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Rays 3, Reds 7: Bullpen light on the “pen,” heavy on the “bull”

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Orestes Destrade takes a break from doing the telecast to participate in our recap!

MLB: Cincinnati Reds at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Rays took on the Cincinnati Reds today, with the sultry smooth tones of Orestes Destrade opposite Dewayne Staats in the audio booth today. But Orestes wasn’t only confined to the TV broadcast. We at DRaysBay reached out to Mr. Destrade (he insisted we call him Orestes) and were lucky enough to get him as a guest recapper for tonight’s loss against the Reds.

I’m happy to be here on the number one Rays blog on the internet. The professionalism on this site is second-to-none, and I’m glad you reached out to me. The Rays are the best team in baseball and DRaysBay is the best website I’ve ever seen.

Well we’re certainly happy to have you. Should we start, Orestes?

Do you want me to tell the Jose Canseco story yet? I have around 45 to choose from.

No save that for later.

Gotcha.

Innings 1-3

Jake Odorizzi started pretty strong, walking generational power hitter Scooter Gennett but successfully leaving the inning after Derek Norris caught Gennett stealing. It was his first caught stealing of the year. In the bot-

Really, an absolutely incredible play by Derek Norris. Look at the incredible release time on that ball after it pops out of his mitt into his hand. And the throw was outstanding, you could hang your laundry on that frozen rope to second. Truly, not many players make that, really outstanding work by Norris.

Yes, it was a nice throw. In the bottom of the inning the Rays went down 1-2-3, but in the second Logan Morrison opened the inning by lining a full count single to right.

I’ve never been more impressed by a baseball player than I have with Logan Morrison this season. LoMo...fo sho’ deserves All-Star Game recognition this year.

...yes, LoMo has been having a great season, hitting 21 home runs. Although you can’t deny that Yonder Alonso has been really good too, wouldn’t you say?

Alonso is a good player, and I have nothing against him personally. But to have him start over LoMo in the All-Star Game would be an absolute tragedy. A tragedy.

Alright. LoMo eventually made his way over to third base, along with Tim Beckham, who collected the two hits this inning, but both men were left in scoring position. Not an excellent way to start a scoring opportunity b-

Really an impressive job getting those guys in those spots to begin with, wouldn’t you say, Brett?

What?

It’s hard to get to that spot in a major league ballgame, really great job getting them in scoring position.

...I mean, sure, I definitely couldn’t do that, but getting runners into scoring position isn’t all that rare. Team do it every single day, usually a lot!

Just an incredible job.

Okay. Jake Odorizzi retired the side in the third on 11 pitc-

Odorizzi has been by far the most impressive Rays starter on the staff.

OK well that is patently untrue. Odorizzi has been serviceable, and has pitched well at home, but out of the Rays’ starters he is last in FIP. Been worth only 0.2 WAR before today’s game as well, actually.

...

Orestes?

Just a great ballplayer. Deserves to be on the All-Star team for sure.

Look. I love Odorizzi and pretty much everyone on the Rays. But I am also willing to concede that some players have been struggling, and there are other, more deserving pitchers (Keuchel, Sale, etc.) that should be acknowledged for their success.

Just a great ballplayer. Deserves to be on the All-Star team for sure.

In the bottom of the inning Mallex Smith reached base with an opposite field liner, but ended the inning when he was thrown out trying to steal second base.

Mallex doesn’t get caught in those spots, he’s very fast. Great throw by the catcher.

Yeah, to nab Mallex you pretty much have to do everything ri-

The Cincinnati Reds wish they had a player like that on their team. A guy with the pure speed of Mallex is a once-in-a-generational talent.

...well, I mean, they do have Billy Hamilton.

Who?

Billy Hamilton? Major league leader in stolen bases?

I literally have no idea who you are talking about.

He leads off for the 2017 Cincinnati Reds?

Ohhh, I played with a Billy Hamilton in the minor leagues! Great guy, taught me how to flag down a cab by whistling.

*Orestes whistles so loudly that the plexiglass Ray tank shatters, spilling manta rays onto the craft beer stand in center field*

Don’t worry, Hatfield will clean that up when he’s back from Aruba.

Innings 4-6

Despite allowing a single to Joey Votto-

And who hasn’t from time to time?

Odorizzi put up another 0 on the board. Through the first four innings, he had yet to record an out on a ball that touched the ground. Scott Feldman, however, continued to match up well with the Rays hitters, continually keeping them off balance.

It looks like Feldman is pitching backwards.

Interesting! Speak on that.

Well, when a pitcher pitches, normally he wants to, you know, pitch the normal way, or the “front way.” This is what pitching coaches teach you, this is what coaches want you to do, and it works well, most of the time! But some players, if you notice, do not pitch front ways, but instead pitch a sort of backways. Backwards. They pitch backwards, by starting with the end, and then working their way towards the front. This is the hallmark of a seasoned veteran, a veteran that can take what is normally done, ans turn it on its ear. Get the batters thinking about the pitches that are coming. Greg Maddux was a master of this. Maddux was able to g-

Orestes I have to interrupt you there because the Rays are threatening in the fourth inning. Logan Morrison drew a walk and Souza followed that up with a liner to right that placed Morrison on third. With runners at the corners, Tim Beckham stepped up ready to hit. Unfortunately, so was Scott Feldman. On a 0-1 count, Beckham wore one on his hand, the inside fastball solidly connecting with his hand. Ron Porterfield and Kevin Cash rushed out.

