Originally I tried to get out of recapping this one, as I was actually going to be attending it with my daughter, who is home for visit from Tally. I ended up deciding to write the recap after we got home, and I'm glad I did. Though you'll have to excuse me if the details below don't match up with what you saw on the television. Because I think we went through a wormhole.
Sketch by Anissa S. Ford, drawn at today's ballgame, used by permission. The shift was on, obviously.
In the game we attended at Tropicana Field, Matt Andriese pitched six innings of one-hit, scoreless baseball, striking out five and walking nobody along the way, as he cruised to his third win of the season. He was ahead in the count all day, and needed just 70 pitches to navigate those six innings. The only blemish on his line was a two-out single to right by Xander Bogaerts. If he had been staked to a lead of more than two runs, Cash might have even been tempted to let Andriese wade into a third time through the order. As it was, the skipper thought it best to turn it over to the pen.
Also at BizarroTrop, Rene Rivera and Jake Elmore hit homers. Did that happen for you guys too? I hope so, because it was pretty cool.
On to the details: After a few false starts in the early frames (two runners stranded in the first inning, and double plays ending both the second and the third), the Rays finally grabbed that 2-0 lead in the fifth inning. Asdrubal Cabrera got things started, driving a 2-1 Wade Miley fastball into the gap in right center for a triple.
That brought David DeJesus to the plate. There are few players I like more in this situation than sweet baby DeJesus. Unfortunately, he tapped a 1-1 slider to first. That was not going to get it done. It was now up to Jake Elmore.
There are few players I like less in this situation than Jake Elmore. On the first three pitches, he did nothing to indicate I had misjudged him, as he fell behind 1-2 with two weak foul balls. But then on the putaway pitch, Jake lofted what looked like a lovely sacrifice fly to left...that just ... kept ... going.
It landed over the fence in 162 Landing, and the crowd ROARED. But since it was a Rays/Red Sox game, I still wasn't entirely sure it was a fair ball till I checked the umpire. Honestly, that was the more normal thing that happened all night.
The Rays would tack on a run in the seventh inning when Rene Rivera looked at the park and went, "Hey, guys? Call me crazy, but I don't think the left field fence is as far away as the center field fence!" And then he hit it into the left field stands.
3-0, good guys.
The Bullpen & Insurance Runs
The pen was solid, with McGee working a clean seventh, including a swinging K of David Ortiz. Kevin Jepsen looked sharp in the eighth, except for one pitch to Alejandro De Aza -- which of course De Aza hit into the seats. Luck dragons, schmuck dragons. Thankfully, Evan Longoria squashed the Red Sox rally and put the Rays lead back at three with a solo shot off not-the-basketball-player Matt Barnes.
Brad Boxberger also looked sharp from my perch hundreds of feet away, despite surrendering a soft, two-out single to Brock Holt. Not a dominant day for the pen, but it was nice to see them get back on track after a few shaky outings of late.
Sketch by Anissa S. Ford, drawn at today's ballgame, used by permission. I call it "hey lady, put down your phone and watch the game."
So yeah, my daughter and I had a great time. I don't get to see her nearly as often as I used to now that's she's graduated and working for a living, but this is the second year in a row that we ended up going to "Turn Back the Clock" night, both times by happenstance. Maybe it'll become our "thing." Who knows? The Rays are 2-0, at any rate, so there's that.
- Local teen girl group 4 Heart Harmony performed the National Anthem. It was playoff-level quality. I don't know if this was their first time, but it shouldn't be their last.
- I sat with some very nice Red Sox fans in Section 129. The Rays fans there were kinda assholes though. And the group that crashed the section was terrible. I suppose $tu is happy to have them, but I don't know why you come to baseball game if you just wanna get drunk and party and not actually, I dunno, watch the game?
- I'm immensely proud that my daughter thinks triples are cooler and more exciting than home runs.
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