Day baseball is an interesting creature. In the case of Wednesday’s outing against the Diamondbacks, the Rays offered special discounted senior tickets (as they do periodically on Wednesdays throughout the season). The rest of us just had to watch at work. 8663 showed up still for a day game, and in my opinion, that ain’t bad.
The game saw the curiously named matchup of Robbie Ray vs. the Rays (as led by Charlie Morton). Curious, and historical, because it’s the first time EVER a pitcher has made a start against a team that has his surname as their team name.
Using only current #MLB teams, Robbie Ray is the only pitcher to make a start vs. a team with the same name as his surname (today; June 6, 2016). 4 others have made relief apps: Chris Ray (last: 2011), Billy Brewer (last: 1999), Jim Brewer (last: 1976) and Conrad Cardinal (1963). pic.twitter.com/7e9mEQBfIB— Patrick Kurish (@PKurish) May 8, 2019
The Diamondbacks struck early against Morton, with an Adam Jones fielder’s choice that scored Jarrod Dyson. Then in the third, it was a Ketel Marte single that once again scored Dyson. Man... what is Dyson’s OBP this season? .393. Not bad! Anyway, not ideal, because his general on-base-gettingness proved to be a bit of a hindrance to the Rays today.
Morton, by all accounts, had a fine outing. He went five innings, giving up seven hits and two runs, but one major area of concern was the walks. He walked four batters over the course of the game (though he did manage to strike out eight). I only note the walks as a problem because guess who had two of those walks? Jarrod Dyson. And guess which innings they were in? The first and third. You guys are great at guessing games.
Point being, the two runs that Morton ultimately gave up in the game were as a direct result of the walks. Not ideal.
Morton was replaced in the sixth by my new favorite reliever Emilio Pagán who had a scoreless 11-pitch inning and, what’s that a 0.90 ERA? Bless.
Robbie Ray had himself a nice outing against his namesake nemesis, going 5.2 innings with four hits and a whopping 11 strikeouts. He had three walks in the game, but nothing the Rays were able to convert, unfortunately.
In the eighth inning Yoan Lopez walked Yandy Diaz, followed by a no-out single from Tommy Pham, and I started wondering: could the Rays find their retribution as the result of a walk? Why, yes, as a matter of fact. A walk, an an overthrown ball to second that should have been a double play but instead allowed Diaz to score and Pham to advance to third on a Daniel Robertson fielder’s choice. The Rays were now down by only a single run, with two men on and still no outs.
A painful looking hit-by-pitch to Avisail Garcia loaded the bases, then Pham was unable to score on a Zunino single, but Heredia quickly made up for the lost runner and re-loaded the bases. With two outs, Willy Adames had a hard hit ball, but it was a lineout right into the shift, and the Rays left three men stranded.
Also worth noting from the eighth that Zunino looked a little pained after running to first, so this might be a thing. Nick Ciuffo, newly arrived to the team just this morning, replaced Zunino for the ninth inning.
This might be worth monitoring. Catcher Mike Zunino hobbled into first base during the eighth inning. #Rays already placed C Michael Perez (oblique tightness) on the 10-day IL earlier today. pic.twitter.com/34wp70RZhY— Josh Tolentino (@JCTSports) May 8, 2019
The Rays, down by a run, had their last chance to make magic happen in the bottom of the ninth. A Yandy Diaz double with two outs got excitement levels up. Then Tommy Pham singled. Kevin Kiermaier came on to pinch hit, representing a potential walk-off for the team. He laced an absolutely perfect hit to center, only to have Tommy Pham tagged out at home trying to score the winning run. Yandy Diaz did manage to score, however, tying up the game for the team. Cash challenged the tag at the plate, but lost the appeal, so onward into extra innings.
I’m not going to lie, for the duration of the 10th inning I watched a video showing the 1988 Crystal Light Aerobics Championship hosted by Alan Thicke because that’s a thing that was on the internet today.
A fair double from Willy Adames in the eleventh that was nearly caught by Jones put the winning run on the plate and put my heart pretty much in my throat. But it was not to be, and the Rays would head to the 12th.
Maybe it’s a good thing this was a day game after all. By the way, at this point the Rays had a new franchise record of twenty strikeouts in a single game. The DBacks 18 strikeouts to this point was also a record for them.
Tommy Pham walked to start the twelfth. Kiermaier couldn’t play the hero this time grounding out, then the Diamondbacks decided to go for a replay call, thinking they’d picked off Pham. And they won that replay, for two down in the inning. Quite the day for Pham. It was all down to Garcia, who went down swinging for the 21st Rays strikeout of the game.
The first two DBacks reached in the top of the thirteenth. And then a double play quickly erased two of them while advancing Escobar to third base. A rough outing for Kolarek turned around pretty quickly. Then Chaz Roe came on, gave up an RBI single to Flores, and there we are, the Diamondbacks up 3-2.
In the bottom of the 13th, Ciuffo became strikeout 22. A combined 40 between the two teams. Then Lowe made it 23 and 41 total. 5 of those strikeouts were Lowe’s. Adames flied out to end the game, and the 13-inning marathon ended in defeat. DBacks won 3-2.