While some in our community are pushing for the Rays to lose enough games to be assured a top draft pick, others can’t stand the thought of losing to the Red Sox no matter what the circumstances. For those of us in the latter camp, there is no such thing as a meaningless game at Fenway Park.
The Rays drew a difficult match up tonight, as Rick Porcello has been very good this year, and especially good in Fenway Park. But all it takes is a bloop and a blast, so there’s always hope for a win.
There was a lot of offense in the early going. Perhaps, as Brian Anderson suggested during the broadcast, it’s hard for pitchers to face the same team two outings in a row -- the batters can guess what’s coming. In the second inning, Mookie Betts tagged Andriese for a no-doubt homer. The Red Sox followed that with three hits and a walk, which sounds like it ought to be good for a lot of runs. But the Sox ran into two outs at the plate, and so were only able to add one run to their score. At the end of the second it was Bad Guys 2, Rays 0.
But the Rays were able to make some contact off of Porcello, too. The bottom of the Rays order managed three consecutive singles to score a run. Another single plus a Longoria sac fly and the score was tied, 2-2.
Andriese Isn’t Good Enough to Face Good Hitters Twice in a Week
That state of equilibrium did not, however, last for long. Honestly it became sort of a blur of hard hit Red Sox balls and either bad or unlucky Rays defensive plays as the Red Sox runs mounted. It was tied at two and then suddenly the Sox had seven runs.
Tampa Bay did manage to get one back in the top of the fifth (Dickerson double and two ground balls). And they loaded the bases in the 8th against Clay Bucholz, who is trying his hand at relief pitching, scoring another on a second Longoria sac fly. But Porcello, even not in top form, vs. Rays hitters is still a lot better than an ineffective Andriese against Red Sox hitters. It was a game in which I just hoped no one would get hurt and it would end quickly (the latter sentiment evidently shared by homeplate umpire Mike Estabrook, who rung up Matt Duffy on a pitch 4 inches out of the strike zone to end the Rays 8th inning rally).
Were There Any Silver Linings?
- The bullpen held it’s own, with Danny Farquhar getting some of the whiffs we talked about . (Yeah, Boxberger gave up 2 runs, largely because he walked two batters to go along with a couple of seeing eye singles. And Cedeno gave up a walk and a hit, needing 28 pitches to get through the 8th. So maybe not such a great bullpen performance after all).
- Corey Dickerson continued to swing a hot bat. He’s a doubles machine.
- Matt Andriese, who has had some good outings this both as a starter (early in the year) and a reliever, would not be starting games if this team were actually in contention.
- In games like this, I’m grateful to Dewayne and BA, who seem to find amusement even in the most lackluster losses.