Last night's game was a nail biter and one of the most dramatic of the Rays season. It had the surprising heroes, questionable managerial decisions, and several memorable moments. You had Richie Shaffer making highly anticipated major league debut, Kevin Kiermaier coming few inches from making one the best catches of the season, Grady Sizemore coming through with a clutch homer, Mikie Mahtook finally getting a basehit with a runner in scoring position after failing to do so several times previously in the game, and then finally Kevin Kiermaier nailing Alexi Ramirez at the plate who made a valiant effort to jump over Curt Casali, only to fall flat on his face.
Yes, Kevin Cash's bullpen usage in the game was questionable, especially with how one of the moves worked out. However, you can't predict everything that's going to happen in this game and that's what makes it so enjoyable. Who would have guessed that Mahtook would have the game winning hit after struggling so much earlier in the game, or that Grady Sizemore would tie the game with a homer off a left handed pitcher.
The victory put the Rays back just one game under .500, and just two games back in the very tight American League wild card race, where there are three teams tied for the second wild card, two of them from the East (the supposedly weakest division). The White Sox fell to 50-54 and are now 3.5 games back in the wild card chase.
Today's Starting Pitchers:
Chris Archer vs Chris Sale
Archer's last time out he was the definition of a tough luck loser. He was pitching a beautiful game in an excellent pitching duel with Justin Verlander. He took a perfect game into the seventh inning and was able record an out, before an infield single ended the perfect game. The inning would quickly escalate thanks to a costly error and eventually two runs would score, both unearned, and the Rays would lose by the score of 2-1. Archer's final line on the day was seven innings pitched, two runs on three hits, while he struck out 11 and walked 0. Archer has been incredible this year as he only allowed more than three runs to score in four of his 22 starts, and he's only allowed more than two runs in six of those starts.
Chris Sale Scouting Report:
Sale pitched against the Rays back on June 14th and was towards the end of a great day on the mound when he made a mistake. The mistake resulted in a two run homer for Asdrubal Cabrera that gave the Rays a 2-1 lead, which they'd go on to win by the score. Sale threw a noticeable tantrum on the mound and was finally removed from the game after walking a couple of batters. His times on the mound since that outing have been up and down, with his last time out being disastrous. It turned out to be his second shortest outing of the year, he allowed seven runs on 12 hits against the Red Sox and only lasted five innings.
|PITCH||VELOCITY||FREQUENCY||vs LHB||vs RHB|
41% vs LHB
43% vs RHB
|Sporadic, but usually up in the zone||Up in the zone, tends to stay near the inside corner|
09% vs LHB
11% vs RHB
|Low and in||Low and away|
17% vs LHB
31% vs RHB
|Bottom of the zone, usually away||Keeps it middle away, either around the hitter's waste level or down in the zone|
33% vs LHB
14% vs RHB
|Low and away, usually out of the zone||Low and in, usually out of the zone|
- Asdrubal Cabrera has the most experience against Sale, is 9-35 with 2 homers against him
- Richie Shaffer making his first start at third, with Longoria DH'ing.
Joey Butler makes the start in left field, with Logan Forsythe at first, and Tim Beckham at second.
|TAMPA BAY RAYS||CHICAGO WHITE SOX|
|Brandon Guyer -LF||Adam Eaton - CF|
|Tim Beckham - 2B||Tyler Saladino - 3B|
|Evan Longoria - DH||Jose Abreu - DH|
|Logan Forsythe - 1B||Melky Cabrera - LF|
|Asdrubal Cabrera - SS||Alexei Ramirez - SS|
|Richie Shaffer - 3B||Adam LaRoche - 1B|
|Mikie Mahtook - RF||Avisail Garcia - RF|
|Kevin Kiermaier - CF||Carlos Sanchez - 2B|
|Rene Rivera - C||Tyler Flowers - C|
|Chris Archer - RHP||Chris Sale - LHP|
Other Rays Notes:
- August 4th in team history, of which they are 7-9
- 2000 - Trailing 9-4 heading into the bottom of the 8th against the Orioles, the Devil Rays strike for five runs to tie the game. The charge was highlighted by a three run homer from Greg Vaughn (his 18th of the season), and a two run triple courtesy of Jose Guillen. The game would go to extras and unfortunately for Tampa Bay, they'd lose after 15 innings by the score of 10-9.
- 2004 - Entering the bottom of the 7th, trailing the Boston Red Sox, 4-1, the Devil Rays had their first three batters in the inning reach base. Toby Hall stepped up the plate with the bases loaded against Bronson Arroyo. With the count 1-2, Hall took Arroyo's next offering and deposited in the seats in left field for a grand slam that gave Tampa Bay the lead. They'd win the game by the score 5-4.
- 2009 - After being shutout for the first six innings of the game, the Rays score a run in consecutive innings to tie a game against Boston and force it into extra innings. The game would last 13 innings, until finally Evan Longoria lifted a walkoff homer to send the Rays home winners.
- 2010 - During a pitching duel between Scott Baker of the Minnesota Twins and David Price, the Rays were held scoreless until the bottom of the ninth. Entering the inning, the Rays were trailing 1-0, but following a double and a flyout, Dan Johnson stepped and did Dan Johnson things, singling home a run to tie the game. Unfortunately, the Rays would lose after 13 innings after Lance Cormier allowed a run in his forth inning of relief.
- 2011 - This game seems a fun one to rewatch, as it featured the Rays and Jays trading runs during the 10th and 11th innings, but perhaps more incredible, a Jose Molina triple. Finally after 12 back and fourth innings, Robinson Chirinos sent the Rays home winners with a walkoff single.
- 2014 - The Rays suffer a walkoff loss at the hands of the Athletics after Grant Balfour allows a single to Derek Norris that scored Sam Fuld from third.