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Tigers 13, Rays 4: A Tale of Two Erasmos

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Erasmo Ramirez was two totally different pitchers tonight.

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Detroit Tigers Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

“Booooooooooo”- Brett Phillips, watching this game

Despite leading off with a home run to Ian Kinsler (something he had done last time he faced the Tigers on April 20th) Erasmo’s early innings were worth commending. Keeping the ball in the zone, Erasmo retired the next nine Tigers he faced, and kept the game close.

Close enough, in fact, that the Rays were able to quickly overcome that early deficit. A second inning rally ended after a Tim Beckham leadoff single when Mallex Smith struck out and T-Bex was thrown out stealing on the basepaths. It would not be the only costly caught stealing by the Rays this evening. The third started well, with a one-out triple by Peter Bourjos on a well struck ball to center field. Souza grounded to the infield, and Bourjos, who was running on contact, was nearly thrown out at home. Luckily for the Rays, Castellanos threw his relay wide, skipping past the catcher and scoring the run. Souza, too, moved up to second base on the play. The Rays weren’t able to bring him home, however.

The Rays took a brief lead in the fourth. Daniel Robertson, with a RISP, smacked in Logan Morrison, who had led off the inning with a walk. With Jesus Sucre batting and runners at the corners with one out, you hoped the Rays would be able to get another run in. Instead, after Norris threw to first for a pickoff attempt, Mallex Smith made a risky move to try to steal home. Frankly, I don’t really have a problem with the attempt, as the count to the slumping Sucre was 1-2, and Smith is faster than a college senior speeding past environmental petitioners in the campus quad. Still, Smith was thrown out, and Sucre struck out, so nothing else came of that,

The wheels completely came off for Erasmo in the fourth. Alex Avila hit a leadoff home run to tie the game after the Rays worked so hard to get ahead, and it only got worse from there. Ramirez walked Miggy Cabrera on four pitches, and gave up a hard single to J.D. Martinez. The next batter, Justin Upton, hit a line drive that just eluded Mallex Smith in center field, and all of a sudden the Tigers were up 3-2. Whatever Erasmo had in the early part of the game, he had lost it now. Another double to Nick Castellanos put the Tigers up 5-2, and they never looked back. Every ball at this point had been hit very hard, and Erasmo was fooling nobody. The inning mercifully ended with only one more Tiger run scoring, but it would be enough.

The fifth saw not only more Tiger runs score, but the hasty exit of Erasmo Ramirez. After being struck by a comebacker to the mound on the leg, Erasmo exited with two outs in the fifth, relieved by Austin Pruitt. The Tigers, very rudely, began to pour it on. After scoring two runs off Ramirez in the fifth, a throwing error by Tim Beckham allowed two more runners on second and third to score. By the end of the terrible inning, the Tigers were up 11-2.

The Rays, too, didn’t put up much of an offensive showing for a while. In the fifth, with two outs, Corey Dickerson hit a long fly ball to left that was destined to go over the fence, but Justin Upton actually managed to reach over the wall and grab it.

The only relatively bright spot from then on out disappointing game was the seventh inning, where Mallex Smith led off with a triple. Daniel Robertson brought him home, but Jesus Sucre grounded into a double play to end any semblance of an increased offensive showing. Daniel Robertson also brought home a run in the ninth on a sac fly, but Sucre made the final out of the inning once again. So...not great.

The Tigers scored a couple more off of a sixth inning Castellanos triple, putting the final score at 13-4. The Rays are now back at .500. Losing the past three games hurts, especially since the Rays came back from behind in two of those to tie them late. With that kind of grit and effort you sort of expect a victory in there somewhere, but the pitching has not been quality. Something was up with Erasmo tonight, and what made it so surprising was how quickly it all seemed to unravel. The Rays will have to win the next two games to even salvage a series split, something Chris Archer will have a good chance to do tomorrow.