should rise but the immortal Tim Beckham?
After a Jennings lead-off hit, T-Bexxx worked an eight pitch at-bat against new pitcher Brad Hand which finally ended in an RBI triple. Rivera doubled him in, leading to a 2-run sixth inning.
I took a shower and the seventh inning was over. It happened way too quickly for anything to have happened. Nice.
Tim Beckham led off the eighth, and although he was able to once again coax an extended at-bat he couldn't recapture the magic, striking out on a perfectly placed low-and-outside fastball. That said, back-to-back doubles from Forsythe and Rivera (assisted once again by the defensive mishaps of one Ichiro) put another run on the board.
In the bottom of the inning, the Marlins put up the biggest threat of the day. Jeff Beliveau relieved Karns, who pitched seven innings of one-run ball and collected six strikeouts. Beliveau, a lefty specialist, gave up a single to pinch-hitter Martin Prado, a righty, and another ground ball roller to Dee Gordon, a lefty. Beliveau struck out Christian Yelich (the toughest out of the series thus far) and Cash brought in Kirby Yates to pitch to Giancarlo Stanton. He got Stanton to foul out, but he allowed a line-drive double that just landed within the foul line to score Prado and the speedy Gordon. #RaysUp 7-4, but it was a tense 7-4. Ichiro singled the other way to put runners on the corners with two outs, and Cash had seen enough of Yates. Frieri came in to face Donovan Solano, and managed to get him to fly out harmlessly to right field. I finally unclenched every muscle in my body.
Cabrera and Longoria both walked in the ninth (boy, these have been a pretty good duo in the lineup as of late) setting the stage for (who else?) Tim Beckham. Beckham worked another lengthy 6-pitch at-bat, and slapped a 95 mph pitch the other way through the gap, scoring Cabrera and elating DRB faithful everywhere.
Frieri stayed in there for the ninth, allowed a home run to Jerrod Saltpeppermochaccino, and a long double to Dee Gordon, but still was able to close it out. Everything was hard hit, and Gordon's ball probably would've been a home run in a stadium without insane dimensions. Nathan Karns picked up the well-deserved win, and Alvarez, the loss. Interestingly, 11 of the Rays' 14 hits came with two strikes.
Just a quick side note: I think the Marlins are snake bit. For one, Marcell Ozuna was originally supposed to start in center field, but he was later showing up to the ballpark, and Ichiro had to step in instead, which led to Logan Forsythe scoring in the sixth inning when he probably shouldn't have, and permitted KK to stretch a single into a double.
Also, even more eerie: two Marlins players were injured today, both in similar ways:
Don Kelly has a fracture of his fourth finger of right hand. #Marlins— Joe Frisaro (@JoeFrisaro) April 12, 2015
Bad day for fourth fingers: Jeff Mathis left today's game with a fracture of the fourth finger on his right hand.— Miami Marlins (@Marlins) April 12, 2015
The similarities get more creepy when you realize that Mathis' secretary's last name is Kennedy, and Baker's is Lincoln.