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O’s 5, Rays 4: This all seems oddly familiar...

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Time Seth Smith is a Flat Circle

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Baltimore Orioles Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

All things are bad and nothing is right.

The Rays lose a close one as day turns to night.

You can’t ask the bullpen to hold any lead.

An actual lefty is something we need.

A Comedy of Errors

Plenty of digital ink has been spilled over Cobb’s missing changeup. If you have seen Cobb’s missing changeup, please make no attempt to approach is. Instead, call Kevin Cash at 1-800-BULLPEN. Cash Reward of one (1) free Flex Pack.

Anyway Cobb’s changeup, when he has thrown it, has been pretty flat, and the second inning saw plenty of flat changeups. Although striking out the first batter, Cobb eventually allowed five hits in this inning, leading to three runs being scored. Of course, this was not the most egregious part of the inning. The Orioles took advantage of an imprecise Cobb, lining balls to all parts of the park. With runners on first and second, Ryan Flaherty lined a ball to Kevin Kiermaier, scoring Hyun Soo Kim. Nonetheless, seeing Jonathan Schoop was dogging it on his way to third, Kiermaier threw the ball to third, where Longoria tagged out the surprised Schoop.

This, unfortunately, was to be the best play of the inning. With a runner on first, Seth Smith smacked a ball back to Kiermaier. Ryan Flaherty, who was running on the play, rounded second. Kiermaier, trying to remake the past, threw to third base but the ball sort of bounced away from Longoria. Flaherty started down the line for home, and went a bit too far. Alex Cobb ran to pick up the ball, and—while spinning towards third—threw the ball and struck Flaherty on the helmet. It bounced into left field, and Flaherty scored easily. Meanwhile, Smith had been chugging around the bases the whole time. While not exactly fleet-of-foot, Smith rounded third just as Shane Peterson corralled the ball. Unfortunately, his throw was very off-mark, curving towards Evan Longoria who acted as an impromptu cutoff man. Longoria’s third catch was the only one he actually received, but his throw home was too late to catch Seth “Wheels” Smith, and all of a sudden a single to left turned into an inside-the-park home run.

Decades from now, sports scientists will sit, high up in their ivory towers, and re-watch this play over and over again, searching for some deeper philosophical meaning. This clip will take the role of the honored and revered Yogi, whose zen koans seem banal but resist total characterization. Instead, these errors will slowly unfold like a lotus, revealing more and more deeper meaning: a baseball fractal with no end. #Birdland

More like Slim Wreck-em amirite folks?

If you play for the Rays, chances are Dylan Bundy was able to pitch pretty well against you. This, despite the fact that he clearly did not have his best stuff. The Rays hit approximately 7,000 fly balls off of Bundy tonight—many to the warning track—but most of the time it simply wasn’t enough. In the first, Bundy seemed unable to keep his pitches down, and fell behind to each Rays batter. Only Dickerson was able to capitalize, however, stroking a single to right that sort of died right in front of right fielder Seth Smith. After that inning, he settled in nicely and cleanly. I can’t help but feel like the Rays had their big chance in the first inning, a chance that was squandered after a caught stealing by Kevin Kiermaier to end it.

Of course, if your name rhymed with Slim Wreck-em...

Beckham doubled up on the solo homers tonight, hitting a pair of lasers to left field that looked like straight up carbon copies of each other. It is a good sign for T-Bex, who now has 3 more home runs than Buster Posey this season.

Squandered opportunities

As the game progressed, Bundy began to allow a few more chances, chances the Rays were ultimately unable to capitalize on. In the sixth, Kiermaier worked an excellent 10-pitch walk, and moved to first on a botched pick off attempt by Dylan Bundy. Evan Longoria, up to bat next, hit a ground ball up the middle that from the TV angle looked to have founded a hole. And yet, Jonathan Schoop was shaded just towards second base, and Schooped up the ball with no problem. With Kiermaier on third, Derek Norris popped out on the first pitch, stranding Ol’ Blue Eyes 90 feet away. Missed opportunity #1.

The next inning also seemed promising. Souza led off the inning with a hard hit liner to center that was snagged by Adam Jones, but Logan Morrison followed it up with a double to the left field corner. With Beckham looming on deck, Buck Showalter had seen enough. Turning to Michael Givens, Tim Beckham smacked a hanging slider on the first pitch, but his hard-hit liner ultimately found the glove of a waiting Hyun Soo Kim. In the next at bat, Shane Peterson appeared to foul a ball off of his foot, even going so far as to stay in the box. The ball, however, rolled fair, and home plate ump Will Little called it “in play.” Kevin Cash went out to argue a little bit, but there was no way it was getting overturned, so the Rays neglected to challenge. Missed opportunity #2.

The eighth inning was by far the best chance to put the Rays ahead. After loading the bases with no outs, the Rays were able only to push across the tying run, thanks to a sliding Chris Davis stop on a ground ball that seemed destined for right field. But, alas, destiny is fake, and Souza flew out harmlessly to left. Missed opportunity #3.

Beckham, with all his offensive prowess today, nearly cost the Rays the game in the eighth when he airmailed a ball to first base in the bottom of the eighth, putting Machado on second with no outs. But Erasmo (in his third inning pitched) buckled down—taking advantage of an ever-widening strike zone by Will Little—to hold to O’s to nothing. Bexx tried to make up for his two-base error by collecting a two-base hit himself (his tenth total base of the night) but the Rays stranded him at second.

ErACEmo worked the ninth and retired the side, ending his night with four innings pitched in relief. This man is a national treasure.

Extra baseball

Since the game began with a Seth Smith little league home run, it might as well end with the pinnacle of the little league play: the four-pitch walk-off walk. In the top of the 11th, the Rays managed to push across a run thanks to a broken-bat RBI single by Jesus Sucre. Holding that lead, though, would be no easy task.

In the bottom of the inning, Cash kept Colome out there for the second-straight inning, a position that he has not excelled in this year. And Colome, true to form, was not sharp. The Rays’ closer allowed two hits and two walks, giving up the lead on a sac fly. With the bases loaded, Cash finally turned to Danny Farquhar, who...I mean...

Look, the Rays already won on a walk-off walk this year, so turnabout is fair play.

But man, this one stings. It felt so good for such a brief period of time, but it slipped away faster than a Seth Smith inside-the-parker.

The Rays take a much-needed off-day tomorrow, which will give them (and me) plenty of time to forget about this crap.