Well. Here we are. At least it wasn’t a one-run loss, huh?!
Friday night’s 5-1 loss to the Mets was, however, one of the most frustrating, agonizing, painful, stupid, are-you-effing-serious, depressing, disheartening, [one million other synonyms] games in recent memory.
With that in mind, let’s set this recap up in a slightly different way: Ranking the worst moments of the evening.
9) Bauers’ (not Adames’) error leads to opening run
Yes, there are nine worst moments.
This one stings more in retrospect, but honestly, even in the moment, you had to figure it might haunt the Rays. The Rays have been rather offense deficient of late, and they were facing the MLB ERA leader — runs were going to be at a premium.
After Ryne Stanek extended his record scoreless starts streak to eight with two shutout innings, Ryan Yarbrough came in for the third. After getting Jacob deGrom to strike out, he got Brandon Nimmo to roll over on a pitch to short. Adames’ throw wasn’t great, but it’s a play that Jake Bauers make 95 times out of 100. This time he didn’t and two batters later — after a walk and a single — the Mets had a 1-0 lead for deGrom.
8) Quick hook for Yarbs
Ryan Yarbrough tossed three innings on Tuesday, so maybe the plan was never to go too deep with him, but Cash seemed to have an exceptionally quick hook for the young lefty on Friday. When Yarbs’ spot in the lineup (stupid National League) was due up with two outs and nobody on base in the top of the fifth, Cash elected to lift Yarbs for C.J. Cron, the most potent bat on the Rays bench. It seemed to be a waste of both Yarbrough (the 2.0 IP were his shortest non-game-ending outing since April 22), as well as Cron, who did draw a walk, but didn’t come close to coming around to score.
7) deGrom is just really good
This one was annoying but expected. There were four blink-and-it’s-already-over, 1-2-3 innings that deGrom had against the Rays on the evening. Even in the innings where they put a runner on, it often felt like chasing a dream. The one run they did score (hold that thought) kind of snuck up out of nowhere, and it wasn’t able to be enjoyed as much as it should have been.
6) Being so close to stealing the series opener against deGrom with our Opener
This one really stung when it appeared as though the Rays were going to pull off the upset. The Rays’ run prevention is going to have them hanging around basically every game (oh hello, 37 one-run games), but not many would have expected to top the hottest pitcher in baseball with a bullpen game. It almost happened though, which only acted to make the whole affair that much more frustrating.
5) One run should’ve been two
The one run the Rays did get on the evening came on an impressive piece of hitting. Willy Adames (god, I love these kids) managed to uppercut a letter-high fastball from the Mets’ ace, delivering the ball over the center field fence, and tying the game at 1-1 in the top of the fifth inning.
Of course, on this night, not even that moment could be truly enjoyed. As you can see in the video above, the long ball came precisely one pitch after Daniel Robertson got caught stealing, turning what could have been a two-run bomb into a solo shot that would not provide the Rays with the lead they could have taken.
4) Giving up a walkoff grand slam
We’re jumping ahead to the end of the game here, since there wasn’t much action in those latter innings.
And yes, this was only the fourth-worst moment of the night, don’t @ me. For those of you who missed the game, it was 1-1 before the bottom of the ninth inning, and it was still tied at 1-1 only thanks to some hi-jinks that we’ll get to in a second.
Chaz Roe stayed in the game in the ninth after getting the final out of the eighth. Todd Frazier led off the ninth with a walk, and then — after attempting unsuccessfully to lay down a couple heinous-looking bunts — Devin Mesoraco found a hole in the Rays infield to make it first and second with no one out. After a sac bunt and an intentional walk, the bases were loaded for...
3) Flippin’ Jose Bautista was the one to hit the walkoff
Giving up a walkoff grand slam sucks. Giving up a walkoff grand slam to Jose Bautista begins to demand profanity before describing how much it sucks. This is the dude who was convinced MLB was rigging the playoffs. The dude who has started more beef with random teams across the league than the rest of the league combined. The dude who has already had his awesome home run moment. Anyone else would’ve been better.
2) Mets bases loaded moment > Rays bases loaded moment
Of course, the game very nearly had a very different feel to it. In the top of the ninth inning, the Rays had the exact same situation the Mets would go on to have in the bottom half of the inning: bases loaded with one out. The Rays sent Mallex Smith to the plate, and guess what; he didn’t hit a grand slam. In fact, he chopped a ball to first that allowed the Mets to get the out at home, and then go on to escape the inning without harm.
It was right around this time that fellow DRB writer Darby Robinson wrote in our work chat, “If literally anything could go the Rays way just once this year this season would be extra incredible.”
1) That shouldn’t have actually been an out!
On said Mallex chopper to first, Mets first baseman Wilmer Flores threw the ball way too high, draggin Devin Mesoraco off the plate, and turning what should have been a force into a tag play, a tag that to my admittedly-biased Rays eyes sure looked like Hunter Wood (hold that thought, part two) beat home.
The Rays challenged, but apparently there wasn’t enough for the MLB umpiring powers that be to overturn the call, leaving the Rays in a perfect position to give up a walkoff, which they woefully obliged.
The worst part of it all: If the umps overturn that call, I have a totally sane and normal game recap written for me! Cash had decided to pinch-run relief pitcher Hunter Wood for Wilson Ramos when Ramos reached on a walk in the ninth. Of course, it was Wood who was involved in the most important play of the game, and if he gets the safe call, suddenly I have a title (“The Hunter Wood Game!”), a really easy overarching theme (that crazy Kevin Cash is pulling all the right strings with his experiments this season), and instead of reading some weird list-style recap, you get a normal, paint-by-the-numbers Rays recap.
Oh, what could have been.