You hate to see that. A lot of times, when players get hit on the hand, they end up leaving the game. Much of the hands, ya know, is made up of small bones, and small bones are easily breakable. Now larger bones, like the femur—the big bone in your leg—is hard to break, although not impossible to break. Once after a loss in AA I went out on the town with some of the boys in the clubhouse, and Red Hastings tried to do a backflip off of the second story of a Piggly Wiggly. Poor guy always walked weird after that, but he still managed to hit .280 the year for the Dunsport Flying Sailors.

I’d say about a third of that story was true. What is 100%, however, was that newcomer Trevor Plouffe immediately grounded into a double play to ruin the best chance the Rays had so far.

Odorizzi, unfortunately, kept his ignominious homer streak going, giving up a solo shot to Scott Schebler, a real player with a non-made-up name.

You think of another guy in the NL Central with another weird, funky name when you hear Schleber, and that’s Schwarber. Another guy who is having not the greatest year for the Cubs.

You really said that, didn’t you Orestes?

Yeah, I said that right after he hit the homer in the fifth.

So that’s a real quote from the actual in-game broadcast?

Of course it is. I’m really here, responding to you in real time.

Fair enough. Odorizzi ended the inning with no more damage, and he even collected his first ground ball out to close it out.

Really gritty performance, getting that ground ball to end the inning. Really gritty, All-Star performance.

I know. The Rays didn’t do much in the bottom of the fifth, and in the top of the sixth Odorizzi gave up a walk to Billy Hamilton

I knew a guy who-

Not that Hamilton, the one who plays for the Reds. In baseball right now.

Whatever you say champ.

The Rays though they picked him off and used a challenge, but it looked like he snuck his hand right back in there and the Rays lost the challenge. Odorizzi, completely preoccupied with Hamilton, looped a 2-0 fastball to Scooter Gennett that ended up in the left field bleachers.

Tough break there.

Yeah I’ll say. Odorizzi was living up in the zone the entire night. For a pitcher with a home run problem, this seems like a problem.

No I was still talking about my buddy who broke his femur. I haven’t been watching the game for about 35 minutes.

Do you tend to do this in the post-game show? Talk about a game that you were also sort of half watching?

Well I never.

Speaking of not watching the game, Souza hit a solo home run while I was in the bathroom. True story.

One time I missed the last two-thirds of a game I was doing the play-by-play for, thanks to a long line for jalapeno popper dogs.

Are you serious?

Yeah, they are jalapenos stuffed with nacho cheese and hot dogs. They are absolutely fantastic, I can’t recommend them enough.

That’s not what I was reacting to, but fine.

Innings 7-9

Cash kept Odorizzi out there for the seventh inning with his pitch count approaching the triple digits, and was rewarded with two more strikeouts in a clean inning. Despite his earlier meltdown, that last inning—with probably not much left in the tank—was a gutsy performance, wouldn’t you say, Orestes?

No, that ain’t nothing to be too proud of. Back in my day pitchers weren’t done until they reached 150 easy.

So Odorizzi’s 7 inning, 106 pitch outing wasn’t All-Star worthy?

I literally never said that.

Well here’s something we can both agree on: Daniel Robertson has been great this past week.

Oh man ain’t that the truth

Robertson, coming up to bat after a 3-2 single by Trevor Plouffe, launched a hanging slider by the reliever Michael Lorenzen over the center field wall, tying the game at 3-3.

Robertson sure has been something else. I tell ya I haven’t seen a talent like this since Roy Hobbs. You know I played with Hobbs? Struck him out on a two-seamer down in the zone. Robertson also reminds me of Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Lance Berkman, Ken Griffey Jr., Ted Williams, Craig Biggio, Fred McGriff, Joe D-

Orestes I gotta stop you right there. Not only are all of those names HoF-worthy ballplayers with vastly different skill sets, Roy Hobbs is 100% the main character in The Natural.

I don’t know what to tell you Phillips, I played with him. He gave me this scar:

*Orestes points to his belly button*

Well Orestes, while we were having this conversation, Jose Alvarado gave up a double and a single to give up the lead. In the span of four pitches, D-Rob’s homer was erased.

That quickly huh?

Yeah, that quickly. Danny Farquhar came in to mop it up, but the Reds scored a couple more runs to put the score at 6-3, and that would be all they needed. They even scored another run in the ninth to add insult to injury, putting the final score at 7-3. All in all a rough night, full of adversity.

You’ve faced adversity like that, as a ball player too, right?

What? What are you talking about? I’ve never played professional ball.

You’re Brett Phillips?

Right?

Brett Phillips, the Brewers prospect who just got called up? Phillips the guy with the insane laugh? They told me I’d be doing a recap with a fellow baseball player.

Wait so the only reason you decided to do this was because you mistook me for Brett Phillips the Brewer?

You’re telling me you write these recaps even though you aren’t a baseball player. Or even a former one?

No! I just love the team!

Holy cow, the state of baseball journalism has become absolutely dreadful.

Thanks again to Orestes Destrade for participating in today’s recap. For more information on Destrade, go on the internet.