The Rays defeated the Cleveland Indians, winning two consecutive road series from teams with winning records.
In their first few innings the Rays either struck out or pounded the ball. Corey Dickerson led off the game with a single, after which pitcher Josh Tomlin struck out the next three hitters, prompting this observation:
Leadoff single by Dickerson and then 3 Ks by rest of #Rays. So here we go again after 16 last night, including final 6 batters— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) May 17, 2017
The first two Rays batters in the top of the second also struck out, but then the Rays hitters settled in, with singles by Tim Beckham and Daniel Robertson, a double by slugging Jesus Sucre, and a beautiful three run homer by our own red hot Mr. Dickerson. That made the score 4-0.
But the Rays hitters weren’t done. They chased Tomlin in the third, adding two more runs on a Logan Morrison solo shot, a Souza double and Beckham RBI single.
After two very sharp innings, however, Cobb struggled a bit in the bottom of the third, giving back two runs on some well struck hits, including the first major league hit (an RBI double) for the recently called up Bradley Zimmer.
Dickerson’s play in left field may have contributed to those runs. The first hit, a deep fly ball off the bat of Lonnie Chisenhall, was conceivably catch-able, but Dickerson misjudged it and took a poor route back to the wall. And if Dickerson had a stronger arm, it is possible that Zimmer would not have, later, scored from second base on a single. This is not to say, however, that Cobb was badly unlucky. Cleveland’s hits were solid and the runs earned. And Cobb also got some stellar plays to help him limit the damage, such as this one:
We've established @D_Robertson28 can play a little infield. pic.twitter.com/ORqcu34eM6— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) May 17, 2017
It wasn’t entirely clear whether Robertson cleanly caught or trapped the ball, but apparently fly ball outs by infielders are not reviewable, even if such plays are made at the edge of the outfield, so there was no Cleveland challenge.
Cleveland would go on to get one more run off of Cobb and another (a home run by newby Zimmer, who had himself a day) off Colome, while the Rays were largely held in check by Cleveland’s bullpen, other than a ninth inning homer by slugger Jesus Sucre, his second of the season.
Cobb pitched seven innings, with a final line — 7 innings, 6 hits, 3 runs, 1 walk, 1 hbp, 7 strike outs — that well describes his very solid but not dominant outing. He relied on a ton of breaking stuff, good control, and a fastball that hovered around 90 - 92. Farquhar, Stanek and Colome got the last six outs, with Colome the shakiest of the bunch. In addition to yielding the Zimmer home run, his final out looked like this:
GAME. ENDING. ROBBERY. pic.twitter.com/iwOKYtLIcF— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) May 17, 2017
Miscellaneous game notes:
- In the top of the fourth, Kiermaier got on with an infield single, and Morrison was intentionally walked. That brought up Steven Souza Jr. with two outs, and he....bunted. I have to assume this was his idea and not something signaled from the bench. This poorly conceived play at least brought the Rays some national media attention:
i'll need to include this in the sequel, Phenomenally Stupid Baseball https://t.co/lWUOcaGw2Z— keithlaw (@keithlaw) May 17, 2017
- Those of us watching the game were doing so on the Cleveland Indians television feed. It is always interesting to see another team’s broadcast. I believe their broadcasters are Rick Manning and Brad Underwood, and they weren’t bad. They provided a smattering of insight and were not huge homers, but they continually referred to our team as “Tampa.” I will admit that my annoyance with this error is out of proportion with its significance, but at least I know I am not alone:
*huge sigh*— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) May 17, 2017
Do we have to explain there's a B on our hats? pic.twitter.com/J1fITcLGeJ
- Shout out to TBex for his three hit game. And what about Jesus Sucre? Yes, it is still early, but even if he regresses to his expected hitting line for the rest of the season he has still provided more offense than most of us had anticipated.
The Rays have a much deserved off day on Thursday, and then will face Yankees with a chance to gain ground on the division leaders in a three game home series.