While the Tigers v Yankees, Jays v Indians, and Twins v White Sox were all postponed due to a variety of inclement weather, things were a perfectly temperate 76 at the Trop, and the ability to play tonight’s game was never once in question. Dome sweet dome.
Chris Archer found himself squaring off against the Phillies for the first time in his career. He stumbled early, giving up a run-scoring double to Kingery in the second inning and finding himself with an elevated pitch count. Then another run scored when Crawford doubled and Cron just missed the ball down the first base line. Hernandez scored another run at the next at-bat. It was... not great. A bat-breaking single from Santana scored ANOTHER run. All with only one out. In the second inning. Ugly. We’re not done yet though, because Herrera has an RBI single to center.
Things went from bad to worse on a would-be double-play. Archer moved to cover first base, then completely threw the ball away at home plate. It was pretty clear at this point panic and desperation were sinking in for Archer who was just looking to get an out no matter how he could manage it. 6-0 Phillies in 10 batters for the inning.
I want to tell you that the Rays offense tried to even things out, but they keep getting retired so quickly it’s hard to keep up.
In the third inning Archer settled into a groove and quickly got three outs.
Johnny Field made his major league debut, his parents in attendance. Making your debut against Jake Arrieta is certainly one way to take your first hacks in the majors. Field gave Arrieta a good fight, going full count, but couldn’t quite manage his first hit.
Oh, cool, Phillies home run in the fourth. Some nice defensive plays so far this game though: a slick looking catch-turned-double-play by Hech, and some solid foul-turf catches from Smith and Duffy.
Mallex Smith, with a standing run on a sac fly RBI from Cron scored the first Rays run of the game thanks to some defensive hustle from the Rays in the fourth. A double from Duffy scored Kiermaier and suddenly the Rays crowd was alive. They wouldn’t score any more runs in the fourth, but the threat of a shutout was over.
Austin Pruitt replaced Archer in the fifth, probably a good idea now that there was some defense on the board. Cron and Ramos damn near collided at home plate when Cron followed the ball right up to Ramos. It was pretty apparent Cron lost it in the lights when he gave a “where the heck is it?” gesture.
#Rays now botch a pop-up that may have gone off part of catwalk, Ramos could've caught it but Cron got in way— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) April 14, 2018
Kingery and Franco took back the seven run lead with RBIs in the fifth. An utterly GLORIOUS catch from Mallex Smith in left kept the damage from getting any worse. Honestly, the game was worth sticking with for how impossible that catch was.
Mallex Smith dives for an amazing catch in left field, getting @RaysBaseball out of the inning! All of today's action is live now on FOX Sports Sun and FOX Sports Go! #RaysUp #MLB pic.twitter.com/kiP3PZvoMe— FOX Sports Florida (@FOXSportsFL) April 14, 2018
Smith followed up with a single in the bottom of the inning. Mallex Smith for MVP. (nothing came of this hit, but I’m still proud of him.)
In the sixth, Kevin Kiermaier managed his first multi-hit game of the season with a well-hit double. At this point, while Kiermaier hustles to third, Dewayne and Brian remind TV viewers that the Cubs just today came back from a 10-1 deficit. Kiermaier on a Cron groundout.
In the bottom of the seventh Wilson Ramos hit a loooong grounder single. Field collected his first major league walk after another really nice, patient at-bat, and proved to be the last batter Arrieta would face. No runs would come, however. I know, you’re surprised, but let’s go to the eighth.
Nothing happened worth note in the eighth. Onto the ninth.
Pruitt deserves some accolades for his performance tonight. 5 innings, 2 runs, 70 pitches, compared to Archer’s 4 IP, 7 R, 79 pitches. Certainly not saying Pruitt should replace Archer, but Pruitt definitely looks good for future bullpen days.
Wendle kicked off the bottom of the ninth with a hard-running double. Then a pinch-hitting Roberston joined him with a hit. A fully botched double play by the Phillies on a soft infield hit by Ramos loads the bases for the Rays. A sac fly from Hech scored Wendle. Field came up, and in spite of a solid effort hit into a double play to end the game.