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Rays 4, Orioles 3: Brad Miller selfishly hits three run homer

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Miller homers, Kiermaier steals, Archer racks up 200 innings, DeWayne and BA are unbearable

Baltimore Orioles v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images

When your club is 79-82, the best thing about the next-to-last game of the season is you get to use the world “penultimate.”

Penultimate, penultimate, penultimate.

My gosh, that’s a fun word to say. Say it with me: Penultimate!

The second best thing about the penultimate game of the season is the realization that you only have one more game to listen to DeWayne and BA ramble on and on (and on, and ooooonnnnnn) about “two-strike approach” before a blessed and sorely needed five month break.

The third best thing about this particular penultimate game is, the Rays beat the Orioles, moving a game closer to clinching an almost-not-losing record. Seriously. It’s, like, impossible, to get any closer to a non-losing record than 80-82, and the Rays. Are. This. Close.

Woooo!

The Offense

With Miguel Castro making his first start, the Rays put pressure on him almost right away. They put runners on in every inning except the first, tallying ten hits and two walks. They even stole four bases on the night. But the runs were still a little hard to come by, because Rays. Though in the fourth, they finally converted.

Corey Dickerson and Adeiny Hechavarria singled to start things against a tiring Castro, whose high pitch count for the year was somewhere around 50. Buck Showalter left Castro in to face Brad Miller, who had tapped to Chris Davis earlier to derail a big scoring opportunity. This time, Castro got to two strikes, but the selfish Miller did not choke up and try to slap a single through the infield, much to the consternation of the booth (probably). Instead, he jacked a rally killing bomb into the seats in right, giving the good guys a 3-0 lead.

Bad two-strike approach!

Oh, that’s not our Brad Miller? Huh. Well, I’d post the right video for you, but MLB is stupid and doesn’t want to be popular.

The Rays made it 4-0 in the seventh when Kevin Kiermaier led off with a single, stole second as Lucas Duda struck out, forced a balk during Wilson Ramos’s at bat, then scored on the Buffalo’s sac fly to center.

Yay, running!

The Pitching

Chris Archer was solid, working five shutout, two-hit innings to get to the 200 inning plateau. He also notched his tenth win for people who care about such things, recording six strikeouts and walking two along the way. It was mostly uneventful.

The pen did not feature any of the young arms today, which was kind of sad for me. But we did get to see a lot of the trade deadline chips to remind us of what might have been if the bats hadn’t taken a nap in August.

Steve Cishek worked his 24th scoreless outing out of 25 appearances with the Rays. Dan Jennings herky-jerkied his way through a clean inning. Two Towels Tommy Hunter got tagged for a couple runs in the eighth, and Alex Colome notched in league leading 47th save.

4-3, Rays win!

The Broadcast

The broadcast was...well, let me put it this way: I enjoyed the outcome, but not the telecast.

Early on, we got a soliloquy (Part 69) from Brian Anderson and DeWayne Stats on The Demise of the Two Strike Approach in Today’s Game.

An inning later, Erik Neander came into the booth for an in-game interview. BA asked Neander about two-strike approaches and if the Rays planned to do anything about it. Neander danced around it expertly, referencing things hitters do now, talking about exit velocity, etc. But it was a painful interview.

Next, it was Steven Souza Jr.’s turn. BA asked him...about two-strike approaches. Souza praised the Red Sox.

Then it was Alex Cobb’s turn. They talked about ... well, actually, they didn’t talk about two-strike approaches. They talked about mustaches and moving and my god these are long at bats and nooooo don’t get a hit there LoMo uuuuuuuugh.

But like I said at the beginning, this was the penultimate game. Only one more before the long offseason. I’m sure by mid-November, we’ll all be Jonesing for another round of “Strikeouts Are Bad and the Rays Should Feel Bad.”

Sunday’s finale starts at 3:10 PM.