As a fan of the Rays, I’m not used to long, offensive slugfests.
Long, slow, pitching duels? Absolutely. Sloppy, walk heavy, 3 plus hour affairs? Of course. But a shootout with the Rays trading and answering large offensive salvos? Now, that is refreshing.
The action got started early, and Matt Andriese would have to work all night on the mound.
Andriese got the first two outs quickly, but then ran into trouble in the form of the Jays brutally tough middle of the order. Hits by Bautista and Morales set up Tulowitzki to clear the bases with a double.
With the Rays down early, their 5th starter struggling, and facing a left handed pitcher, this is usually the time for panic. The doom and gloom scenarios start to fill your head.
But these Rays might be something different. These Rays were not going to curl up into a ball.
This game earns the same designation as the mall near the retirement community: a walker’s paradise.
The Rays drew four walks off of Francisco Liriano in the 1st inning, mixing in a 2-run bomb from Evan Longoria and a bases clearing double from Brad Miller to re-take the lead.
Liriano would be chased from the game after just 1⁄3 of an inning.
Cash Considerations nominees!
Consider this a preview for one of nomo.red.evil’s future articles. Matt Andriese settled in well after his rough start, but after a Tulowitzki HR in the 4th, and around 80 pitches filled with tough battles, it seemed that Andriese might have been done. But then, to start the 5th, out came Matt Andriese.
This would be the first a few questionable calls from Kevin Cash.
Andriese gave up a double to Josh Donaldson, a wild pitch sent him to 3rd, and then he got a fly out to Jose Bautista. Souza would drop the fly ball. Again, cue the doom and gloom thoughts!
At this point, with the lead down to 6-4, Cash called on Jumbo Diaz to hold the lead. Jumbo pitched well, getting Kendrys Morales to fly out, and K’ing Tulo. But with 2-out, Jumbo would give up an RBI Double to Justin Smoak, bringing the Jays ever closer.
The second questionable bullpen choice came in the very next inning. With a one run game, Cash called upon rookie Austin Pruitt to hold down the bottom of the Jays order.
Pruitt would not do that. A single to Saltalamacchia, a couple of walks to Devon Travis and Josh Donaldson, and suddenly the rookie was in quite the pickle.
However, after working himself into a jam, Pruitt would showcase some of the stuff that got him to the Show in the first place. Throwing Joey Bats nothing but bendy stuff, Pruitt was able to get a huge K with a slider diving away.
Pruitt left on that somewhat high note, and Xavier Cedeno was called in to escape the jam. Which he did... but not before walking Morales and Tulo to drive in the tying and go-ahead runs.
There are those doom and gloom thoughts again.
Our Old Friend JP
After leadoff single from Tim Beckham, and Corey Dickerson set to come in for DH Daniel Robertson, the Blue Jays brought in the dude we used to call the Iceman: JP Howell.
Corey Dickerson was ready for some wild and whacky JP arm angles, and smacked a beautiful double to the wall.
JP did not have his best bendy stuff tonight, and was throwing balls aplenty! After the Dickerson double, Peter Bourjos stood still and accept a 4-pitch walk to load the bases.
Steven Souza JR, who you might remember last from dropping a fly ball, would make sure you remembered the lumber instead. Souza would wait for the first pitch coming close to the strike zone and knock in the go-head runs with line drive double.
Logan Morison pinch hit for Rickie Weeks, and would continue his early 2017 MVP campaign with a bloop single to extend the Rays lead to 9-7.
Danny Farquhar and Alex Colome finished up the last 3 innings, and held down the lead for an impressive Rays win.
Maybe this team really is something different..
- Steven Souza ended his strikeout-less streak at 18 PA.
- Lots of first hits and good contribution for new Rays. Daniel Robertson got his first big league hit, Rickie Weeks had a 2-2 night plus a walk, and Peter Bourjos got a walk and his first RBI with a groundout.
- Tim Beckham was magnificent in the field, including this incredible heads up play: