While the Rays and the White Sox matched up this series as two of the younger teams in baseball, today’s game featured two starting pitchers with 599 career starts between them.
For the Rays, Charlie Morton, coming off a scoreless outing against the Rockies. For the Sox, Ervin Santana (activated today) would make his first start of the 2019 season. Entering the game, the Rays had baseball’s lowest team ERA.
It wasn’t the easiest win, but the Rays 10 to 5 victory over the Sox nonetheless extends their franchise best start of 4 consecutive series wins.
The Rays would continue their early scoring ways in the 1st, as a sacrifice fly by Brandon Lowe scored Austin Meadows, who led off the game with a line drive single. Meadows would steal second and take third on a sac fly by Tommy Pham.
Avisail Garcia would follow up with a solo home run in the top of the 2nd, barreling up a slider on the inside half from Santana.
Not to be outdone, Meadows would add a longball of his own later on that inning, this time with a man on, as Willy Adames would draw a walk before him. Meadows would have a career day with 4 hits, a walk and a stolen base. Austin Meadows is good.
Lowe, too, would get in on the home run action in the 3rd, after just missing one in his first at bat. Two and a half innings in, Rays 5, White Sox 0.
The Rays would tack on two more against Santana in the 4th, chasing him for Manuel Banuelos before he could finish the inning. The Rays would have almost as many home runs (3) as they would swings and misses (4) off of the White Sox starter.
‘Charles in Charge’
Morton wouldn’t be immune to the longball himself, giving up a two run shot to Yoan Moncada in the bottom of the 3rd. Other than that, though, he was very much in control, keeping the Sox off balance with a nearly equal split of sinkers, curvebals and fourseam fastballs.
He’d get into some trouble in the 5th, but a good running catch in left by Meadows (did I mention Austin Meadows is good?) and timely strikeouts of Leury Garcia and Moncada would get him right out of it.
Morton’s final line: 5 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 7 K
The Rays would hand the ball over to the enigmatic Wilmer Font, who would surrender two runs in 2.2 innings of work before giving way to Ryne Stanek to finish it off. Font did average nearly 95 with his fourseam fastball, reaching as high as 97, showing signs of the breakout he began to have in 2018.
Further reading: Wilmer Font’s increasing velocity.
Drama in the 8th
Instead of cruising to a victory, however, Stanek would fail to record an out, allowing two hits and a walk, prompting another pitching change. Like Stanek, Alvarado would have trouble finding the strike zone, walking in a run before getting Adam Engel to chase a 99 mile per hour sinker outside of the zone.
Alvarado not return to pitch the 9th, after the Rays offense would tack on two more following the 8th inning debacle. Adam Kolarek would make (relatively) quick work in the 9th.
And 402 pitches later, that’s your ballgame.
The Rays look to finish the sweep tomorrow afternoon, in another 2:10 start. Tyler Glasnow is set to take the hill for the Rays and Reynaldo Lopez for the White Sox.
- Coming into today’s game, the Rays ranked first in baseball in 1st inning batting average (.340), hits (17) and runs (13), along with four home runs. If only there was some type of strategy teams could employ that would suppress early scoring...
- The Rays are now 14 of 14 on stolen base attempts
- In case you don’t remember, Austin Meadows is good
- Despite going 0-for-3 on the day, Yandy Diaz still owned the hardest hit batted ball of the game; a 110.2 MPH groundout in the 1st. In case you missed it from this morning’s View from the Catwalk, mlb.com’s Mike Petriello wrote about Diaz and his elite hard hit skills
- With a walk in the top of the 4th, Tommy Pham extended his franchise record on base streak to 44 games. He would also add a single later and another walk
- In my last recap, I noted Willy Adames’s .112 OPS through the first 6 games of the season. In his last four games, he’s gone 7-for-14
- Today was the first game of the season in which Rays pitching gave up a run in either the eighth or ninth innings
- After a 3 hour, 25 minute contest yesterday, today’s game was even longer at 3 hours, 56 minutes
- Jake Faria had a good start for the Durham Bulls
Exceptional outing by @DurhamBulls RH #JakeFaria (5IP/4H/0R/0W/7K)— Patrick Kinas (@PatrickKinas) April 9, 2019
Featured FB 93-4 mostly dominated @GoStripers hitters. Located FB on dimes all day. Outing punctuated by K'ing side in 4th after allowing 1B + 2B.
In line for win as 1st Bulls starter to go 5IP#RaysUp #BULLieve
Though tomorrow’s game is scheduled for 2:10, the weather forecast may not let that happen. Both teams hope to get the game in, but may have to push the game back to Thursday afternoon or a mutual off day in the future.