I feel like Rays never do well on holidays. There was the Memorial Day masacre in Cleveland. There was being no-hit on Mother's Day by Dallas Braden. And now, you can add this one to the list: a heartbreaking 1-0 loss, again at the hands of Cleveland.
The Early Going
On Father's Day 2015, the Rays were in desperate need of innings from Alex Colome, and he looked sharp from the get-go, locating his fastball to both sides of the plate. He breezed through the early innings, keeping Cleveland off the scoreboard and, maybe more importantly, kept his pitch count low. Through four, his line was clean, with four strikeouts.
Matched up against Colome for the Cleveland Indigenous Peoples was a rookie making his very first major league start, a situation which never bodes well for the Rays. Today, it was Cody Somebody (Gunderson? Sanderson? Anderson? Whatever, son), who brings some serious heat, and brought it often, especially early.
Not that the Rays didn't threaten. They did, early and often. Joey Butler worked a one-out walk in the first, then stole second on a Longoria strikeout. But he was stranded when David DeJesus took the 69th consecutive fastball (probably) at the top of the zone (maybe) for strike three and out three. This would be a recurring theme.
The second inning started much the same way, with Logan Forsythe dumping a lead off single into right. But after a failed attempt by Steven Souza to ground into an around-the-horn double play, Asdrubal Cabrera would show the rookie how it was done, grounding into a sharp looking 3-6-1 twin killing.
The Rays threatened yet again in the fifth. Cabby got things going with a one-out single to right. Jake Elmore followed with a tapper to the mound, but the Rays beat the DP this time by starting the runner, setting up Curt Casali with a two-out RBI situation. He promptly struck out swinging.
A Little Luck
When you're on your way to a certain type of performance (which I shan't type out since it's still in progress as I'm recapping this real time), you have to get lucky along the way. In the fifth, Colome did. With one out, Carlos Santana (the ballplayer, not the rock god) turned on a meatball and drove it deep to right for a homerun...of the foul ball variety.
Santana ended up flying to left. Later, Colome would throw another meatball to Brandon Moss, who ripped a drive to right. But it wasn't high enough to leave the park, and it wasn't toward the gap or the line enough to fall for hit. So Colume trotted back to the dugout with his clean line intact and his pitch count a very manageable 64 through five.
No-Hitter Luck Runs Out
Michael Bourn finally broke up Colome's no-no in the sixth on an infield single. It was a ball that deflected off Elmore's glove at first and into no-man's land, and while a hit was probably the right call, it is also probably a play Jake should make. It's certainly not the kind of play you want to see a no-hitter broken up on. Bourn would advance to second on a two-out wild pitch with Jason Kipnis batting.
A ball in the dirt later, the Rays would smartly decide to put Kipnis on and take their chances with Francisco Lindor. Lindor hit a sinking liner to right that Butler closed on to make the catch and end the inning.
Rally Caps? More like Rally Craps, Amirite?
With the rain clouds rolling in, the Rays got the offense rolling in the 7th, with Frosty and Souza spanking back-to-back one-out singles. A Cabby lineout later (with Frosty tagging and moving to third) would put things onto the bat of fan favorite Jake Elmore, who after botching the no-hitter play, had redemption on his mind.
Wait, no he didn't. Because that's not how baseball works. Momentum is tomorrow's starting pitcher. So Jake just chopped weakly to second to end the threat, and a kid making his first major league start had just notched the seventh shutout frame to start his career. Who saw that coming? Beside every Rays fan ever?
The Rays would challenge yet again in the 8th. Kevin Kiermaier lined a one-out double up the right field line, then moved to third on a Butler groundout. With that, Whateverson's day was done. Least surprising 7 2/3 shutout innings ever. Good riddance.
Francona called on Marc Rzepczynski, and his first duty was to give a free pass to Longoria. Which I'm sure makes a reliever happy. This was followed by the odd choice of Nick Franklin as a pinch hitter for DDJ. Why you do this with Brandon Guyer available is beyond me. But for a moment, it looked like Rzepcynski might not make Cash pay for his eccentricity, as he fell behind 3-1.
Franklin righted the ship quickly enough though, and struck out swinging.
On to the Pen
I really thought Cash would let Colome go deeper all things considered, but in the 8th and after 87 pitches, Xavier Cedeno was called upon. This isn't necessarily a bad move in ordinary circumstances; the last several innings did feature some loud outs if nothing else. But Alex did have more in the tank and this pen has to be running on fumes.
All that said, Cedeno worked a perfect 8th, so what the hell do I know?
More Rally Craps
With Cody Allen in to pitch the 9th, Logan Forsythe battled back from an 0-2 count to single to right. Two ground outs later, Frosty was on third for Jake Elmore. Elmore followed a close 2-2 check swing that went his way with a close 3-2 check swing that didn't go his way (neither looked like swings on replay), and the rally died yet again.
No-Hitter Really Over Now
Kevin Jepsen came in to work the ninth, and Roberto Perez greeted him with a single in the hole. Jake Elmore breathed a short-lived sigh of relief. "Short-lived" because Jason Kipnis extended his hit streak on the next pitch with a single to right, sending Roberto Perez to third.
A defensive indifference move up later, and Jepsen was really in a spot. He dropped hook after hook on Francisco Lindor, trying to get him to chase, but finally left one up. Thankfully, the result was a fly to shallow left. With a slow catcher on third, there was no attempt to score.
There was a scary moment to Michael Brantley, when the first pitch of a planned intentional pass drifted right back over the plate. If Brantley is ready to hit, the game is probably over right there. Turned out he wasn't, and the bases were loaded for David Murphy.
And then...is Roberto Perez a new dad? I think he must be a new dad. Because this right here, how the game ended? This is a gift.
Man, oh man. Tough way to lose. But you can't say we didn't have our chances. Enjoy the rest of your Dad's Day, everybody.
- Colome was robbed of a strike out in the second when Casali clearly caught a foul tip strike three that both the home plate and third base umpire emphatically thought hit the ground. After some harsh words, Colome bounced back to get the swinging K two pitches later.
- Terry Francona got jokes: when asked whether he thought Kevin Cash would make a good manager, Tito said that when Cash played for him in Boston, he thought that every time Kevin came to the plate.
- Kipnis with a great diving play to rob Souza leading off the fifth.
- On the plus side, nobody got hurt today!
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