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TB 7 - TOR 1: More like Joey WIN-dle, amirite?

Yonny Chirinos cruises, Ji-Man flexes, and Joey keeps producing in every possible way.

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Toronto Blue Jays
Adames gets it.
Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

The Rays Opener: Ryne Stanek 1 IP 0 H, 1 K, 0 ER

The Jays Opener: Marcus Stroman 1.2 IP 6 H, 1 K, 4 ER

On this night, the Rays welcomed back Marcus Stroman in an incredibly rude way, putting up 4 runs and chasing him from the game in the 2nd. The Rays jumped out quick with Tommy Pham driving in Matt Duffy with a solid base hit up the middle. Joey Wendle extended his hit streak to 9 games right away with a single and the Rays were suddenly threatening big early. Unfortunately, Brandon Lowe came up Brandon Quiet tonight.

The Rays enjoyed that sample of the Runs flavor in the first inning and decided to go for a full waffle cone in the 2nd. Kevin Kiermaier got it started with a leadoff triple, catching Blue Jays RF Billy McKinney taking a bad route and a bit of a lackadaisical effort chasing his ball down the line.

Nick Ciuffo in his first major league AB grounded into a bit of a whacky fielders choice. Hitting a weak dribbler, the Jays attempted to catch Kiermaier off of 3rd, but KK was able to speed his way back to the bag, and Ciuffo was able to reach 1B, setting the table for what would come next.

Mallex Smith (welcome back) smacked a comebacker just past Stroman’s glove to pick up an RBI. Duffy would then smash a lofting double deep into the gap driving home two more.

After a good Open from Stanek, it was Yonny Chirinos time as the “bulk guy”. It was almost a very short trip to the “bulk” section as Yonny failed to attack the strike zone and went to full counts to each of the first 3 batters he faced.

Yonny got a great K swinging on a splitter well down in the zone to Kevin Pillar to lead off, but walks to both Aledmys Diaz and Russell Martin got some attention in the Rays dugout. An RBI base hit from Teoscar Hernandez later, and suddenly the Rays big early lead as in danger of getting out of control.

Cash had Diego Castillo warming in the bullpen, and with the roster expansion the Rays have enough pitching depth that Chirinos leash was awfully short. This was the big moment: was Yonny going to throw strikes and trust his stuff and the lead, or was it going to be a short disappointing night?

Chirinos buckled down and chose the former. He induced a weak pop-up and got Luke Maile striking out swinging to end the first and ultimately only Blue Jays threat.

After that 2nd inning hiccup, Yonny was absolute nails the rest of the way. Chirinos faced the minimum in the next 4 straight innings, two of which were thanks to his excellent splitter inducing perfect double plays to snuff out any glimmer of danger. The book on Yonny was a very encouraging and impressive 7 innings of work with 5 Ks and just the 1 run.

Joey Wendle now has multiple hits in 7 of 8 games. He also added another Web Gem, this time as a shortstop. Rookie of the Year is still quite a long shot, but what hasn’t been for Wendle? He keeps proving people wrong. He damn sure proved me wrong. He keeps producing, and he keeps doing things that we all keep saying he won’t or shouldn’t do. So long as there are doubts, it seems like Wendle will be proving somebody wrong about having them.

Speaking of players who you should stop sleeping on: Ji-Man Choi! Not only is Ji-Man one of the most gifable players on the Rays, but the bigman has some big strong swings such as this solo fly he got off of former Rays prospect Taylor Guerrieri:

The Rays are playing some great baseball lately. With this comfortable win, the Rays have now taken 12 of 14. The Wild Card is still a long way away, and so much as to go right to even start dreaming of that becoming a reality. But baseball continually proves that the only thing that is truly certain is uncertainty.

Rays are now 8 wins away from their first winning season since 2013, and first under Kevin Cash. Current mood: