After the Rays dropped a weekend sweep to the Yankees, then failed to turn around a masterful Chris Archer performance in a loss to Boston on an unearned run, hopes were not high. That's the nature of baseball, you live and die on the 162 Game roller coaster.
One of the strengths of Joe Maddon was ability to keep a neutral clubhouse, and the stone-cold Kevin Cash may be just as capable. The Rays put up seven runs last night, waiting on Joe Kelly to eventually implode. He would in the sixth inning.
The Rays hit four consecutive singles -- Asdrubal Cabrera, Evan Longoria, Desmond Jennings, and Allan Dykstra (finally!) -- followed by a bases loaded walk (Forsythe), and another single (Guyer).
Dykstra scored one on his single up the middle, and was lifted for the newly promoted Jake Elmore as a pinch runner. He came around and scored on a slide into home from Brandon Guyer's single to center.
In the following inning, Jake Elmore got his first plate appearance and promptly homered off the formidable Edward Mujica.
Jake ... over State Farm. #Khakis pic.twitter.com/t796zZg8f2— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) April 23, 2015
Before his at bat, Cabby and Longo back-to-back singled again, with Desmond Jennings plating one runner, and the score settled in at 7-5 good guys.
.@JElmo10 becomes 11th player to homer in his first #Rays AB. Last was Ryan Roberts in 2012. Another was Kevin Cash in 2005. #HowBoutThat— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) April 23, 2015
Boxberger and Jepsen man-handled the seventh and eighth (three and two swinging K's respectively) before Steve F-ing Geltz notched the save. Ian will have more on the bullpen use last night later.
Elmore congratulated by Forsythe - Photo credit: Brian Blanco/Getty Images
- Of course it wouldn't be a Rays game this month if someone didn't get injured, and for the second time since the start of Spring Training, Steven Souza Jr. was lifted with forearm tightness after striking out to end the sixth. Souza said it was just a cramp and plans to return tomorrow.
The difference here is that Souza's previous injury came from a dive in the outfield, but this came on a swing.
- Additionally, Kevin Cash is now 0-for-10 on replay challenges over nine opportunities.
#Rays Cash said double challenge was tricky - call at 1B was his challenge, then umps did challenge at 3B. Still he said his record is 0-10— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) April 23, 2015
"My batting was very similar to our challenge record right now," said Cash after the game.
- Drew Smyly is with the team again, and says his arm is ready.
- A few great plays happened last night, the first being this nab by Juan Lagares in center field, and this non-catch in centerfield by Odubel Herrera in Philly.
- Controversy in last night's Dodgers-Giants showdown. The third base coach stopped the Giants runner from running home, and as the runner turned around the two made contact. That's not allowed, but the rule strictly prohibits the coach "physically assisting" the runner, so there's room for interpretation.
- Remember when the Rays traded Todd Glaesmann to the Diamondbacks and then he promptly retired? He's back in the game, playing for Double-A Mobile in the D-backs system after some life evaluation and nearly switching to college football. Stacy Long has the story.
- Geek Wire has a list of everything StatCast has to offer.
- The Rays are leading the way for Give Day Tampa Bay to support local charities on May 5th.
- Dave Cameron marvels at Friedman's bullpen in LA.
- Required reading from the Hardball Times on how backspin affects homerun distance. And I'm pretty sure that's the right use of affect, even though it's about something past tense.
- Finally, Game of Thrones night at the Durham Bulls is upon us!
AUCTION OPEN: Bid on game-worn #GameOfThrones jerseys NOW via text, web or phone from anywhere http://t.co/1oT9dbidmX pic.twitter.com/iXbKemL0Qz— Durham Bulls (@DurhamBulls) April 22, 2015