It's just a game. It's just a game. Remember that, when you want to kick your dog and smash your TV and invent new swear words: it's just a game. And besides, you don't even know these guys that are playing it! I mean, seriously, what are you getting all worked up over?
Hm? What's that? Oh, we won? Well then, forget everything I just said and WOOOOOOOO SUCK IT TORONTO! WE GONE TO DA SHIP!!!!
This was a see-saw game. Or maybe teeter totter? Definitely not a merry-go-round though. We were winning, and then we weren't, and then we were, and then it was over.
The Rays started the scoring in the third inning, putting together the kind of rally they usually give up. Tim Beckham got things going with a four-pitch walk. Then, with Curt Casali at the plate and TBexx looking to extend his lead, Dickey picked off the rookie thanks to a quick tag from Justin Smoak.
Or did he???
With Beckham and first base coach Rocco Baldelli both insistent that Bex had beat the tag, Kevin Cash challenged the play. And miracle of miracles, the Rays won the challenge! And I have no idea why. I mean, Beckham may have been safe, but there was no view we saw to prove it. You could clearly see when the sweep tag hit, but you just couldn't tell at what point during that sweep Beckham's hand reached the bag. It really looked like a textbook case for "the call stands." And yet it didn't. But you know what? I'm not complaining. We were due. Still, they gotta fix this replay thing. It's a joke. Not the system; the people reviewing it and/or what qualifies as "clear and convincing."
A (perhaps) flustered Dickey was called for a balk on the very next pitch, moving Beckham up to second. Then Casali followed by finishing his at-bat (oh yeah, he was still up for all this) with a tapper to first, moving Timmy over to third. Productive out! Then after a long at-bat, John Jaso finally got a pitch he could square up, one-hopping it over the fence in right-center. 1-0 Rays.
Beckham continued his charmed day in the fifth by waiting nicely on a knuckleball and lining it for a one-out double. After a Casali pop to center (who didn't look nearly as patient as Beckham), Judge Dreadlock served a single to center. Montoya waived Beckham -- who took a costly look over his shoulder for no apparent reason -- and Beckham was nailed at the plate on a strong throw by Kevin Pillar and a solid tag by Russell Martin.
Or was he???
Yes. Yes, he was. Because even a blind squirrel falls off a log when it rains on his wedding day. Still, not a bad challenge by Cash. It's already the fifth, and it's a one-run game. It's not like you get to save those challenges for tomorrow.
Pillar followed by leading off the Jays half of the fifth with a double. After two failed bunt attempts, Carrera got the job done anyway with a groundout to second, moving Pillar to third and giving the Blue Jays their best scoring opportunity. On a first pitch popup by Devon Travis near the stands, a Jays fan got half an RBI by disrupting a James Loney catch. Faced with having to retire Travis twice, Ramirez couldn't, as the Jays' second baseman worked a nice piece of hitting a lined a double up the right field line, collecting the other half-RBI and scoring Pillar. Ramirez would buckle down and retire Reyes on a popup to Evan Longoria, but that was it for Cyrasmo's day: 4 2/3 innings, 4 hits, 1 earned run, 4 strikeouts, no walks. You deserved better, Cy.
Oh, Steve Geltz came on to retire Donaldson and end the fifth. Even if the Jays did manage to tie it, everything was going according to plan.
The Plan Sucks
But starting the sixth against Jose Bautista? Not so much. Joey Bats went deeeep to left. 2-1 Jays, and let the tarring & feathering of Kevin Cash begin.
The Plan is Impeccable
But then, did you see the absolute bomb hit by that guy Kevin Cash penciled into the lineup card?
As good a spot as any for @BrandonGuyer to hit his first road homer of the season. WATCH: http://t.co/dKJgsyHto5 pic.twitter.com/G94BIFxB9O— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) July 18, 2015
See if you can spot which team is an offensive juggernaut and which team's offense is just...well, offensive: through seven, the Rays had two runs on five hits and had committed one error. The Jays, on the other hand, had five hits and two runs and committed one error. I think it goes without saying who is better.
And to put an exclamation point on my point, Curt Casali took the hanging-est of hangers ever from Ryan Tepera and hit a rainbow out to left.
Difference maker, @CurtCasali. #RaysUp after his solo shot! WATCH: http://t.co/JPpquBxoYF pic.twitter.com/CP1f9P46R0— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) July 18, 2015
Closing It Out
And then, in a bit of non-traditional bullpen management, Brad Boxberger came on against the top of the lineup in a very weird 8th inning. It went like this: Single by Reyes; 5-4-3 double play; HBP on Joey Bat (don't get your panties in a bunch, it was a curve that didn't); a strange balk where Joey bluffed toward second, Casali bluffed(?) coming out of his crouch, and Boxy sorta kinda double clutched, because what the heck are you doing Curt?; a four-pitch walk to Encarnacion; a pinch runner for E-5, because why would you want one of the most dangerous hitters around in a one run game?; and a ground out by Smoak.
The Rays were hoping to add some insurance in the 9th, and almost got it. Logan Forsythe doubled on what the Grass Rays would call a "slow developing play," then was moved to third on a great bunt by Guyer but a better play by Donaldson to get him. Unfortunately, Kevin Kiermaier couldn't convert.
But fortunately, Jake McGee could. You remember that scene in The Rookie, when the reporter asks Dennis Quaid what he threw to get that strikeout? And Quaid says: "Fastball...fastball...[chuckle]...fastball"? That was Jake today. No strikeouts, but it was the most heat he's brought all year. Very promising.
This and That:
- The old "high sky" was in effect for both clubs. Lots of players hunting for baseballs, some dropping for no reason. Who wants to see that? You got a roof, close it. Baseball was meant to be played indoors. I mean, the biggest round of applause was for a cloud that rolled in front of the sun in the seventh inning.
- While I've never liked the DeWayne/Todd pairing, Todd/B.A. is solid.
- No GDT (THANKS OB[rett]AMA) but the guys improvised. Good job, good effort.
- Oh, the Rays are now just 3.5 games back of the Yankees and all alone in second. Word is that white flags can be had for cheap in the Walmart clearance racks.
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