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Jays 3, Rays 1: Can’t win them all

The Rays failed to score earlier and it hurt them later.

Tampa Bay Rays v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

There are some game recaps where the narrative of the game feels so set in stone that you can start writing the darned thing in the fourth inning and be pretty confident you won’t need to rewrite the entire thing later. Then there are games where you don’t start writing a word until the eighth inning and are pretty happy for it. Today is an example of the latter.

Through six innings it was a classic pitcher’s duel between Blake Snell — with a 2-1 record — and Clay Buccholz — making his 2019 season debut. While Buccholz’s stuff wasn’t exactly what I’d qualify as “sharp” he still managed to stymie the Rays offensive production, limiting them to a single run in six innings: an Austin Meadows single that scored Willy Adames.

Things were good for the Rays through those first six innings. Tommy Pham extended his hitting streak to 47 games, Willy Adames continued to look good, and Austin Meadows (whose home run numbers are better than the Detroit Tigers combined) kept racking up RBIs.

The Jays racked up three errors, one of which was a near-comical two-errors on a single play, where Avisail Garcia SHOULD have been out with a quick throw to first, but managed to turn it into a triple. Alas, he was thrown out on an aggressive hustle to home in the next play.

Blake Snell was hitless into the sixth. In fact he gave up only a single hit in the game before being pulled after a mere 82 pitches after six innings in favor of Chaz Roe.

Who gave up three hits, one of which was a Lourdes Gurriel Jr. double to score two runs, giving the Jays a sudden seventh inning lead, and quickly ending Roe’s day.

It boggles the mind a little why the Rays decided to pull Snell after only six innings of work with only 82 pitches thrown. Perhaps it is the gift of hindsight that lets me deride the decision so readily, but even at the time it seemed like a particularly strange decision.

In the top of the eighth the Rays had a great opportunity to even things up with a Mike Zunino triple that found itself perfectly positioned in the right field corner, followed by an intentional walk to Meadows. Unfortunately even bringing in Daniel Robertson to hit for Ji-Man Choi could not turn in a run.

An interesting thing to note, here, was that this was the first time on this particular road trip the Rays did not score in the first inning. They did not score until the sixth inning, in fact, suggesting the team is at their best when they score early and often.

Anyway, in the eighth inning Jalen Beeks who had come on to replace Roe gave up an RBI single to Teoscar Hernández. Jays lead was up to 3-1 with Ken Giles coming on to close it out.

In spite of a Brandon Lowe double, the Rays were unable to take advantage of any late game opportunities. Jays win this round, but we’ll be back at it again tomorrow.