Poor, poor Drew Smyly. Even when he pitches well, he doesn't get a win.
Who has the lowest ERA since 8/1/14 in the AL?— Ryan Adams (@ScrumRyanRadio) May 4, 2016
Not Keuchel. Not Sale. Not King Felix.#Rays lefty, Drew Smyly (2.54).
An argument could be made that the Rays won the David Price trade on the backs of Smyly alone. With Willy Adames having a field day in Montgomery the pot looks only sweeter. This despite the fact that Nick Franklin has been dead for four months and Durham has been wheeling him around, Weekend at Bernie's-style. Didn't they make two movies out of that premise? Back in the day when America was full of creative innovators. The amount of creative freestyling that had to happen to milk that cow despite rigor mortis confounds and baffles me.
Anyway, :) started off pretty darn well, striking out five of the first six men he faced. Smyly walked Justin Turner to lead off the second, but I think he was more startled by this more than anything else:
Home run for Guyer in #Rays 1st— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) May 4, 2016
A little disappointed that he wasn't willing to take one for the team and pick up a HBP but whatever, some guys just don't have the gene. Anyway, Smyly worked the second to the fourth with a lead, a (probably) record-breaking stretch for Smyly this season, bless his heart.
In the fourth Smyly allowed a run (and got out of the inning thanks to a misstep by Yasmani Grandal, not his only of the night) but the Rays picked him right back up with a Steven Souza Jr. rocket to left, keeping the boys in (Columbia) blue in the lead.
Steve Pierces the veil
The top of the sixth inning brought frustrations and anxieties for the Rays. Smyly allowed two consecutive singles to Puig and Adrian Gonzalez, two absolute monsters of men. Cash went to the bullpen for friend to animals and true hero Everyday Erasmo. Ramirez uncharacteristically uncorked a wild pitch, allowing his first inherited runner of the year to score. This put a runner on second with no outs, yet Erasmo hung in there and kept making those pitches, preventing another runner from scoring.
The bottom of the sixth inning, however, brought merry tidings and good fortune for everyone wearing a very specific shade of blue. The Rays got two on with nobody out, despite a ground ball that appeared destined for the standard Longo GIDP. Instead, the third baseman Charlie Culberson let the throw pull Chase Utley off of the bag to let everyone simply stay put. In steps Steve Pearce, who had made nice, solid contact the entire day against Alex Wood.
Thanks for that editorial, @RaysBaseball
Considering that he's been riding the bench a little bit more than we'd like to see out of a free agent acquisition, it was nice to see Steve-O continue to make some nice solid contact. God do I love me some nice, solid contact.
The worst part about this inning was that Steven Souza Jr. apparently pulled a muscle praying before his atbat or something and had to be taken out of the game.
Slidin' into your DL like
As of press time (with the internet, press time is any time!)
the extent of his injury is unclear, but when you're born with glass bones & paper skin and you can still launch a gazillion dingerz who knows what could be wrong.
Steven Souza Jr. left tonight's game with a pectoral spasm. The injury is not believed to be serious. #Rays— RaysRadio (@RaysRadio) May 5, 2016
Hey not bad. Looks like we won't have to pull Mikie Mahtook off of the AAA DL after all.
Offensive offense and offensive pitching
From then on it was a surprising offensive showing from the Rays. Not the kind of "offensive" that often accompanies talking about runs, but the one with the positive connotation! Curt Casali got the seventh inning underway with another home run (the fourth of the night!) Logan Forsythe reached base on a walk right after that, despite the 98 mph fire that Dodgers pitcher Pedro Baez was spitting. In a strange turn of events, Yasmani Grandal allowed two passed balls in the next at bat to Brandon Guyer, putting Frosty all the way over to third. Longoria doubled with two outs, and then he too reached third base on a wild pitch from Baez. KK doubled him in to make it two consecutive three-run innings, giving the Rays an 8-2.
The bullpen in the eighth inning, however, was completely bizarre. The Dodgers got only one hit (a single by Justin Turner) and yet managed to collect three runs, getting the tying run (in the form of Carl Crawford) to the plate. Enny Romero, normally a sure arm, fell apart almost entirely.
Before today, #Rays Enny Romero had thrown 90 of 140 pitches for strikes (64 percent). Today, nearly the opposite 7/20 (35 percent)— Neil Solondz (@neilsolondz) May 5, 2016
Enny collected not a single out, instead giving up a hit and three walks, pushing a runner across. Kevin Cash, visibly nauseated, called to Xavier Cedeno while Romero shouted into his glove.
Cedeno didn't allow a hit, but did walk Corey Seager on pitches not particularly close to the zone to allow another run. Brett Phillips, visibly nauseated, walked out of his office and took a walk outside, all the while listening to Dave and Andy call the game. Joc Pederson, Carl Crawford, and Yasiel Puig were the next few batters, and the tension in their voice was palpable. Every strike seemed like a surprise and a delight. Pederson softly flew out to Desmond Jennings, scoring another run to give the Dodgers a 8-5 game. Crawford stepping up to the plate representing that tying run seemed almost too much for Wills and Freed. They simply could not stop talking about Crawford's many clutch moments for the Rays, and when he pushed the count to 3-2 it seemed almost inevitable.
wayyyyyyyy too close for comfort.
After all that, Alex Colome's scoreless ninth seems like a dang walk in the park. El Caballo allowed a double to Justin Turner but avoided being Howie Kendrick'ed, shutting the door and earning a well deserved save. Rays avoid being the Rasy, win 8-5. Tomorrow is an off day, and I think I need some time off for my blood pressure to go down.
Come back soon Boxy. We're praying for you.
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