The Rays took on the Indians this afternoon at Tropicana Field although many wouldn't have known due to no local television coverage to catch this exciting pitching matchup between Danny Salazar and Chris Archer. To add extra salt to the wound, the MLB.TV "Free Game of the Day" would be this matchup, but due to blackout rules they can't show the game within the blackout area even if the game is not carried locally.
Pitchers work through trouble early.
Both pitchers were able to work around early trouble with command as they both walked three in the first couple innings. Archer would walk three while scattering five singles through the first four innings. His command wasn't good, but he was able to work around the baserunners even though he allowed four stolen bases (3 definitely on him, 1 on Conger).
The best scoring opportunity came in the bottom of the second for the Rays when they had runners on first and second due to walks drawn by Brad Miller and Steven Souza, Jr. with one out. Kevin Kiermaier hit a weak popup to left field for the second out. Hank Conger then made an attempt to put the Rays on the board with a line drive to right field that was caught by a diving Marlon Byrd in right field that would deny Conger of a two RBI double.
The Indians put runs on the board.
Brad Miller booted a routine ground ball by Roberto Perez to start the fifth inning. Next, Archer walked Davis to give the Indians an opportunity to get the lead with runners on first and second with no outs. Archer gave himself a chance to get out of the jam when he induced a weak fly ball to center field by Jason Kipnis, but Francisco Lindor would hit a single through the right side of the infield to put the Indians up 1-0.
In the bottom of the fifth Conger would line a double to right field with one out, but the Indians would challenge the play. Conger would be called out as he came off the bag for a split second as part of the popup slide.
With one out and runners on second and third Mike Napoli struck out on a ball in the dirt. Davis tried to score from third, but was tagged out by Archer at the plate. Mike Napoli however, made it to first without a throw after the swinging strike out to continue the inning. Archer would get a groundball to Miller out of Santana to end the inning while only down 1-0.
Archer returned to the mound to start the sixth inning just shy of 100 pitches. Perez lead off the inning with a single to left field. Then, Archer hung a first pitch slider to Marlon Byrd that he would deposit into the Ducky's Party Deck putting the Rays down 3-0.
Archer's final line was 5.1 IP, 7H, 3R, 2ER, 6 K, 3 BB.
Geltz came in after Archer recorded one out in the sixth inning. After striking out his first batter of the game Geltz allowed a solo home run to Rajai Davis to extend the Indians lead to 4-0.
Dana Eveland came on to pitch the seventh inning for the Rays and would allow Napoli to lead off the inning with a ground rule double down the right field line. He would almost work himself out of trouble, but Tyler Nyquin hit a 2 out single to score Napoli and give the Indians a 5-0 lead.
Jose Ramirez would tack on another run with a home run off of Danny Farquhar in the top of the ninth.
Archer wasn't bad, but he wasn't good.
Archer saw the return of his velocity as he threw many pitches in the 95-96 range. For the third outing this season he wasn't able to command his fastball, though. He struggled with command, but was able to limit the damage and keep the Rays into the game until he hung a slider to Byrd.
The offense has to get into gear. Hopefully the three lefties will get some offensive production. It will be a tough start against Sale on Friday night.
Logan Morrison continues his tough start to the season by going 0-4 with 3 Ks. Forsythe, Longoria, Jennings, and Souza also contributed two strikeouts a piece on their way to 14 total for the Rays.
Maybe Fox Sports and MLB.TV did us a favor by not allowing us to see this game.
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