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Rays 5 Yankees 1: Good pitching, timely hitting. How hard is that?

Tampa Bay Rays v Oakland Athletics Photo by Don Feria/Getty Images

I’ll be honest. When I joined the DRB 2016 recap team, I thought I’d be recapping a lot of games like this one.

We saw some very good pitching from Jake Odorizzi, who struck out 5 without yielding a walk. He scattered 6 hits, many of which were ground ball singles that didn’t do much damage. His control was good, his pitches seemed to go where he wanted them to go. The bullpen bent but didn’t break, with Dylan Floro and Erasmo Ramirez providing a few nail biting moments but Jepsen, Cedeno and Colome keeping things on track.

We saw solid, error-free defense. It’s certainly great to have Kevin Kiermaier back, although to my eye he looks as though he is still getting back into playing form — most obviously on offense, but even a bit on defense.

We saw pretty good offense. You like power? Well, you got your no doubt homers from Logan Forsythe and Corey Dickerson in the first; doubles from Miller and Longoria and an almost-homer-triple from Miller. You like your “get the man in” approach? There were runs on a ground out and a sac fly. Bases were stolen. Guyer did his thing (and by the way, coming into tonight’s game Brandon Guyer had 11 walks and 22 hit by pitches. That’s crazy).

I know the Rays record and the eye test tell me that the Rays haven’t been a good team. But games like this remind us that they really could have been better.

Too often, they have lost games because one aspect of their play has been wanting. A good start is blown by a bullpen collapse. Good pitching all around is defeated when the bats go cold. The team scores 6 runs but commits three errors that cost the game.

But this team is capable of good pitching, good enough defense and offense. Last night they all showed up together.

In conclusion, last night’s game was fun. Although I know there are advantages to improving the team’s 2017 draft position, I’m not convinced that the marginal benefit of getting, say, the 4th pick vs. the 6th is important enough to make a string of losses more palatable. Go Rays!