This was a late one, so you can be forgiven if you looked at the tied score early on and thought to yourself, “No, I like myself enough to go to sleep.”
Some of us need to write recaps, however, so here’s what you missed in the opening game of the Rays/Mariners weekend series.
Jalen Beeks was in slightly uncharted territory, taking on a traditional starting pitcher role rather than the bulk innings role behind an opener. Beeks struggled in this one, those it’s worth noting that both runs scored while he was on the mound were well placed grounders and not mighty blasts to the stands. Only one of the two runs under his watch was earned, as the other was a baserunner that got on thanks to a Brosseau fielding error.
Brosseau can be somewhat forgiven though, because his second inning groundball into a fielder’s choice managed to score Matt Duffy, whose head’s up baserunning had gotten him a nice double to start the inning. The funny thing about that ground ball was you would think perhaps they might have thrown the ball home, to stop Duffy, or to first for the easy out of Brosseau, but instead Mariners pitcher Marco Gonzales threw to second to get Kiermaier out. It was just... an odd play.
In the third inning Aguilar grounded out to score Pham, giving the Rays an early 2-0 lead.
That lead wouldn’t last long, which I spoiled in the intro. Sorry about that. Beeks walked former Ray Mallex Smith, which any Rays fans watching last year will know isn’t a great idea given his speed. And as it happened a Santana single was able to score Smith in the bottom of the third.
A Court single in the forth scored Murphy, and in the bottom of the fourth the game was tied.
And tied it stayed.
Gonzales pitched impressively for 6.1 innings, he did give up seven hits but only two runs scored and he struck out nine. He was pitching quickly and effeciently, and his command was on point, making Rays batters swing at stuff that was just goofy looking.
As for Rays relievers, Colin Poche followed Beeks, and while we all known Poche’s strength is his fastball, he did play with some intriguing breaking balls with a mixed degree if efficacy. He only gave up a single hit and a single walk and struck out four, so the results, while occasionally nerve-jangling (I’m looking at you, long Kyle Seager foul ball), he was able to mitigate any potential damage.
Chaz Roe and Nick Anderson each pitched scoreless innings, as did Mariners relievers Gearrin and Magill.
Keon Broxton, pinch running for Daniel Vogelbach and Travis d’Arnaud threw an absolute laser to Willy Adames to catch Broxton stealing second. It was his second amazing caught stealing of the evening, and just a beautiful way to erase the base runner allowed by Oliver Drake. I’ll admit, I would have liked to see Mike Zunino get the nod in this series considering it’s his former club, but I’m never mad d’Arnaud is in a game.
The caught stealing was extra beneficial only a batter later when pinch-hitting Omar Narvaez got a hit, as it would have risked a potential scoring run had Broxton been in position. Drake managed to escape the inning with the score still tied.
Hey, so while we’re waiting for someone to score, how about that new Trader Joe’s Bloody Mary Salsa (not sponsored). That stuff has some kick! I think your enjoyment will be determined by 1. how much you like spice, and 2. if you like horseradish. But I’m into it. Good times.
All right, back to the game.
Well, hello Eric Sogard pinch-hitting for Matt Duffy and getting a base hit! Man I like this dude. Then Kiermaier who started 0-2 in the at bat managed to draw a walk and bump Sogard into scoring position. Brosseau laid down an impeccable bunt to advance the runners, an absolutely textbook move. Willy Adames was intentionally walked to load the bases. Ji-Man Choi came in to pinch hit for d’Arnaud. In spite of Choi’s recent slump, I am VERY AWAKE right now.
Choi worked his way to a full count and BAM, the go-ahead run was walked in. Pham almost worked another hit, but then got an infield hop that was bobbled by Crawford, so it was ruled an error, but Kiermaier scored. Then a fielder’s choice for Meadows scored Adames. Rays now lead 5-2.
Emilio Pagan came on to shut things down in the bottom of the ninth. Pop out. Then an unfortunate home run to Ryan Court (his first major league home run) which what looked like some potential fan interference to me, but I guess I’m not in charge of review plays. Then Pagan got Smith out. One out remaining. A Crawford pop out delivered it.
Rays win. 5-3.