Winning one run ball games is infinitely more fun than losing one run ball games.
The Rays turned to the freshly graduated from prospect status Jacob Faria to take the mound and halt this season high 5 game losing streak. Faria, as he’s done all year, did not disappoint.
Faria faced off against the Orioles for the 3rd time on the year. Baltimore has some really tough bats, and Faria now has faced them 1⁄3 of his starts. Familiarity from hitters like Macado or Jones is not an unreasonable fear.
However, Faria has a different bird in his corner, and everyone knows in nature the hierarchy goes: Duck > Oriole. That’s just biology.
Jake Faria mixed a bit of defensive luck (with hard hit balls finding gloves not gaps) with his usual strike throwing, right at hitter delivery.
In the very first inning, Faria showed that he was bringing some good stuff. After a sharp double down the 3rd base line from Machado, Faria mowed down Jonathan Schoop on 3 pitches (with a K swinging on a fastball up and in) and Trumbo on 5 (with a K swinging on a fastball even more up and in).
Faria’s most challenging inning came in the 5th. Two sharp singles, and one more that Hechavarria was able to get a glove on deep in the hole to save a run, and Faria was in quite the pickle. Bases loaded, just 1 out, and Manny Machado at the plate.
Faria got Machado swinging at letters high fastball, which Machado drove out to center field. Off the bat, it sounded scary, but Faria had located it just high enough that the ball settled back down to Earth into Peter Bourjos’ glove before the warning track. Faria was able to induced a weak pop-up to Schoop to escape the jam relatively unscathed.
Faria pitched into the 8th inning, still under 100 pitches. Jacob was able to get another out from Machado (this time on a pop up to short), but lost Schoop on a full count walk. Cash came in to give Faria the quicker hook than Alex Cobb got the other day, and close the book on another tremendous start.
We have asked a lot of young Jake Faria so far, and he has somehow been even better than that.
The Offense aka the 2nd Inning
The lineup for the Rays tonight was not the most intimidating one they have put on the field in 2017. But with Wade Miley on the mound for Baltimore, the Rays fought mediocre fire with more mediocre fire of their own.
If you missed the 2nd inning, then you pretty much missed the entire offensive output. All 5 runs, and 5 of the 6 hits came in the 2nd frame.
The Rays mounted a single based attack, getting good contact against Miley. It started with Souza slapping a sharp single, followed up by two more from Miller and Hecharvarria. The Hech base hit was struck so hard, it got to Joey Rickard in RF almost immediately, forcing 3rd base coach Charlie Montoyo to throw on the brakes to Souza.
Bases loaded, 1 out, and a wildly average opposing starting pitcher. That’s the type of scenario I like to call: the Rays heartbreaker.
However, Mallex Smith was determined to have an effect. Smith lined a hard single right back up the middle to CF. Jesus Sucre would then send a rocket to RF about as far as Sucre can hit one (in this case, to the warning track for a Sac Fly).
All those singles and a sac fly are nice, but the Rays aren’t exactly a station to station ball club. Tim Beckham reminded everyone of that, following Sucre’s Sac Fly with a 3-run bomb, breaking the game open at 5-0.
The Pen: More like pig pen, amirtie?
Tommy Hunter got the call to take the mound for Faria in the 8th. With one out and one on, Hunter quickly got a weak grounder to record the 2nd out.
However, Hunter then lost a bit of control. A walk, a wild pitch, and another walk put the tying run on base for Wellington Castillo. Castillo would bring the game dangerous close, with a 2 RBI single that found the hole between Longo and Hech.
With the game now squarely on the line, Hunter stopped the bleeding getting a K swinging from pinch hitter Hyun Soo Kim.
The tagline for the 2017 Tampa Bay Rays could very well be: Nothing is Easy.
After Hunter had his adventure in the 8th, Colome decided to go on his own wild ride in the 9th.
Tim Beckham’s rushed, wide throw to 1st base put the lead runner on the Batlimore. Thankfully, Longo’s sweet glove at 3rd quickly erased that error, starting a spectacular double play.
Now with clean bases and 2 outs, Colome quickly found himself in another pickle. Machado got a base hit chopper just through the shift the other way, and Schoop followed that with a dribble just between Hech and Beckham. Neither of these hits were hard, but they found the holes just barely.
It put Colome in another game on the line situation against the powerful Trumbo. Trumbo did not wait long, snapping a very sharp grounder right at Hecharvarria.
It took a 5 run inning, and the last very difficult 5 outs of the game, but the Rays have snapped their 5 game losing streak.