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Rays 2, Jays 1 - The Tale of Jake, Rene & the Walking Rays

The battery of Jake Odorizzi and Rene Rivera were excellent tonight as the Rays ride two bases loaded walks to victory against the Toronto Blue Jays in their home opener.

Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Oh man. Now that was some fun baseball. Jake Odorizzi was undeniably locked in tonight, no-hitting the power-packed Jays into the 5th inning, and giving our boys 8 solid before Boxy finished the job in the 9th. The two lone Rays runs were scored in the 4th inning on a pair of bases loaded walks, and Rene Rivera wowed us with a demonstration of just how quickly and accurately he can fire his cannon from behind home plate.

The Rays had trouble making solid contact early, but were able to get men on with a couple of walks, a hit by pitch in the 2nd, and a Souza Jr hustle play to beat out a throw for an infield single in the 3rd. Dickey was called for a balk in the 3rd on a pick-off throw to hold Souza at second base. He would argue animatedly, but the call was clear and upheld.

Rene Rivera loosened up his cannon arm early with a beautiful snap throw to first that looked like it beat Jose Bautista back to the bag. The replays showed Dykstra’s glove making contact with Bautista’s wrist, but the call would not be challenged. If nothing else, it may have established early that an active run game may not be the best idea with Rivera behind the dish.

A scary moment in the bottom of the 3rd, as Asdrubal Cabrera winced in pain and grabbed his eye after throwing out Devon Travis. It was hard to tell what exactly happened there, but the training staff put some drops in it and he stayed in, seemingly without issue.

The Rays got on the board in the 4th in the most Rays way. Jennings and Dykstra both singled to lead off the inning; Dykstra’s was his first major league hit. Jennings seemed to bother Dickey quite a bit on the basepath before and after stealing third base. Deezy may have caused Dickey to lose his release point for a spell as he proceeded to walk Tim Beckham to load the bases, then walked both DeJesus and Souza to send Jennings and Dykstra across the plate for Rays runs. 2-0 Rays.

Jake Odorizzi had been quietly nursing a no-hitter 2 outs into the 5th inning, before Kevin Pillar knocked a bloop fly to right field. The ball was just out of reach of a charging Souza, who clearly prefers Jordan Zimmerman over Odorizzi, and could not duplicate his late season magic for the Rays hurler. Devon Travis capitalized and plated Pillar with an RBI single to right. Odorizzi would wiggle out of the inning without any further damage by striking out Joe Reyes for the third out. 2-1 Rays.

Rivera would be the story again in the 8th inning as Devon Travis laid down a bunt that only he could get to and proceeded to fire a dart to first to just beat him to the bag. Odorizzi would retire Reyes and Pompey before calling it a day.

Jake’s final line: 8.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R/ER, 3 BB, 3 SO. YUM.

Boxberger took the mound in the 9th to finish the job, but started off the inning by walking Jose Bautista. Rene Rivera wasn’t done showing off though, as he and Jake paired their talents for a beautiful strike ‘em out throw ‘em out play to K Encarnation and nail Bautista as he dove into second base. This is when I jumped off my couch pumping my fists. Josh Donaldson gave us one final scare as he hit one high and deep to right field that Souza would catch in the corner to end the game.

  • The win pulls the Rays record to 4-3. I, and many others, have long said that if this team can hover around .500 until the reinforcements arrive from the disabled list, this team could make it interesting.
  • Prospect hounds got a treat tonight as 20 year old Mexican pitching prospect, Roberto Osuna, took the mound for a couple of nifty relief innings.
  • I always find it interesting to see Dickey mix up speeds on his knuckler and even sprinkle in a fastball here and there. In the first inning, he surprised Souza with a first pitch fastball, then finished him off with slow, lumbering knuckleballs, only to dial up the harder knucklers to strike out Cabrera.
  • Ok, so we’re seven games in. It’s probably not fair to call a game this early a "big win", but when Matt Andriese and TBA are scheduled to start the next couple of games, I’m willing to say it was important that we won this one.
  • TBA better not be Erasmo.
  • I’m serious.
  • No Erasmo.