Stop if you have heard this one before: Rays starting pitcher gets into a bit of trouble early, settles down, but offense shows no life against lesser heralded young starting pitcher.
Did you stop me when I started the recap with the super overused sports recap opening line?
Anyway, the Rays put up another frustrating offensive performance. I am starting to believe that first half was a mirage. A fever dream cooked up to finally give my mind what it has desperately craved since the days of Pena bombs, Longo Long Flys, and sweet swings from Bossman Jr.
This game tonight was yet another real disappointment. One where the Rays finally got a good enough start and the bullpen stayed dominant as usual (still weird to write that).
1 run on 5 hits (2 of which for extra bases) against the former Mets prospect Gabriel Ynoa. I am completely unfamiliar with Ynoa. Turns out he’s Cy Young. Who knew?
Turning point on the 2nd Batter
The Rays started fast against Ynoa, when Mallex knocked a double to leadoff. This was the first batter of the game and also the very best chance the Rays had to produce any real threat tonight.
Mallex would get greedy, try and steal third, and would get thrown out on ball 4 to Lucas Duda. There are times to be aggressive, but when stealing, you have to pick and choose those times very carefully. The double and then full count to Duda was putting pressure on a young starter early. Two on, no out, with the meat of the order coming up in the very 1st inning could have changed this entire game.
Instead Mallex ran into a gift out, and the Rays offense would be the loud, slightly hilarious sound of a deflating balloon.
Rough start righted
Matt Andriese pitched well, but got himself into trouble in the bottom half of the 1st. Leadoff single, wild pitch, and HR, all within the first 6 pitches. Andriese would give up a double and single to push the O’s scored to 3-0, but limit the damage there.
I don’t want this to get lost in this poor game: Matt Andriese actually pitched well. After that rough start, Andriese would get into a groove and keep the O’s from ever really mounting another real threat. Andriese finished the game with 6 innings, 8 Ks, and just those 3 ER from the 1st.
The Bullpen tonight of Steve Cishek and Sergio Romo did their job, keeping the Baltimore score at 3. 3 runs is a winnable game. Unfortunately, it seemed (and ended up being) insurmountable on this night.
Recently recalled Daniel Robertson, fresh off helping lead Durham to the Triple-A Championship, knocked in the only run of the night for the Rays. After Brad Miller led off the top of the 3rd with a Double, DRob knocked in a non-RBI sharp single the other way. The only run for the Rays tonight came “unearned” as the official scored ruled the O’s RF Austin Hays hard charge and boot of the ball allowed Miller to score.
And that was it. The Rays would not get past 1st base again until the 9th inning with 2 outs.
I want to end this recap with something that just I can’t get over: The only Tampa Bay player to get a hit with a runner in scoring position tonight was Daniel Robertson, who was left in Durham for the playoff run.
Look, I’m not saying the Rays season could have been salvaged. Even Tim Beckham (who missed tonight’s game due to getting his wisdom teeth pulled) has cooled way down the past month. There may not have been one, or two, or twelve call-ups or moves the Rays could have made to keep the team competitive down the stretch. But tonight, one of those prospects left down in Durham generated the only run of the game for Tampa Bay.
And that just makes the loss hurt even more.