There are days where the Tampa Bay Rays are a blast to watch. Days of drama and exhilaration, nail bites and jubilation. And then there are days like today.
Days where a freak fingernail injury results in the opposing starting pitcher only being able to take the mound for one inning, requiring a Blue Jays bullpen to shoulder the load. Normally, this would mean good tidings for a baseball team’s offense. You pair that development with a starting pitcher like Chris Archer pitching lights-out four-hit, one-run baseball for 7.1 innings against a 7-17 baseball club, and ooh boy are we in for a treat.
But not today. Not these Rays. These Rays made a battery of Ryan Tepera, Aaron Loup, Dominic Leone, Joe Smith, 69-year-old JP Howell and Roberto Osuna (ok, fine) combine to look like the reincarnation of Roy Halladay out there.
These Rays would manage to muster just one lone run, on a sacrifice bunt of all things, over the entirety of an abysmally boring baseball game.
The only fireworks of note took place in the first and the eighth. Early in the first inning, Chris Archer surprised Jose Bautista with a throw behind him that resulted in a fairly epic stare down from the embattled Blue Jay and a warning from the umpire. It is not entirely clear if this was a response to the Steven Souza Jr. incident, or if there was another reason for the pitch, but it certainly made it interesting early.
Had you fallen asleep from then until the eighth inning, you would have chosen a sound time for some shut eye. After the sac bunt put the Rays on the board in the top of the frame, the Blue Jays obliterated Alex Colome in the bottom of it, after he and Archer combined to get themselves into trouble from which they could not find their way out. A Bautista double, singles from Russell Martin and Ezequiel Carrera, with a walk or two sprinkled in for good measure put the Blue Jays up 3-1.
The Rays offense was putrid and disappointing, as only Brad Miller, Logan Morrison, and Derek Norris were able to claim a hit on the day. A day which—remember now—was entirely a bullpen day put forth by the team that, prior to today, had the worst record in all of Major League Baseball.
That’s not fun. That’s not interesting. That’s not entertaining.
The 12-14 Rays head to Miami tomorrow, as they begin a four-game, home-and-home series against the Marlins. A series which, if anyone responsible for making the schedule had the common sense to put it on a weekend, could have been enjoyed in person by so many in the state of Florida. Instead, the weekday series will likely feature abominable attendance in both Florida ballparks, and the local rivalry will continue to not exist.