The Rays began their inexorable march to October 2016 by winning today in Coors Field against the Rockies, taking a road series for the first time since FDR was in office. Chris Archer did a fairly good job of limiting damage the entire game, a feat Jorge de la Rosa was
unfortunately unable to replicate. With this win, the Rays have won the first two games of their inevitable 26 game winning streak which will propel them into second place in the AL Wild Card.
An Early Hole
Archer has had a lot of trouble both limiting runs in the first inning, as well as maintaining a lead after the offense hands him one. Thus, when the Rays scored first in the first inning on an Evan Longoria double, a perfect Colorado storm seemed to be brewing. Archer, instead, managed to keep the Rockies off the board in the first. But not the second.
Daniel Descalso stroked a one-out double and reached third base when the outfield couldn’t corral it. Mark Reynolds walked to put runners on the corners, and the next batter hit a sacrifice bunt that no Ray could turn into an out, tying the game up. After a wild pitch that put two men in scoring position, Charlie Blackmon hit a flyball that was deep enough to send the runner at third. At first, Steven Souza Jr. seemed to nail the tagging runner at home, but the Rockies challenged. After a six minute (!) challenge, the call was somehow overturned. Archer seemed rather confused during the delay, throwing pitches to keep warm, then stopping, then restarting. No more runs would score, but the Rays were down early.
Until it wasn’t...
Until they weren’t. The Rays scored eight runs over the next two innings thanks to a rare offensive onslaught without the benefit of a home run. Guyer was hit by a pitch (what else is new) and Longo doubled him to second. Steve Peace grounded out to tie the game, but the Rays collected three straight two-out hits to score another two runs and make it a 4-2 game.
In the fourth, Chris Archer fulfilled a lifelong dream (probably) and drew a walk to lead off. He moved to second on a Forsythe single, but the Rays made two more outs, nearly stranding him in scoring position. After Longo’s pop out, however, the Rays collected four straight two-out hits to score five more runs. Pearce doubled home Archer, Tim Beckham singled home a pair, Souza drove in a run, and even de la Rosa helped out the cause, throwing a ball past the catcher to score another run. After the inning ends, the Rays were up 9-2.
In the sixth Dickerson finally settled back down in Colorado collecting a two-out (another one!) triple and was driven in by Beckham for a 10-2 lead. Meanwhile, Archer settled down, allowing those only two early runs on four hits and two walks through those six innings. He also tallied eleven more strikeouts to his season total. One strikeout for each of the runs the Rays scored. If they keep this up, Chris Archer might be the winningest pitcher in baseball, instead of the losingest.
- Tim Beckham collected a career-high five hits today (four singles and one double). He clearly heard everyone’s calls for Nick Franklin to stick around, and has responded accordingly. FYI, Buster Posey, so far, has had two five-hit games.
- On the other hand, Curt Casali had a day to forget. He went 0-5 and ended both the third and fourth inning rallies. Last night Rene Rivera hit the game-winning single for the New York Mets, just sayin’.
- Eleven of the sixteen hits for the Rays today came with two outs, as did ten of the eleven runs scored.
- Luke Maile batted for Kevin Jepsen (lol NL) in the ninth but stayed in to play first base instead of catcher. As far as I can tell, the last time he played catcher in a professional baseball game was in 2013, when he played for four innings for the Bowling Green Hot Rods, the A affiliate.
Tomorrow the Rays play against the Oakland A’s and Sonny Gray. That is, unless he’s been traded by then.