Ah, Edwin Jackson. We’ve missed you. And I think we can all agree (unlike in our discussions of Wil Myers) that we both like you and are happy you’re a former Ray.
The bottom of the second inning was a very Edwin Jackson inning. Matt Duffy led off a line drive up the middle for a single, and then EJ lost his strike zone, missing down and away to Logan Morrison on four straight pitches. He threw three more balls to Steven Souza Jr., before getting a break when ball four hit Souza’s checked swing. Still, the real ball four came two pitches later, loading the bases with no outs.
That cued the footage of Jackson’s ridiculous, sloppy no-hitter against the Rays. And for a second he made us wonder. Against Corey Dickerson, Jackson reminded us why he’s a major league starting pitcher with a long career. After throwing ball one, he painted the bottom outside corner, got Dickerson to chase a fastball above the zone, and then put him away with a nasty slider at the bottom of the zone.
Of course, most of the time that you walk the bases loaded, you don’t wiggle out. Luke Maile grounded down the line and past third, plating all three runs.
The Rays got back to it in the third inning. Evan Longoria led off with a triple, taking a pretty good pitch hard the other way into the right-field corner. Duffy swung at a slider down and in, and just barely made contact, but in a bizarre twist to the saying, his soft contact tore the cover off the ball, and the altered shape caused it to roll fair for a single. When Logan Morrison got a much more traditional hit (line drive double into right field), both Longoria and the speedy Duffy came home.
By this point, the wheels were off. Corey Dickerson walked, Luke Maile lined a single up the middle, scoring Morrison. Nick Franklin grounded a single into right, scoring Dickerson. When the dust settled, it was 7-0.
Take This As A Warning
Blake Snell is not Edwin Jackson. His stuff is better, and the Rays know how to use the kind of stuff that he has better than they seemed to with Jackson. But I think Rays fans everywhere cringed a bit watching EJ lose command—spotting the Rays seven runs—and then immediately afterward watching Snell load the bases with one out on a walk and two singles, and then walk home the first Padres run of the game. That poor sequence was Snell’s third and fourth walks in his first four innings.
Then Snell reminded Rays fans why he’s exciting, striking out both Myers and Yangervis Solarte on high fastballs to limit the damage.
Some other notes:
- If you look up “BABIP’d” in “the dictionary,” you’ll see a video of the last out of the first inning. Brad Miller pulled the ball hard and on a line, but the second baseman was shifted far out into short right field. And he still had to leap to make a reaction catch. That’s rough.
- In the top of the second, Blake Snell struck out Travis Jankowski by throwing four straight fastballs straight down the middle. There’s a reason Snell is one of the top pitching prospects in the game. That fastball, with its combination of velocity and elite-level rise, is special.
- Brief interview with Wil Myers in the third: “I did some really immature things here that I wish I could take back.” He sounds pretty mature now. You know what it is when you trade talented players low because of how they [don’t] fit into your clubhouse? A failure of management.
- In the bottom of the fourth inning, Brad Miller hit a very impressive home run high off the batters’ eye in straight center field. Then, in his next at bat, in the fifth, he hit another, also to center. Wow.
- Not to let the other ex-Mariner middle infielder have all the fun, Nick Franklin also belted a two-run homer. For a moment there he was the forgotten man, but he’s done well recently.
- And not to let middle infielders have the fun, Corey Dickerson hit a home run in the sixth.
- And not to have relatively-newly-acquired players have all the fun, Longoria (who tied Carl Crawford’s “Games Played in a Rays Uniform” record) hit a home run in the seventh.
- The Rays 15 runs were the most they’ve scored this season.