The Biggest issues for the 2016 Rays have been:
- Starters failing to pitch deep into the game
- Sloppy defense
- Shaky bullpen
Let's see how those areas faired going against the team with the worst record in all of baseball.
It only lasted until the 2nd pitch of the game before the Rays defense did something embarrassing. Brandon Guyer got all turned around on a fly ball to the warning track, the ball then bounced right off his glove and then it rolled away.
Guyer could not recover fast enough to get the ball back in before Nunez raced home for an inside the park home run.
Of all the ways the Rays have failed lately, I think the terrible defense is the one that drives me to drink most.
Matt Moore had a very "Matt Moore" day. Some really filthy pitches, poor command, too many balls and failing behind too many batters, gave up some good contact, and only went 5 innings. Moore's biggest trouble came in the 4th. A single, walk, double, and a sac-fly got the Twins a 3-2 lead. The Twins would later add a 4th on a Brian Dozier line-drive HR.
I can't help but think we might see Moore moved to the bullpen at some point this season. It could maybe do some good for Matt to come in for an inning or two with a ramped up fastball and that filthy curve. But right now, it is really hard to watch the 5 or so innings of a Matt Moore start.
Erasmo Ramirez gave up one run in the 6th, but oh boy what a tightrope adventure he worked. Here's what the inning looked like:
Bases loaded HBP
I miss bullpen ace Erasmo, and not burnt out bullpen arm Erasmo.
Up next came Xavier Cedeno: 1 inning, 3 hits, and 1 run. Somebody call Philippe Petit, because the Rays bullpen just love to set up that tightrope and walk that wire.
Dana Eveland would get the next crack at the Twins. Eveland would not give up a run (hurray), but not for lack of trying (2 hits, but also induced a perfect double-play ball).
The bullpen's final line: 3 innings, 7 H, 1 BB, and 2 ERs.
Rays offense showed some "Royals-esc" contact hitting with 2-outs to tie on a opposite field RBI single from Longo, and a sharp RBI single into centerfield by LoMo gave the Rays their first lead of the evening 2-1.
Brad Miller and Curt Casali each had a couple of hits. That's good.
In other good news: The Rays finally have a double digit HR guy! Evan Longoria brought the Rays back into the lead with a 2-run HR in the top of the 5th, chasing Phil Hughes from the game and giving Longo his 10th homer on the season.
This team desperately needs to some fun. Some excitement. Some energy. I'm not sure if a roster shakeup (call-ups and DFA's) will turn the season around, but it could certainly make Rays baseball fun again.
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