Coming off a wildly successful road trip, the Rays dropped the first of a three game set to the “historically bad” Tigers by a score of 2-0. Three Tiger pitchers and one umpire combined for the shutout.
More on that bad call in a minute. First, let’s get to the good stuff. Charlie Morton brought his A-game, striking out the side in the first and ten overall in seven innings of work. He allowed just three hits and walked no one.
His curve was especially sharp. Just ask Miggy Cabrera.
Strike 1 for flinching! #RaysUp pic.twitter.com/IywO4GNnb5— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) August 16, 2019
The Tigers got the only run they would need in fourth, and it was of the unearned variety. An error by Duffy started the inning, and a double off the wall in right — smartly played by Heredia — put runners on second and third. A passed ball on yet another cross up scored the run.
The only other run came off new arrival Peter Fairbanks, who was a little too in love with his slider tonight. Back-to-back doubles by Demeritte and Mercer led to the final tally. Oliver Drake also pitched, striking out the side in the ninth.
Now for the offense. Or lack thereof.
The Rays managed one real rally against each of the three Tiger pitchers. Against Daniel Norris in the second, an Aguilar leadoff walk preceded and single to left from Duffy. But Brosseau, Kiermaier, and Heredia went down without much fight.
Drew VerHagen came on to start the fourth for the Tigers, and the Rays got a couple mins rallies against him. Twice they had a rally cut down by a double play, and once by a caught stealing. The only real scoring chance against VerHagan came in the seventh, when Eric Sogard doubled with two outs. But a rough at bat from Kevin Kiermaier ended the threat.
In the ninth, the Tigers sent out Joe Jimenez, who got two quick outs, But a pinch hit walk from Choi and a lob wedge single to center from Duffy brought the winning run to plate in the person of Eric Sogard. Nerd Power worked a full count, then took ball four up and away. Except it wasn’t called ball four.
It’s tough to blame the loss on this one call. But I’m going to. That was an impossibly bad call. Robot umps please!
The Rays will try to wash the bad taste out of their mouths tomorrow at 6:10 PM.