Jake Odorizzi started the game off brightly, recognizing what seemed to be a wide strike zone early and working the outside of the plate. A Brandon Belt check-swing grounder beat the shift, but aside from that single, he was able to get the Giants batters to chase on the outside, and then to beat both Denard Span and Buster Posey with fastballs over the plate for the strikeout.
The Rays offense started off well also. Logan Forsythe singled on a line drive, and then advanced to third on a Brad Miller grounder up the middle. With Miller at first, Jake Peavy yanked a throw over to first and sent it beneath Miller’s dive back to the base, allowing Forsythe to score the first run of the game. Miller showed some good baserunning himself to get to third on an Evan Longoria groundout, but while Steve Pearce managed to put the ball in the air, it wasn’t quite deep enough for Miller to score, and the Rays had to settle for one run before a shaky Peavy was able to get out of the inning.
The Rays threatened again in the second inning, when Desmond Jennings bunted up the first base line for a base hit (overturned on replay) and Hank Conger bunted him over (nearly for a base hit himself, but thrown out at first). Mikie Mahtook struck out, and Forsythe hit a ground ball to shortstop that should have been an easy out, but it ate up Crawford for an error. The Rays stayed aggressive with the small ball, with Forsythe stealing second, but when Brad Miller hit it up the middle again, Crawford was well positioned this time to make the out.
In the third, the Rays once more got a runner to second base, but once more couldn’t bring him home. Longoria singled to start the inning, and then tagged up on a deep Logan Morrison fly ball (Morrison just got under it to miss the homer), but Pearce struck out and Dickerson popped out.
That put the Rays at 0-8 with men in scoring position this game.
Regretting Missed Opportunities
And while Jake Odorizzi appeared to be in control, it only took an instant to make the Rays regret their failure to "get the man in." In the top of the fourth inning, Odor hung a changeup over the heart of the plate, and Brandon Belt blasted it to right. It was only the second hit Odorizzi gave up, but it tied the game.
Nearly Regretting Missed Opportunities, But Instead Showing Some Bigtime Pitching and Defense
An inning later, after another stranded Rays baserunner, the Giants got back to work. Odorizzi grooved a mistake fastball to Matt Duffy, who hit it high off the center field wall for a double. Angel Pagan lined up the middle to put runners at first and third, and then stole second. The Rays had to deal with two runners in scoring position and no outs.
The next batter up, Trevor Brown, hit a short fly ball down the first-base line. Neither Mahtook nor Forsythe had a play, but Logan Morrison, sprinting straight back on the line, was able to get there. He made a running basket catch over his shoulder, and fired in a good run to hold the runner at third.
Next up, Gregor Blanco took two low balls before Odorizzi was able to find the zone and work back even. After several pitches were fouled, Odorizzi threw a fastball at the knees, several inches off the outside of the plate. It was not a strike. It was called one. Maybe give Conger some credit for the frame. Maybe Paul Nart just missed one.
Odorizzi gets the credit for the third out of the inning, though, when he froze Denard Span with a fastball at the hands, right on the inside edge. Big moment to get out of that inning.
Regret, For Realz
Now fast-forward to the eighth inning. The score was still 1-1. Jake Odorizzi was out of the game after six innings and 111 pitches. He had allowed only one run on four hits and one walk, with eight strikeouts. Matt Andriese had pitched a scoreless seventh. Xavier Cedeno started the inning.
First up, lefty Gregor Blanco singled on a grounder to right off a decent fastball at the bottom of the strike zone. Span bunted him over to second. And then Joe Panik, also a lefty, reached out to the outside third of the plate and pulled a line drive into right to score the go-ahead run.
Neither of those pitches were that bad by Cedeno, although he probably needed to get the second one slightly more outside and also down to the knees. But that’s what happens when a team misses its opportunities to build a commanding lead. It only takes a ground ball, a bunt, and a good piece of hitting on a less-than-perfect piece of pitching to ruin the day.
After that, the wheels came off. Cedeno lost the strike zone and walked Brandon Belt. Tyler Sturdevant repaced him, but Buster Posey laced a line drive into the right-center alley to score Panik. And then Conor Gillaspie hit another line drive into the same alley to score two runs.
Happy Father’s Day
Some other notes:
- Dewayne and BA went on a little soapbox speech in the third inning about how hard it is to make it to the majors and then to stay there. It was true, and worth remembering. But sort of unusual.
- Logan Morrison was rocking the one-arm paisley sleeve real hard. It’s a look. I dig it.
- There was a man in red shorts sitting in the bottom row near the tunnel by the right-field foul pole. He made a good catch leaning over the railing by the tunnel. It’s a catch he’s made before, and he looked cool doing it. BA noticed, and approved. We do too.
- In the fifth inning, with the Rays looking for a strikeout, BA noticed the Rays trying a bit of subterfuge. Hank Conger tapped the ground, likely audibly, as if he was calling for a low pitch. Then Odorizzi threw a high fastball. Gregor Blanco fouled it off, but it was still an interesting window into the games pitchers, catchers, and hitters play with each other.