Tonight’s game had the sorts of frustrations that seem emblematic of this season. Bad luck, missed opportunities, partial comebacks. Starting pitching that isn’t awful but also isn’t effective. A bullpen that’s effective until it’s not.
The Rays came up to bat after a 30 minute rain delay and got to work quickly. Batting second even though there was a lefty on the mound, Kevin Kiermaier worked a walk, sprinting to first base because that’s the way he rolls. Longoria followed up with a Coors field triple, a line drive just clearing the short stop’s glove and then disappearing into the cavernous left-center alley. Running all the way, Kiermaier scored easily to get the Rays started with a 1-0 lead.
Smyly gave back the lead in the first on back to back doubles. He lost the strike zone completely in the fourth, walking two batters before allowing a single and a sac fly, making the score 3-1.
Oddly enough, however, in these early innings Smyly was getting a fair number of ground balls, which is typically not his game. Several went for hits, but he also induced several ground outs, including a double play ball. Of course that came to an end in the fifth: a bloop into the vast Coors no-man’s land followed by a Trevor Story home run, and a 5-1 Rockies lead. Rockies pitcher Tyler Anderson was locked in, inducing ground ball outs and honestly the game seemed pretty out of reach.
But this is Coors Field
The Rays, however, made it a game in the 7th inning. A LoMo walk put a man on first, which was fortunate because Tim Beckham tripled into the vast chasm of center field and it was 5-2. With Anderson replaced by reliever Ottavino,, Luke Maile singled and Nick Franklin doubled to make it 5-4.
But these are still the 2016 Rays...
Which means even though Evan Longoria led off the 8th inning with a triple (giving him 2 on the night, which was two more than he has had all year) the Rays were unable to score any more runs. Longoria no doubt had an excellent view from third as Corey Dickerson, Logan Morrison and Stephen Souza Jr. struck out.
Dylan Floro pitched an impressive 1.2 innings, but unfortunately he was in for 2 innings. After two quick outs in the 8th, the Rockies strung together an infield hit (ruled out on the field but overturned), a double and a wild pitch to make the score 6-4. Floro then yielded a walk and a line drive to left, where Corey Dickerson managed to kick it away before fielding it. The run would probably have scored anyway, but the booted ball and the ill timed strike out made this a rather ignominious homecoming for Dickerson.
- One painful but fortunately not very damaging moment came in the bottom of the third. With a runner on first, DJ LeMahieu lined to center, where Kiermaier played the ball a bit awkwardly so that it — ouch — bounced off his chest before hitting his glove. He did manage to hold onto the ball and to get it back to first base, doubling off the runner.
- How happy are we to have Kiermaier back for this series? Hard to imagine anyone else covering center field at Coors.
- Logan Forsythe is not a high altitude guy. 0-5 with three strikeouts.
- Charlie Blackmon’s beard seems like it should have its own Twitter feed.