With dreams of open-air stadiums and translucent roofs in their heads, the 2018 Tampa Bay Rays settled into the cozy confines of Tropicana Field to take the series from the Detroit Tigers: a team none of us really have anything against, but one we want to see fail today.
The third inning accounted for all of the offense for the Rays, but what an inning it was. Gomez walked, and stole second to sit in scoring position. Adames then hit a chopped to shortstop, but a hustling Gomez managed to slide safely into home for the Rays’ first run. Kevin Kiermaier plated Adames—who had reached second on that odd lil’ single—to score the second run of the inning. After Daniel Roberston was hit by a pitch, Ramos did a thing:
we love our big boy
That 5 run inning would be all the Rays put up, and luckily (despite a rough 9th inning by Kolarek) it would be enough to put the Rays on top. The final score doesn’t quite to justice to how well the bullpen handled this game. Ryne “The Ghost of Orel Hershiser” Stanek did his job in short order for his assigned two innings. He allowed a hit but got plenty of swinging strikes, as if proving that he deserves the MLB record for most consecutive games started w/ no runs. Never ever forget that we are witnessing MLB greatness every time Ryne Stanek steps onto the mound.
The Rays called to Alvarado next, and he did his job in short order as well. Alvarado didn’t allow a hit, and collected three strikeouts. Next up was Jamie Schultz, who (checks notes) didn’t allow a hit, and collected three strikeouts. It was nice to see both of these players have a nice bounceback performance after last night’s bullpen catastrophe. I was mulling over the idea in the 10th inning last night if a forfeit in extra innings might be beneficial for an already taxed bullpen, especially with two “Bullpen Days” for the next two days. Glad to see that I remain a dumb idiot!
Adam Kolarek pitched 2.2 innings, and for 2 of those innings he did very well. It was only when Kolarek worked the ninth that he ran into some trouble. After Carlos Gomez overran a pop foul that would have been the first out of the inning, Kolarek allowed a hit to put Jeimer Candelario on base. This was followed by a Castellanos double that D-Rob couldn’t handle well in the outfield, which scored Candelario. Niko Goodrum (70 grade name right there) singled him home, and all of a sudden it’s a save situation for an incoming reliever. After retiring two more Tigers (one of which was on a sparkling defensive play by Hechavarria) Sergio Romo entered to close it out.
And close it out he did: Romo dazzled Ronny Rodriguez with three straight sliders for a game-ending strikeout. Rays win 5-2 in a tight 2:25. In my opinion, we should aim for these shorter baseball games, instead of error-prone disaster shows like last night’s affair.
If the Rays win tomorrow, they sweep the third-place team in the AL Central. In my mind, this would make up for losing a series to the Marlins.