The Tampa Bay Rays headed into the Thursday matinee against the Los Angeles Angels looking for a sweep. The Rays won 19 of their last 23 home games coming in.
Opening Act: The Flow Show
The long flowing locks coming out for the Rays signifies it’s an opener. This time instead of Ryne Stanek we have Hunter Wood. Wood came out firing gas past hitters.
Wood started the afternoon getting David Fletcher and Kole Calhoun to strike out swinging on fastballs at the top of the strikezone. Justin Upton sent a liner to the left-center field gap for a double, but Wood got Albert Pujols to hit a weak grounder to the mound. Wood made a fantastic play after deflecting the ball with his barehand and got the slow footed runner at first.
Woody has six outs, but this is our favorite. pic.twitter.com/eQF5gyWivy— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) August 2, 2018
In the second inning Woods struck out Andrelton Simmons, Luis Valbuena, and Kaleb Cowart all swinging.
In the bottom of the frame Jake Bauers worked an 11-pitch at bat that ended with a soft liner to right field that Bauers was able to turn into a double by hustling out of the box.
Hunter Wood: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 5 K, 0 BB
The Headliner: Jalen Beeks puts Baltimore performance behind him.
Jalen Beeks debut in a Rays uniform didn’t go well last week in Baltimore. He allowed eight earned runs and ten hits over 3.1 innings. Despite not getting hit hard it seemed every ball was hit to where the defense wasn’t.
Beeks worked a clean third to get off on the right food including a strikeout of Eric Young Jr.
In his second inning of work Beeks allowed a walk to Justin Upton, but induced two groundball outs and struck out Albert Pujols.
In the bottom of the fourth the Rays offense got to Andrew Heaney. Back-to-back singles off the bats of Matt Duffy and Daniel Robertson set the Rays up with runners on first and third with no outs. Tommy Pham was hit by a pitch on the foot to load the bases. CJ Cron came through with a grounder to center to score two and put the Rays up 2-0. Jake Bauers hit a weak grounder to first base that worked as a bunt to move the runners to second and third. Carlos Gomez was hit in his butt to load the bases once again. The first pitch to Willy Adames was a breaking ball that hit the plate and skipped away from the catcher allowing the third run of the game to score. Adames hit a hard liner to centerfield to collect the sacrifice fly and put the Rays up 4-0.
Beeks sailed through the fifth and sixth innings facing the minimum. A batter reached base on an error by Robertson, but was quickly erased by a double play.
In the seventh inning the Angels picked up their first hit off Beeks with a lead off single by Justin Upton followed by a double down the left field line by Pujols to put runners on second and third with no outs. Beeks stopped the bleeding with two straight RBI groundouts to seconds and struck out the final batter he would face.
Jalen Beeks (W 1-1): 5.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 K, 1 BB
Closing Acts: Diego Castillo and Sergio Romo
Diego Castillo came in. The Angels countered with pinch hitting Shohei Ohtani. Castillo won this battle striking out Ohtani swinging. After getting Eric Young Jr. to weakly ground out to first Castillo got David Fletcher to strike out swinging to end his inning of work.
Diego Castillo (H, 10): 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 K, 0 BB
After the Rays went down quietly in the eighth Sergio Romo came in to close out the victory. Romo went through the heart of the order striking out Kole Calhoun and Justin Upton before getting Albert Pujols to pop out to third base to end the game.
Sergio Romo (S, 13): 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 K, 0 BB
The Rays completed the sweep of the Angels and have won 20 of their last 24 home games. If only they could play them all at home!
The Rays are celebrating their 2008 ALCS Championship team this weekend and will host the Chicago White Sox.