The loss on Opening Day certainly put an initial damper on Rays fans high hopes for 2019. But then they won game two. And three. And now the fourth game of the four-game series against AL West projected champions the Houston Astros.
The 2019 Rays are good.
Yonny Chirinos, who was not expected to go more than a handful of innings on a bullpenning day, went seven innings and gave up a solitary home run to Jake Marisnick in the third innings. Other than that he was mixing his pitches to great effect, and Mike Zunino is already looking like a tremendous partner for these pitchers in his place behind the bag.
For the Rays part, all their runs came thanks to Austin Meadows, who is certainly doing his part early in the season to make sure the Rays are pleased with the Chris Archer trade. He scored the offensively red-hot Tommy Pham (who is on a 36-game on-base streak), with a single in the first, then helped reclaim the Rays lead in the bottom of the third with a two-run blast.
Overall the Rays had a solid offensive outing with the top of the lineup all doing good work getting on base.
Defensively they looked great as well, with Willy Adames making some stellar running catches and returns to first base. Even on one toss to first that was off the base, the fact he was even able to stop the ball and turn it around was impressive. He seems to have really found a rhythm at short. Avisail Garcia made some great catches in right field, as well.
On the negative end of things, in the sixth inning Jake Marisnick slid hard into second and took Joey Wendle down in the process. Wendle left the game and was later diagnoses with a hamstring sprain. He’s currently day-to-day, but the Rays won’t want to take chances.
After the seventh inning, things definitely went to the bullpen, with partial inning appearances by Adam Kolarek, Chaz Roe, Jalen Beeks, and finally Diego Castillo to finish off the ninth inning. The bullpen didn’t give up a run (again), though Castillo gave up the game’s first walk to George Springer.
Daniel Roberston saved me from a mild heart attack. Springer was able to steal second, then advance to third on a wild pitch. Jose Altuve hit a bunt down the third base line — foul — and Roberston slid under to scoop it up for the third out of the inning. Rays win!
All in all, excluding the injury to Wendle, it was a tremendous way to wrap up the four-game series, and the high of a three-game winning streak more than makes up for the disappointment of a game one loss.