What the heck did I just watch?
Look, this was supposed to be a boring game. It’s a Saturday game in late September between two technically-not-eliminated teams, with two pitchers going that are awful to watch.
I mean, It’s Jeremy versus Jake. Is there a matchup that screams “playing out the string” louder than Jeremy Hellickson versus Jake Odorizzi? Honestly, I was kind of praying for a no-hitter (for either guy) just to get this one over at a reasonable hour.
And then this game happened?
What the heck, baseball gods?
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
O’s Strike First
The Orioles drew first blood with an unearned run in the first. With two outs, Jonathan Schoop hooked a 1-0 spltter down the left field line for a double. Adam Jones followed by tapping softly in Lucas Duda’s general direction. Unfortunately, it was a little too softly for the Rays’ tastes. Duda charged the ball and was forced to make a long, hurried toss to Odorizzi covering. The rushed toss was well behind the moving target. Odorizzi couldn’t even lay a glove on it as it sailed past him, allowing Schoop to score and Jones to advance all the way to third. Thankfully, Jake wiggled out of further trouble by striking out Chris Davis.
Overall, Jake Odorizzi was solid, going six innings and giving up just the one unearned run on three hits. He walked two and struck out nine. His cutter especially was sharp, and Thing 2 make several effective cameos.
The Rays got on the board in the third. Jeremy Hellickson had breezed through the front part of the game, retiring the first eight Rays he faced, and the premature no-hitter watch was on! But with two outs, Adeiny Hechavarria singled back through the middle. Kevin Kiermaier followed with a single of his own, putting runners on the corners. Lucas Duda proceeded to work a long at bat. After getting ahead 3-0, Duda took strike one, then pulled four straight pitches foul. Finally, on the ninth pitch of the at bat, Duda squaring up a Hellickson 90 mph fastball and drove it into the seats in right field.
The blast was Duda’s 30th of the season.
Duda also converted the rare reverse cliché, when he followed the bomb by leading off the bottom of the third defensively with a wonderful over-the-shoulder catch.
Hellickson was done after six, giving way to Richard Bleier. With one out, the lefty hit Steven Souza Jr. on his back leg. Corey Dickerson followed by slapping a grounder to third that Machado booted, putting two men on. Wilson Ramos then grounded a single through the right side. Right fielder Austin Hays came up throwing, but the ball eluded Orioles catcher Welington Castillo, allowing Souza to score easily and (more importantly) both runners to move up a base on the error.
Note: Brian Anderson gave Bleier the business during the broadcast for being out of position when he backed up home. Though what I think actually happened is, Bleier’s first several steps were to cover first on Ramos’s grounder, as first baseman Chris Davis was already well off the bag and also moving to his right on the grounder. This is what led to Bleier’s bad positioning on Hay’s throw, not bad baseballery on the pitcher’s part.
Dickerson soon scored on an Brad Miller sac fly, and it was 5-1. Not only that, the Rays nearly tacked on some more when Hechavarria gave one a long ride to right, but Hays — who looked very good all night in right field — made a great grab at the wall to end the inning.
Putting It Away
The Rays got an eventful but scoreless frames in the 7th from the newly clean shaven Andrew Kittredge, and a less eventful and also scoreless 8th from still-fuzzy Sergio Romo, (with an assist from Xavier Cedeno). Things were looking good for a low stress finish. And that was before the boys unloaded on Mike Wright in the top of the ninth.
Logan Morrison greeted Wright with a first pitch blast over the wall in right center. 6-1 Rays.
Souza and Dickerson followed with back-to-back singles to get a proper rally going. After a Ramos strikeout, Brad Miller sliced one into the left field corner, just beyond the reach of Trey Mancini. It bounded into the stands for an automatic double, scoring Souza. 7-1 Rays.
Hechavarria put the finishing touches on this laugher by hooking a single into left, scoring Dickerson and Miller. 9-1 Rays.
Chase Whitley came on to work a quiet n —
Chase Whitley gave up a single to Mancini before shu -—
Whitley gave up back-to-back singles to lead off the ninth before settlin —
Oh, for Pete’s sake.
It’s Not Over Until...
Chase Whitley gave up a single and a single and a double and a double and a single before he was pulled. At that point, three runs had already scored. Two additional runs would be charged to him after he left. He didn’t get anyone out. This makes his ERA for the night either undefined or infinite, I forget which. I can tell you that either way, it was just plain gross to watch.
Tommy Hunter came on. Two Towelz managed to record a couple outs (Yay!) but he also gave up two singles of his own, pushing the score to 9-6, and bringing the tying run to the plate.
A game that we led 9-1, like, five minutes ago.
Baseball, man. What the hell?
Alex Colome came on and retired Trey Mancini, the tenth batter of the inning, on a fly to right for the goofiest one out save of his career, and one of the top five saddest saves I’ve seen in 40 years of watching baseball.
- Tim Beckham appeared to pull a hammy during his ninth inning infield single. He was replaced by J.J. Hardy.
- This is Lucas Duda’s second 30 homer season.
Sunday’s wrap-up game starts at 1:35 pm