BOSTON — It was an adventurous afternoon as the Rays looked to keep their seven game winning streak alive in Fenway Park for what I’d call the best weather they’ve played in this season: 60 degrees and sunny, with only a slight chill in the breeze.
I know it’s April 28th, I said nearly!
The train keeps rolling
Tampa Bay’s offense is riding the buffalo. He doubled in the second inning, scoring on an inside the park homerun, and then hit a strong man’s homerun the next inning, his third in three games. Ramos walked on his third plate appearance and singled on his fourth, but was eventually removed from the game with leg tightness.
The Buffalo roams - that's now 8 straight starts with an extra-base hit for #Rays Ramos, tying team record— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) April 28, 2018
But the attention in this game surely belongs on the man who scored Ramos, as Denard Span delivered a thrilling inside the park homerun that featured a Jackie Bradley Jr. faceplant for the ages:
As for the rest of the Rays offense, David Price didn’t stand a chance.
Daniel Robertson coaxed a bases loaded walk from Price in the fifth for the Rays fifth run on the day, and then once Price had left, Matt Duffy batted a groundball single to score Hechavarria for the sixth run in the sixth (with a throwing error adding to the fun), and Carlos Gomez hit a bat flip worthy homer for the seventh in the seventh.
The Rays were just hitting. Johnny Field and Matt Duffy singled in the next inning, and Jesus Sucre entered the game and knocked a line drive off the wall by the Pesky Pole to score (you guessed it) the eighth run in the eighth.
Denard Span and Adeiny Hechavarria led the ninth with singles to chase reliever Matt Barnes. Brad Miller then batted a ball that skipped up and over Eduardo Nunez at second base (officially scored a single) to tally the ninth run. That would have been enough, but enter Johnny Field!
After showing bunt on two pitches outside the zone, and facing the same handed Bran Johnson, the Rays rookie unleashed a homerun into the monster for the first in his career.
Yonny Chirinos was hot and cold this afternoon, allowing multiple base runners with no outs in each of the first three innings. There was plenty of contact and it was generally loud.
Some double play RBI helped clear the bases, and Chirinos limited the damage to three runs before he was pulled, but he left Ryan Yarbrough with bases loaded and none out as he entered in the third. Chirinos had big boy strikeouts of Rafael Devers and Mookie Betts to end innings, but he was not the “starter” the Rays needed him to be today.
Playing Dr. Jekyll, Sunday’s presumed starter was called into action a day early, and he had a tall order. He painted the black with fastballs to strikeout Devers. A line out to Hechavarria was the second out, and a fastball above the zone got JBJ swinging for three.
Yarby went on to allow two more runs to score after a nice piece of hitting from Hanley Ramirez scored Mookie Betts in the fourth, and Rafael Devers hit a homerun in the fifth.
The Rays lefty was the perfect fireman from there on out, striking out two in the sixth, flashing a mean curveball. He totaled 6 K’s and no walks in his four inning appearance.
Chaz Roe used first pitch fastballs to get ahead of Ramirez and Martinez to start the seventh (ground out, then error on batted sliders), and then K’d Bogaerts on a fifth pitch fastball after feed four breaking balls.
I say breaking balls, not only because that is what the Rays typically default to calling everything, but because I specifically don’t know what to call this nonsense:
I thought we agreed this would be a slider? pic.twitter.com/SF6YZwyzjA— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) April 28, 2018
Roe was replaced by Jose Alvarado who allowed a single on a 99 MPH pitch, but then found 100 MPH to disorient Eduardo Nunez, who then K’d on a curveball.
Alvarado returned in the eighth for two easy groundball outs and a strikeout from JBJ and the two catchers (one of which was subbing in left field). He’d reach triple digits four times in his 16 pitch outing.
Sergio Romo then took the mound (post Field 3-run jack) to finish things out. The bad news is he allowed three hits, scoring one, and overall needs to settle down, but I’ll criticize another time.
The Rays eight game winning streak takes them from 4-13 to 12-13 on the season (!!!).
- Chih-Wei Hu looks to be on his way back to the majors after the Rays were forced to bring in Yarbrough a day early than intended. Hu was scratched from his start for this evening. The Rays will have a difficult time deciding the corresponding move, however, with Yarbrough (who just pitched) or Field (the 25th man) being the likely candidates. Whoever goes down must stay down ten days. If it’s Field, at least he had a nice day at the plate!
- The official scorer at Fenway Park had a difficult decision to make on JBJ’s faceplant. Was it an error? And if so, does Span get an RBI with Ramos on second base? The initial call was an single and an error with no RBI, but upon review of replays in the press box, the scorer judged it an inside the park HR.
- A fielder’s choice from CJ Cron came off a broken bat, and the sheared off barrel nearly hit David Price in the face. Scary moment.
- Mookie Betts left today’s game with hamstring tightness in the fifth, Wilson Ramos left with “bilateral leg tightness” in the eighth, meaning both legs were tensing up.
- Before the Field three run homerun, the Rays briefly had Alex Colome warming despite his appearing in each of the last two Rays victories, 40 pitches between them.
- Pitching Ninja could smell what the Roe was cooking
- This eight win streak balances out that eight loss streak rather nicely, I’d say.