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Athletic’s 4, Rays 2: Solid start by Chirinos squandered

Not a great day for the Rays bullpen

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Oakland Athletics John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

The crowd in Oakland this afternoon was boisterous to say the least. The last time I heard that many boos, I was at the Haunted Mansion.

In some instances they were right to complain, as there were certainly a few moments where things really tipped in favor of the Rays. Whether it was the two hit-by-pitches on Garcia, or the third to Willy Adames that was originally called a foul tip, but ruled a HBP on review. Or perhaps the ruled fair ball double to Mike Zunino that really, really looked like it might have been a foul (but Bob Melvin didn’t ask for a review). Point being, the Rays had a lot of luck in this game.

They also had base runners in almost every inning, thanks to those hits by pitch, or by errors, or by the few rare hits collected in the game.

And they managed to squander most of the opportunities they were given. With the exception of Ji-Man Choi who collected an RBI in the third inning (an inning where the Rays loaded the bases twice). The Rays only other run in the game was also from Choi, a solo home run in the seventh inning.

Otherwise, it was a lot of wasted chances and runners left on base. Sure, the A’s had Mike Fiers up to start things out and he pitched six solid innings. On the Rays side, Yonny Chirinos continued his bid to be considered a starting pitcher rather than an innings-eater, as he went six innings himself, giving up two runs on six hits with three strikeouts and two walks. Chirinos looked good for the most part. He gave up and RBI single to Grossman in the second, and a solo home run to Chapman in the third.

Where trouble really started for the Rays was when Diego Castillo came to the mound in the seventh inning and it was very quickly apparent his command had not joined him on the flight to California. He gave up an RBI double to Chapman, and forced a run in with a Laureano hit by pitch in the seventh. And with the Rays using up their last mound visit that same inning, Castillo was left floundering.

Overall it wasn’t a great game by the Rays, who failed to take advantage of several golden opportunities. Some bright spots included Austin Meadows hitting a triple that was very nearly an inside the park home run, and Mike Zunino making some incredible moves behind the dish, catching a final out, tagging out two runners, and smothering more than one would-be wild pitch.

Adam Kolarek pitched a nice clean inning in the eighth and was a good note to end the game on for the bullpen, even if the Rays were unable to come back and win it.