The Tampa Bay Rays lost yesterday afternoon to the Minnesota Twins 5-4 after starter Jake Odorizzi gave up a 1st inning grand slam to the newly acquired Korean slugger Byung Ho Park. However, there were many positives to take from the game. Here's a (probably incomplete) list:
- Odorizzi started the game with 2 strikeouts before losing control. Hickey told Jake that his head position was a little off during his delivery, something that is easy to fix.
- Brad Boxberger was hit hard by his first two batters faced but completed the inning unscathed with mostly 92 mph fastballs.
- Danny Farquhar made pitching look easy in the 6th inning, getting two swinging strikeouts and a ground out around a borderline-called walk.
- Blake Snell absolutely dominated his first inning of relief with two swinging strikeouts and a groundout. He ended up going 2.0 IP, allowing 1 hit and 1 walk in 39 pitches, 25 for strikes. The fastball consistently sat 95-96, with plenty of off speed and breaking balls mixed in.
- Daniel Robertson made two nice plays in a row at shortstop to help Snell get out of the 8th inning.
- After allowing a leadoff single and then a walk to start the 9th, Eddie Gamboa mixed 90 mph fastballs in with plenty of knuckleballs for two strikeouts and a ground out to end the inning safely.
- Johnny Field ended the day 0-2, but both outs were hard hit liners that required strong defensive plays to rob him of two extra base hits. Both outs also ended in double plays as on base runners were thrown out.
- Down 5-1 going into the bottom of the 9th, the bats came alive to make it interesting. Luke Maile started with a lead-off double, followed by a Patrick Leonard walk. Daniel Robertson ripped a double to left field to score Maile and put runners on 2nd and 3rd with no outs. Hank Conger, batting against his weak split side (LHP), grounded out to score the runner from 3rd. Now 5-3, Juniel Querecuto battled for 7 pitches and singled in Robertson on a line drive to left field to make it 5-4. Thomas Milone threw a giant bucket of ice water on the crowd when he struck out to end the string of five straight base runners.
- With the tying run on and two outs in the 9th, Ryan Brett ended the game with a launch to the left-center gap that would have scored Juniel Querecuto, but the left fielder made an incredible over-the-shoulder running catch at the warning track to end the game.