Alex Colome was a (horse pun)
So, the first inning was weird. Not Twilight Zone weird, necessarily. More like David Lynch-weird, where something is off about it but it's hard to pin down exactly what. I'm not entirely sure why Billy Burns didn't score on a flyball to center. After tripling on a flyball that flew over Souza's head (not his fault, he was positioned way in for the .038 ISO guy) Burns ended up on third with his first career 3B, breathing harder than Dennis Hopper in a respirator.
It was a whole new world for Burns at third base. The field does look so different from the left side of the diamond. Burns likely had stars in his eyes, because he refused to tag up on a ball plenty deep enough to center field that not even the vaunted Kevin Kiermaier could've gotten home in time. Everyone was surprised, and it proved to be a costly decision. The A's didn't get the ball out of the infield, stranding a lonely Burns at third. Colome, in what was a theme in last week's affair, tightrope-walked out of another tricky spot.
The fourth was a similar story for ol' Caballo. After retiring Josh Reddick and Billy Butler in order to start the inning, Colome started to lose whatever magic he's hoarded since the start of the season. Stephen Vogt-wonderful, wonderful Stephen Vogt-singled to right on a ball that barely made it past the second baseman. Max Muncy walked after an insane 10-pitch affair, and Brett Lawrie reached on a hard-hit ball that Nick Franklin misplayed as MVP SS Asdrubal Cabrera chuckled mirthlessly from the dugout. With the bases loaded all on two outs, everything seemed to unravel. The night that was held together with stitches and glue lost its integrity. Time slowed to a crawl, and reality became a sort of thick sludge. In dreams, when you need to run away, your legs never seem to work right, and you start to sink like all those men in Under the Skin. Everything was about to become horrible and terrible.
But then Sam Fuld grounded out on the first pitch so everything was fine. Really, you were overreacting. Stop being such a drama queen. The A's didn't get another hit until the ninth inning. Alex Colome wouldn't see any more stressful situations, finishing after five innings. He allowed four hits and a walk, and struck out a trio of A's. All in all an encouraging start for the workhorse.
Unlike the A's, the Rays were able to capitalize on opportunities. Right after the A's couldn't grab what was right there in front of them, the Rays made lemonade out of lemons. With two outs, David DeJesus doubled home a run after Evan Longoria walked to lead off the inning.
It gave the Rays a lead they wouldn't relinquish. But David DeJesus wasn't done. In the seventh:
Watch it here if you're so inclined. It went a pretty long way; it's worth seeing.
The seventh inning sure was lucky for the Rays today! (Ed. note: Lazy joke, jerkwad. Try better next time. Our commentariat deserves better than that.) Guyer, after singling, stole both second and third, putting him in position to score after Bobby Wilson knocked Edward Mujica's kneecaps clean off.
The four-headed monster shuts 'em down
It sounds strange to say, but if the Rays are going anywhere this year, it will be because of the bullpen. Thanks to the injuries to the starting pitching, the team has needed to slot 3 #5 pitchers in the rotation: Karns, Colome, and Erasmo. As a result, Kevin Cash has seen it fit to only allow those pitchers to pitch to each opponent twice, or thereabouts. Seeing a starter go five innings has become a common occurrence, and for a team that's thrived off the backs of workhorses like David Price and James Shields, it's weird to say the least. That leaves at least one more inning to pitch around half of the nights, and that vacuum is filled by the bullpen.
That's why these "trade rumors" regarding McGee are absolute bunk. Perhaps more than any other team in baseball, the Rays have a dire need for a deep bullpen. Tonight, the team showed what can such a group can do. Geltz, Jepsen, McGee, and Boxberger dominated. Kevin Jepsen allowed a two-out walk to Sam Fuld, which Bobby Wilson erased with a strike to second base to catch 'em stealing.
Nope, not today. pic.twitter.com/SG268TnGyW— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) May 22, 2015
Brad Boxberger allowed two hits, but one of them was a bunt single so it barely counts. He closed out the game with a strikeout of Brett Lawrie on four pitches, but Lawrie probably would've swung at anything this side of the moon. This is a special bullpen, and if Steve Geltz isn't a flash-in-the-pan this could be the secret weapon that carries a team far.
The Rays sit in first place tonight, and I still don't know how it's happening.
Roll Call Info
AndrewTorrez, Brett Phillips, Brian Andersbot, Brickhaus, CSG BBR, Danny Russell, Ian Malinowski, Imperialism32, JRTW612, Mr.Jenkins, MrWizzle21, Noles95', Pocoroba, Rays Fan in NC, Rays1118, RaysProf, RazeTheRoof, SagehenMacGyver47, all pRays, dacnole, essenpee, lizzieray, magicrays, nomo.red.evil, npolackw, pudieron89 of BWA, the dobber, witty