I’ll admit, when I learned yesterday that the dream of the 162-0 season had been dashed by a poor offensive showing, I was crushed. My life, once full of hope and promise, now seemed devoid of meaning. On the verge of burning my 2008 World Series Jersey, I was reminded by loved ones that not only is it nearly statistically impossible for a baseball team to win all the games, I was required to write the recap for tonight’s game. So on I go, beating against the current, and so on.
Corey Dickerson silenced a second round of questions about his curious placement as a leadoff hitter with an immediate home run to center, giving the Rays their first run of the evening. Personally, I am worried about CDick’s power production, as he has only half of the home runs as Madison Bumgarner, a pitcher. Did you know pitchers hit in the National League? Someone told me that once but I didn’t believe them.
Cobb very quickly gave up a solo homer to Jacoby Ellsbury in the inning after, but the Rays responded faster and harder. By the way, this recap is sponsored by Faster and Harder, the inevitable sequel to F8 of the Furious. Steven Souza Jr. and Logan Morrison (2017 Rays MVP? Who’s to say?) reached base to lead off the inning. After a wild pitch moved them up the diamond, Mallex Smith hit a dribbler to the third base side. Souza broke for home, but Sanchez managed to scoop it up and throw him out at home on the tag. Despite replays that made it seem awfully close, there was no way the call was being overturned.
Worry not! Back-to-back singles by Derek Norris and Corey Dickerson gave the Rays a 4-1 lead. I know you were worried there for a second, and I am honestly sorry that I strung you along. But, remember the first rule of storytelling: always leave them hanging. That is the first rule of storytelling, and don’t let anyone tell you any differently.
The first real test for Alex Cobb came in the third inning. After dispatching the first two batters in seven pitches, I must admit I walked upstairs to go to the bathroom and lie face-down on my bed to watch YouTube videos. I was gone for nary five minutes, but when I walked back downstairs I was greeted with two smiling Yankees on the corners. It turns out that Brett Gardner drew a walk and Gary Sanchez singled up the middle to stage a late-in-the-inning rally. Greg Bird, noted HR hitter, worked a full count against Cobb, but the Rays won the battle, coaxing a grounder for an out.
Cobb settled in rather nicely after that point, lasting into the sixth inning and allowing only four hits and a single run. One measly run! Kevin Cash pulled him out in the sixth at only 90 pitches, a move that left some people flustered. When Cash pulled Xaiver Cedeno after facing only one batter—he allowed an infield single—some were even more perplexed! But the third pitcher of the inning, Jumbo Diaz, struck out Starlin Castro to retroactively make Cash seem like a genius. So that’s all well and good.
The Rays, after that big second inning, were more or less quieted by the Yankees bullpen. Girardi pulled Pineda in the fourth (to his visible chagrin) but the New York bullpen was more than capable in relief, allowing not one more hit the rest of the game! Erasmo Ramirez, for his part, provided the bridge to Alex Colome in the ninth. He worked the seventh and eighth, and managed to tightrope his way out of trouble. It seemed like he was working behind the count to nearly batter, but he nevertheless kept the Baby Bombers from landing that sought-after hit w/ RISP.
Alex Colome entered for the ninth, and despite allowing two hits off of balls that were physically hit right off of him, he stood as tall as a stallion, picking up his second save of the year. The Rays won the first series of the year! Here’s to many more. Something like 50 more.