Man what an awesome off day yesterday. I’m still basking in the Rays’ series win over the New York Yankees on Sunday Night, and are now welcoming their Florida sea-life brethren Florida Marlins to the trop for a 3 game series.
Prior to today’s game, the Rays & Marlins made some roster moves. The Marlins optioned RHP Robert Duggar to the alternate training site, and activated Rays’ legend and opener: Ryne Stanek.
The Rays activated newly acquired OF Brett Phillips & RHP Nick Anderson.
#Rays Phillips: "My excitement cannot be measured right now."— Juan Toribio (@juanctoribio) September 4, 2020
To make moves, the Rays then optioned RHP Ryan Sherriff to the alternate training site, and placed LHP Jose Alvarado on the 45 Day IL, likely ending his season.
Kevin Cash was also officially back, after serving his one game suspension on Sunday Night.
. @RaysBaseball Manager Kevin Cash is back after his one game suspension. @TriciaWhitaker has more on where he watched the game and what he thought of the Rays playing so well.— FOX Sports Sun: Rays (@FOXSportsRays) September 4, 2020
Watch the Rays on FOX Sports Sun & FOX Sports Go: https://t.co/JgxCJdrdkE#RaysUp pic.twitter.com/wHMp2DR8Sk
Is Josh Fleming officially a part of the rotation? This is is third start, and although began the 1st inning with 1-0 and 2-0 counts, was able to coerce 3 ground balls to get out of the inning.
Rays got their first baserunner in the bottom of the 1st with a Joey Wendle infield single, but came out scoreless as Austin Meadows struck out swinging to end the inning.
The Rays got on the board in the bottom of the 2nd inning, with a 406 ft Yoshi Tsutsugo solo HR.
Impressive shot, as it came off his bat at 103.7 mph with a 32 degree launch angle.
Marlins answered at the top of the 3rd inning with a ex-Ray Corey Dickerson taking a Josh Fleming cutter the opposite way for a HR to tie the game at 1.
Tie game wouldn’t last long as the Florida
ex-Rays Marlins took the lead off a Jesus Aguilar HR. Earlier in the game, Aguilar struck out swinging on a Josh Fleming cutter, and when Fleming tried to do it again, Aguilar was ready for it and crushed the HR.
Fleming worked out of the inning with a strikeout of Brian Anderson to keep the Rays’ within striking distance.
At the bottom of the 4th inning, the Rays’ quickly answered on a Joey Wendle single. With Meadows at the plate, Joey Wendle executed the most impressive and ordinary slide I’ve ever seen.
Joey Wendle has been one of my favorite players ever since he suggested to Jackie Robinson everybody wears No. 42 so no one could tell the players apart pic.twitter.com/UDS4cVfVDW— Danny Russell (@d_russ) September 4, 2020
He absolutely stuck that landing to the base.
Meadows drew a walk and then Yoshi Tsutsugo singled to load the bases with only 1 out, and bringing Manuel Margot up. Margot hit a soft liner to second baseman John Berti for the 2nd out, but the bases remained loaded.
Next batter would be Kevin Kiermaier, who worked a 7 pitch walk to even the score at 2-2.
With the bases still loaded, Mikey Perez came up clutch (again!) with a bases clearing double.
Quick piece of trivia:
Mikey Perez: 53 PA, .167/.226/.229, .209 wOBA, 28 wRC+
Mike Zunino: 68 PA, .133/.235/.383, .267 wOBA, 68 wRC+
Always feels like Mikey Perez has been hitting better, but its probably because he comes up in clutch moments like above.
Rays lead 5-2.
Miami responded in the very next inning. Josh Fleming got Miguel Rojas and Corey Dickerson out, but then gave up back to back singles to Jorge Alfaro & Lewis Brinson, to put two runners on with two outs and Jon Berti at the plate.
Berti hit Flemings’ first pitch sinker 103 MPH to center field, right out of reach of Kiermaier, who didn’t even look like had a chance of getting to the ball. A nice recovery by KK to keep the speedy Berti to a double, but Brinson and Alfaro scored to make it 5-4 Marlins.
Josh Fleming stayed in to get out of the inning, but the damage was already done. That would be his night, with his final line: 5.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 2 K, 0 BB.
In the bottom of the 5th inning, the Rays had another rally by loading the bases again, but Manuel Margot struck out looking on a close pitch to end the rally and keep the Rays lead at 1.
The Stable took over for Josh Fleming starting in the 6th inning, with Ryan Thompson , Peter Fairbanks, and Diego Castillo shutting the Miami Marlins’ bats down for a combined line of:
3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 5 K, & 1 BB
Most impressive appearance out of the stable (up to this point) was Thompson who struck out the side on only 15 pitches.
Brett Phillips Sighting
In the bottom of the 8th inning, after James Hoyt walked Yoshi Tsutsugo (2-2, HR, 2 BB) we saw our first Brett Phillips sighting (not the DRaysBay writer, he was still at the store) , as he pinch ran for Tsutsugo. Phillips immediately made his presence known by being a big distraction to Hoyt, causing Hoyt to throw the ball away on a pickoff attempt, and allow Phillips to advance to second base.
Hoyt ended up walking Margot on 4 pitches, and with two speedy runners on the base paths, only 1 out, and a tight lead, the Rays’ called for a double steal.
Kiermaier ended up striking out, and Big Game Mikey Perez got a bit under the ball to fly out and end the Rays’ threat.
Finally Some Drama
With a 1 run lead going into the 9th inning, the Rays went to newly-activated Nick Anderson for the save, but not without some drama.
Although Nick Anderson rehabbed on Wednesday, he still looked a little rusty, walking leadoff batter Miguel Rojas, who was lifted for Jazz Chisholm. Anderson got Corey Dickerson to hit a perfectly placed double play ground ball to Willy Adames, but Adames couldn’t get a grip on the ball and both runners ended up being safe with no outs.
Rough night for Willy, 0-4 with 4Ks, and now an error.
Jorge Alfaro grounded to third baseman Joey Wendle, who was able to get the leadoff runner, but that would be it as he didn’t make it to 2nd in time.
Still have runners on first and second, but with at least 1 out.
Ex-Marlin Nick Anderson then got ex-ray Matt Joyce to pop out in the infield and now we got 2 outs.
Anderson got ahead of Jon Berti 0-2 with two luckily misplaced fastballs, however the fastballs continued to be misplaced, and now we have a 3-2 count with 2 outs, runners on 1st and 2nd with a batter in Jon Berti who already had 1 big hit today.
Rays get a well timed, lucky break from home plate umpire Marty Foster, as Nick Anderson strikes out Jon Berti to end the game.
Looks like Marty Foster finally decided to make up that Zobrist call pic.twitter.com/r0VRl9QlNA— DRaysBay (@draysbay) September 5, 2020
FINAL: Marlins 4, Rays 6
Rays move to 27-12 (21-4 in their last 25) and, move to 5 games ahead of the 2nd place team.
Tomorrow, Blake Snell is on the bump opposite Sandy Alacantra. Game time is at 6:40 PM.