Friday night quick hits:
Drew Smyly pitched better than his line indicated. He struck out the side in the first inning and only allowed one hit in the third, fourth and fifth innings. However, the second and sixth innings were nearly identical in their outcomes. He retired the first two batters in each, then allowed a baserunner and eventually a home run. Luckily the Rays had a five run lead at the time of the second homer.
Brad Boxberger came in for the save and gave up a solo home run, inching that ERA closer to 4.00.
The offense scored all eight of their runs in two innings. James Loney walked to lead off the second, and Tim Beckham drove a high fastball juuuuuuuuuust over the wall in left-center to pull the Rays within a run at 3-2. That makes nine homers for Beckham in a limited amount of playing time. He's going to make a nice utility player for the full 2016 season, or depending on what happens with Asdrubal Cabrera, a starter? No Nick Franklin, please.
My favorite thing in baseball is when a pitcher intentionally walks a batter only to get destroyed by the next man up. That's what happened in the fifth inning when Tyler Wilson walked Evan Longoria to load the bases with one out to get to Grady Sizemore. Sizemore laced a bases clearing double into the right-centerfield gap, putting the Rays up 5-3. Sizemore hasn't been a good hitter, but walking Longoria, who hasn't hit well against right handed pitching, to load the bases didn't make any sense. Steven Souza followed with a walk and was driven in with Sizemore on a double by James Loney. Nick Franklin would add yet another double, aided by poor fielding by Baltimore. He hit a pop up between second base and centerfield that no one took ownership of and hustled his way into second when the ball found the turf.
The real star of the game was Mikie Mahtook. The rookie outfielder had the eighth 5-5 night in Rays history, including two doubles. He only has 82 plate appearances, so a perfect night at the plate is going to substantially increase his slash lines, but he's now up to .301/.370/.562. The Rays are going to have some decisions to make for next season when it comes to the outfield. They have Kevin Kiermaier, Souza, Brandon Guyer, Desmond Jennings, and Mahtook all under contract. I have a feeling Jennings may be the odd man out.