On another chilly day game, Jacob Faria took the hill against Boston’s Rick Porcello hoping to give the Rays their first win since Opening Day. But to do so, he would have to cover for his centerfield security blanket, as Kevin Kiermaier wasn’t even at the park due to “general illness.”
Let’s see how this works out!
NARRATOR: Little did Faria know, his problems today would be much bigger than an absent centerfielder.
Denard Span got the Rays off to a quick start with a sharp single to right. After a strikeout of Mallex Smith, Carlos Gomez dumped a first pitch single into right, sending Span to third. Brad Miller continued the aggressive approach, hammering Porcello’s first pitch fastball over the head of Bradley in center for a double, scoring both Span and Gomez. It was a good read by Gomez to score from first, as he was running all the way despite the ball not being terribly far over Bradley’s head.
Brad Miller ropes a double to the deepest part of Fenway, driving in two runs and putting the @RaysBaseball ahead of the Red Sox in the first inning! All of today's action is live now on FOX Sports Sun and FOX Sports Go! #RaysUp #MLB pic.twitter.com/25LMi82mZs— FOX Sports Florida (@FOXSportsFL) April 7, 2018
Matt Duffy popped softly to shallow right and C.J. Cron swung through a middle-middle fastball to end the threat. But lookit! It’s a lead! Hope you enjoyed it, because it didn’t last long.
Jake Faria struggled with command early, late, and often, painting the zone like Jackson Pollock on a bender.
Mookie Betts greeted Faria with a double high off the windmill in left. Faria then issued a four-pitch free pass to Andrew Benintendi. Hanley Ramirez followed, and in his best executed sequence of the day, Faria got him to hit a humpback liner/pop up to deep short on a 1-2 curve. Unfortunately, Hechavaria never found the ball, and it dropped for a single. Bases loaded for J.D. Martinez.
This situation is suboptimal!
With a full count, Martinez send a slider deeeeeep to center. Just a step from the wall, Carlos Gomez snowconed the catch. Betts scored and everybody moved up, but look on the bright side! It could have been much worse!
Narrator: It got worse.
Xander Bogaerts put in dent in the clown’s nose with his double off the left field wall, scoring both runners. 3-2 Red Sox.
A single to right by Devers on a poorly executed 0-2 splitter scored Bogaerts, and it was 4-2.
Faria then fell behind Nunez 3-0 before coming back and getting him to pop out to Wendle for the second out. Jackie Bradley Jr gave one a ride to the edge of the track in right to mercifully end a 38-pitch first inning.
Joey Wendle stroked a one-out single through the right side in the Ray’s half of the second, but they were unable to string together a rally.
In the Red Sox half of the frame Faria picked up where he left off, spattering fastballs all over the place, in and out of the zone. He fell behind Sandy Leon before getting him to fly to center. He then handed out a couple free passes to Betts and Benintendi. And while he did manage to get Ramirez to pop to Miller, he followed that up by quickly put J.D. Martinez aboard on balls to load the bases.
Next up was Bogaerts with the bases juiced, and you know where this is going, right? While Faria was fortunate when Bogaert’s fouled off the 3-1 pitch, the Boston shortstop didn’t miss the center cut 3-2 offering, sending it high over the spinning wheel in left for a Slam Grade.
8-2 Red Sox. And that was the ball game. In the second inning.
Jake followed that up by walking Devers, before Cash finally put him out of our misery. Final line: 1.2 innings, 5 hits, 8 runs, 5 walks, zero strikeouts.
I really hope he wasn’t on your fantasy team today.
Austin Pruitt entered and gave up a double to Nunez off the pinball cutout in left, putting runners on second and third. Bradley followed by hitting one right on the screws, which Wendle snagged to keep it a six run game.
Apropos of everything: Did you see that Anthony Banda was lights out for Durham last night? I’m not saying, I’m just saying...
The Rays went quickly in the third, and that first inning lead felt like a reeeeally long time ago.
Porcello and Pruitt traded zeroes in the middle innings, with only a Pruitt walk to Bogaerts breaking up the string of outs. For his part, Porcello seemed to have adjusted to the early aggressive approach the Rays showed in the first inning by locating better early in the count and changing speeds.
Pruitt’s line on the day: 4 1⁄3 innings, 1 hit, no runs, a walk, 2 strikeouts. At the time, it felt like a bullpen-saving performance.
Narrator: It was not.
Chaz Roe and his wiffle ball came on for the bottom of the seventh. Martinez welcomed Roe to the game with his first Boston dinger, punishing a down-and-in sinker. 9-2 Red Sox. A strikeout to Bogaets followed, but Roe down-and-in’d a slider directly into the sweet spot of Rafael Devers‘s swing. The ball ended up in the seats in right. 10-2. Nunez pounded a single off the barn in left, and so much for all the bullpen saving work, eh, Austin?
Exit Roe, enter Romo, who worked out of trouble thanks in part to a nice pick up from Wendle.
Joey flipped a double off the base of the wall in left in the top of the eighth and HOLY COW DANIEL ROBERTSON IS WARMING.
Really this is the only reason anybody is still watching this game, right? For the chance to see position players throw 70 mph heat? Maybe break out a knuckleball?
Back to the action: After a Hech grounder to short, Denard Span singled to center, bringing Joey home for the final 10-3 margin, and ending the day for Porcello. 7 1⁄3 innings, 6 hits, 3 runs, 7 strikeouts.
Marcus Walden entered, and squelched out the historic rally before it could really get going, getting Mallex Smith to ground into a 1-6-3 double play.
The Rays also went quietly in the ninth to end the game, but before that:
DANIEL ROBERTSON CAN PITCH, Y’ALL!
The scouting report says that DRob throws...a baseball. And that’s mostly what he did, slinging a three-quarters fastball up there in the mid/upper 70s. But he also pulled the string on a 69 mph curve (nice!) that showed good finish. Benintendi was clearly fooled by it, and did a nice job just to foul it off. In all, Robertson threw 11 pitches in all, seven for strikes, and retired the side in order.
Clearly he is now in consideration for our fourth starter slot.