Jose Quintana faced off against Chris Archer as the Rays limp to the end of the season. The Rays lineup is one where you would ideally only have three of their batters against a quality left handed starting pitcher in Logan Forsythe, Evan Longoria, and Kevin Kiermaier for his glove lower in the batting order. The Rays have given extended run in the last month to Kiermaier, Brad Miller, and Corey Dickerson against lefties and I think it’s been a good move to get them more exposure since they will have to face left handed pitchers more often than not once the starter leaves the game.
The Rays got single runs off Quintana in the second and fourth innings. In the second inning Brad Miller walked in front of a Corey Dickerson single up the middle to put two runners on with no outs. After Mikie Mahtook struck out, Alexei Ramirez singled just out over Tim Anderson’s head at short. Miller aggressively read the ball clearing the infielder and scored easily on the play.
In the fourth inning Mikie Mahtook hit a liner that landed in the left-center field seats.
This ball got outta here quick, @MikieMahtook8. #RaysUp— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) September 30, 2016
WATCH: https://t.co/zkHViFS6x3 pic.twitter.com/SRzeQ7nzjv
After the White Sox scored their first run of the game the Rays answered with three in the seventh inning off Juan Minaya and Dan Jennings. The Rays strung together three hits to start the inning with a Mikie Mahtook double, Alexei Ramirez single, and Curt Casali RBI single. Bobby Wilson popped out to second base for the first out of the inning. Logan Forsythe was hit by a pitch to load the bases ahead of a Kevin Kiermaier RBI broken bat single that landed in front of Adam Eaton in right field. Evan Longoria smashed a liner directly at left fielder Melky Cabrera, but Casali scored on the play to plate the Rays fifth run. Brad Miller followed with his third walk of the game ahead of Corey Dickerson’s strikeout to end the threat.
Chris Archer pitched really well until the last three batters he faced after getting two outs in the seventh inning. The only hard contact he allowed was a triple that Tim Anderson lined to the fence that was misplayed by Mikie Mahtook in right field as the rebound off the fence allowed Anderson to get to third with one out in sixth. On the first pitch Melky Cabrera grounded out to second base to score the White Sox first run of the game.
In the seventh inning the rain really to fall and Archer was able to get two quick outs. Then Archer wasn’t able to find the zone as he walked Alex Avila before falling behind Carlos Sanchez 3-0. Sanchez turned on 3-1 fastball low in the zone that he kept fair for a homerun. The Rays were still up 5-3, but Leury Garcia hit an opposite field liner that Dickerson that he wasn’t able to keep in the glove as it hit off his palm on a jumping attempt over his head. That ended the night and season for Chris Archer. Brad Boxberger induced a ground ball to third base by Adam Eaton to end the threat.
Erasmo Ramirez pitched a good eighth inning after allowing a leadoff single to Tim Anderson. Cabrera followed with a tailor made double play to short. Jose Abreu weakly grounded to Miller to end the inning.
The rain progressively worsened over the final two inning before the game was delayed before the ninth inning started. The game was delayed 35 minutes.
Evan Longoria lined a double down the right field line to tie his career high in hits (169) and set a career high in extra base hits (78).
In the bottom of the ninth Alex Colome headed to the mound looking to collect his 36th save. Justin Morneau hit an infield single that Alexei Ramirez was able to get to, but he couldn’t get anything on the throw. Colome struck out Todd Frazier and Alex Avila for the first two outs of the inning. Carlos Sanchez sent a drive to center field, but Kevin Kiermaier tracked it down with a hop.
Despite Chris Archer’s disappointing season he has remained healthy and surpassed 200 innings (201.1) for the second straight season joining David Price, James Shields, and Matt Garza as the only Rays pitchers to accomplish the feat. His 233 strikeouts rank second in the American League behind Justin Verlander (246).
With the win the Rays have moved into a tie for the third pick of the draft with the Diamondbacks falling behind the Braves. The Rays take on the American League West champion Texas Rangers for the final three games of the season and they have home field advantage throughout the playoffs to play for.