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Rays 7, Indians 8: What even was this game?

A highly-touted pitching match-up plays out exactly as everyone expected.

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Cleveland Indians Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The first few innings of this game felt like the Rays were playing their shadow selves, in that every time a run was scored, the Indians would answer right back. But then again, every time the Indians scored a run, the Rays would, too, answer right back with runs. So the question remains: who is the shadow of who? Far be it for me to answer such heady philosophical questions in a baseball recap, but I will just address them and leave them out there, hanging like a flag in the wind. That way, simply by virtue of bringing them up, I sound smarter! Hey, does anyone know the sound of one hand clapping?

Recall, if you will, Carlos Carrasco’s near no-hitter against the Rays two years ago. He was perfect into the seventh, and carried his no-hitter into the final inning. With an 0-2 count on Joey Butler (remember him?), Butler singled to stop the pain, but that memory was certainly fresh in my mind when Carrasco stepped up to the mound today.

Except, it didn’t really turn out that way. Carrasco left in the fourth with an injured chest but he allowed quite a bit of Rays action. In the first, Morrison double home Brad Miller, and in the second Kevin Kiermiaer launched a solo homer off of him, something it’s great to see him actually do as of late. In the third, the Rays led off with a couple of hits, and Steven Souza Jr. pushed yet another run home on a sac fly.

(It turns out Carrasco left because of left pectoral tightness. Frankly that just seems like he’s bragging about doing mad chest presses at the ol’ Cleveland Gym with Lebron, but hey...)

Carrasco left in the fourth after giving up a fourth run to Brad Miller. Although only pitching 3.2, he still picked up six strikeouts of the strikeout-happy Rays. Carrasco also walked three. Nick Goody entered for the Indians and allowed a double to Longoria.

All in all, in the first four innings, the Rays scored 5 runs. On most days, this would be a pretty good start to a game, a start that would undoubtedly be blown by the bullpen later on. Fact of the matter is, Chris Archer started the Rays in a pretty big hole against one of the tougher pitchers in the AL. In the first inning, he had already allowed five runs of his own. Archer seemed unable to know for sure exactly where his pitches were going, matching Carrasco’s walk total (3) in the first inning alone. After a little small ball by the Indians and a wild pitch by Archer, the Tribe managed to score one run, then two, and then all of a sudden five on a three-run shot by Lonnie Chisenhall.

Although Archer did not allow any more big innings like the first, he wasn’t able to keep the Indians from striking back each time the Rays scored in the top of the inning. His first inning where he allowed zero runs was the fourth, and he left after the fifth inning, allowing seven runs (six earned) on only five hits, but a career high six walks. Wild stuff.

Things got kinda boring for a while, I’m gonna level with you. Chase Whitley relieved Archer, and pitched a duo of scoreless innings, as has been his M.O. The motley of Indians relievers kept the Rays at bay for a good while, not that that should surprise anyone.

The eighth inning marked an important milestone in the 2017 MLB season, as the Rays scratched the first (and maybe only???) run of the season against uber-reliever Andrew Miller. After having entered in the seventh to starting out Rickie Weeks Jr. and Derek Norris, Miller walked Corey Dickerson and allowed a soft infield hit to Brad Miller. Longo pushed Dickerson to third, and Morrison managed a sac fly to center to push Miller home. Miller ended up allowing a run on nothing harder hit than a simple sac fly, but there goes the dream of the shutout reliever season.

Anyway Jumbo Diaz allowed a home run immediately after to basically negate all that small ball but hey whatever.

That run proved to be pretty costly, as Peter Bourjos (!) hit a home run to bring the score to within one yet again. Derek Norris, with the last at bat of the game, couldn’t keep it going, and the Rays lost 8-7. The three-game series starts with a wet fart, but with Odorizzi and Cobb starting the next few games the Rays have a chance to make up some ground. Here’s hoping.

The Rays struck out 14 times lol.