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Rays 0 Indians 2: A very sleepy offense

Note to Kevin Cash: if they are ejecting you anyway, at least kick some dirt!

MLB: Cleveland Indians at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Given Shane Biebers complete mastery of the Rays, I thought I’d try to write a recap that was all Justin Bieber song titles (hey, I’ll bet no one ever made Justin Bieber jokes when writing about Shane, right?) But the problem, I realized, is that Bieber’s lyrics are all so banal that you can’t even make interesting puns with them. Baby? Boyfriend? Believe? The only positive thing to come of this exercise is that I wasted an inning reading Justin Bieber song lyrics and thereby missed some sorry looking Rays at bats. As long as you love me, am I right?

My philosophy is that if your team fails to score at least three runs, you can’t blame your pitchers for a loss.

So although of course in the weird world of major league baseball counting stats Tyler Glasnow gets the “loss” for tonight, in the more sophisticated world of the DRB community Glasnow did his job. It was important, after that very rough outing in Toronto when he imploded in the first inning, to see Glasnow retire major league hitters.

He started off very sharp, needing just sixteen pitches to get the first six outs.

He was a little less crisp thereafter. There were several well-tagged balls, some of which were caught deep in the outfield, and two of which left the park, with solo shots by Yan Gomes and Edwin Encarnacion accounting for the two Cleveland runs. The EE homer was a monster shot, hitting one of the back rows of the left field stands.

His final line was six hits, two runs and three strike outs, finishing seven innings. He did not walk a batter. To my eye, if he had a problem it was that he was too much in the zone — hence some of the well tagged balls. He only had a few whiffs (which is consistent with his low strike out total). It seems churlish to complain about seven full innings of well pitched baseball, however.

But the Rays offense, which has been chugging along in high gear during this recent run of success, was AWOL.

Rays hitters seemed pretty well off balance against Bieber, who was particularly good at using his breaking stuff tonight. He pitched into the seventh (6.2 innings) giving up three scattered hits and two walks. He struck out 11 Rays. The only actual threat came in the seventh, when he had given up a double to Joey Wendle and walk Jake Bauers. Brad Hand came in to relieve him and briefly lost the strike zone, walking pinch hitting Matt Duffy and falling behind Mallex Smith 3-0. But Mallex, after swinging at ball four (ouch) popped up to end the inning.

With the Rays bats silent, the most dramatic moment belonged to Kevin Cash. The Rays went to Vidal Nuño to start the eighth. He gave up a single to Michael Brantley, and then seemed to have him picked off first. The third base umpire, however, called it a balk and Brantley was waved to second. Kevin Cash went out to discuss this call with the third base umpire, and they had what looked like a calm conversation. But afterwards it became clear that Cash had been ejected from the game. Apparently the home plate umpire had told him not to walk on to the field and Cash had ignored him, earning an ejection.

There were no late inning comeback heroics tonight, as the Cleveland bullpen held the two run lead, ending the Rays Tropicana Field win streak at 12. With the Oakland Athletics beating the Orioles in a surprisingly close game, the Rays wild card hopes, always faint, have grown dimmer.