After watching this 2015 team I’ve never been more convinced that Buddhists have it right and that reincarnation is the one true truth. Do you guy think that we all did something unfavorable in a past life, and as a result we’ve found our horse hitched to this particular small-market baseball team? Not to sound like a stereotypical whiny baseball fan (“Oh, it’s all Too Much!”) but I’m 100 percent positive we’re dead and this is hell.
Because, as a guy on a movie* once said, “Hope is a dangerous thing. Now, how do you spell ‘Zihuatanejo?’ Andy never really told me and it’s not exactly a household name.” I’ll never forget that quote. And over the past few days, this team has given us hope. Four game winning streak? 2 games out of a Wild Card Spot? Hope with a capital H.
So games like this definitely suck. They’re games I’m getting used to recapping to be honest, because I seem to only recap losses. When Chris Archer is on the mound you expect a certain level of success, but today was clearly some kind of off-day for him, because he was leaving stuff up all over the place, and not even his plus-plus slider could get him out of the sticky situations he was in tonight.
Archie put the Rays in a bit of a hole early with back-to-back singles by Choo and Fielder, but all things considered it could have been much worse. The game never really felt as though it was out of reach for a long time, even in the second inning when Chris Gimenez, former Ray, launched a two-run homer to put the Rangers up 3-0. Of course he did. It didn’t even feel out of reach in the third when the Rays, in their best scoring opportunity thus far, came up empty when Grady Sizemore hit a hard luck liner right to Prince Fielder at first base, ending a first-and-second-one-out opportunity. It may have scored Jaso from first, it definitely would’ve scored Rene Rivera from second base.
These are all bad luck things, and they stink, but they didn’t feel like they’d sink this team. What resilience! What drive! The Rays have been a team with a purpose as of late, and I’m certainly not reading too much into this. In the fifth, when a hustling Kiermaier rounded third and headed home to score the first run of the game, it felt like the first of many. Even if it wasn’t happening that inning, it was only a matter of time. The Rays just needed 4 runs. It could happen!
Well, it did. The Rays ended up with 4 runs, but not after a disastrous 7-run sixth inning in which neither Archer nor Kirby Yates could buy an out. It wasn’t even a BABIP’d to death kind of thing. Archer allowed a run or two on a bloop hit, sure, but the second hit of the inning was a blast to left field that was a couple feet away from an early two-run tater. After nabbing an out at home via a rather heads up play from Longo, Chris Gimenez (obviously) singled up the middle to score a run. Delino DeShields and Shin-Soo Choo followed suit, and Archer, at 98 pitches, was done.
Kirby Yates, Professional Baseball Pitcher, decided tonight’s dumpster fire wasn’t quite big enough. Next batter: ground ball back to the pitcher. Instead of making the easy play to first, Yates decided to play a little hero ball. He leaned back, tongue hanging from his mouth and provided the layup right to Rene Rivera…that sailed over his head and allowed a run to score. Next batter: Adrian Beltre. He launched a no-doubter to center, and everyone’s night was effectively over.
The Rays dropped a deuce on the field in the seventh, scoring two on a Longo single. Immediately after, Longo got picked off of first. So it’s a real give-and-take type of thing. Asdrubal Cabrera hit a homer in the eighth, too! That was pretty neat. When the Rays get ten hits you might expect them to win most of the time.
Not tonight though. Tonight, with the Angels losing, they tread water just a little longer. But the rope is getting tighter.
*ohhh it was the shawshank redemption!
i knew i'd remember it some time