Welcome back to Troptober everybody!
Shane McClanahan gets the game 1 nod and in his first-inning he strikes out the side (there’s a single in between but who cares!). Dude is filthy.
In the bottom half, it’s Randy to kick us off and he starts where he left off last October: being a postseason god.
Wander Franco doesn’t wait long to make an impact, does he? First postseason at-bat and he rips an RBI double to centerfield (he’s probably gonna lose the RBI due to the Kiké Hernández error which helped Randy score, but for right now I’m counting it damnit!).
Yandy hustle for the 2nd run! Don’t love the slide and if anything it seemed to slow him way down, but still great hustle for the big man!
But heck of a job from Randy to play the hop perfectly get that ball in hold Hunter to a loud single.
Lowe got a couple of plays. Tough hop and a tougher call for the error, but made up for it pulling a Vasilevskiy and using the chest to knock down a ball, and get a huge double play. Threat ended.
Everybody wants to copy the Rays, but ERod was not a good Opener. Pulled after just 1.2 IP and not letting him face the Rays lineup a 2nd time.
When it's unintentional we should call it the alternator to fix what they thought was a bad starter. https://t.co/50zFrtMau1— Jamal Wilburg (@JWilburg) October 8, 2021
Shane McClanahan much sharper and put the Red Sox down in order. When he’s on, he’s so dang sharp.
NELSON CRUZ punishing the architecture! Monster dong off the C-ring! 3-0 RAYS!
This ball never would’ve landed in an outdoor stadium pic.twitter.com/mn7NxeVzGU— Andrea (@scoutgirlreport) October 8, 2021
Nelson Cruz homers at the Trop, 11 years and one day after his first career postseason home run . . . also at the Trop . . . against then-Rays ace David Price . . . in ALDS Game 1. @MLBNetwork @RaysBaseball @RaysRadio— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) October 8, 2021
And before I see any chowder heads getting upset: Boston advanced literally thanks to a 100 year old gimmick wall
if you like the green monster you can't dislike the catwalks— Jeff Sullivan (@based_ball) October 8, 2021
Devers fights one off for a single and then there's...oh no...not him! Anybody but him!
After a few stressful foul balls, Shane gets Hunter Renfroe to mercifully pop out to Luplow at 1st. I don’t think I’ve ever been more tense in a 4th inning at bat in my life.
McClanahan is not getting a lot of swings and misses by the Sox this inning. Lots of fouls, timing is getting better, and they are making him really work.
Bobby Dalbec has one of the worst batting averages against pitches 97 MPH or greater. He just cannot hit them. Well, after a mound visit, Shane got the right game plan and he’s thrown nothing but fastballs. Spiked a curve. Back to the high heat, and Bobby does make solid contact but right on a line to Yandy. Out number 3.
Zunino gets a single which is basically impossible, and I’m gonna have to check with the rules committee if that’s allowed.
KK immediately hits into a double play to end the inning.
Shane still in. Bit surprising, but he’s gutting it out so far. Fly ball to the warning track, then a single, and then a pop-up in the infield to 1st. He’s definitely not looking as sharp, but with Schwarber up, probably has one last hitter to maybe get through 5 scoreless.
And he DOES! Schwarber rolls over weakly and McClanahan is through 5 scoreless innings in his postseason starting debut.
Sugar Shane gets out of it in the 5th. That may be all for him. Great start!! pic.twitter.com/45gzIFGHEP— Mike Cairns (@MikeCairns5) October 8, 2021
PLAYOFF RANDY IS BACK!
PLAYOFF RANDY HAS ANNOUNCED HIS RETURNpic.twitter.com/6jhBvXsa1R— Rays The Roof (@RaysTheRoofTB) October 8, 2021
Rays fans love Randy Arozarena
JT Chargois is the first man in from the Stable. Rays also bring in Wendle at 3rd and shift Yandy to 1st replacing Luplow. It’s shifted to late-inning lead protection/added defense mode.
Chargois sham-wows the Red Sox with another goose egg. Single from Bogaerts, but lazy fly ball from Devers and a textbook double play grounder from HUNTAH RENFROE to get the 2nd and 3rd outs!
It took until the bottom of the 6th inning, but the Rays finally went down in order. Yandy did smoke a line drive, but it went right at...oh COME ON Hunter Renfore?!
David Robertson is in, and he’s got some experience pitching in the postseaon and pitching against the Red Sox. He certainly didn’t look all that stressed. 3 up 3 down. Although Bobby Dalbec did get some good contact that sent Margot to the RF wall. Still, he broke off some sexy cutters and got it done in short order.
Moving to the bottom half, and Margot did make the trickiest catch so some snacks are in order. Popcorn is a...strange choice but you do you Manny!
Sooooo savage just casually eating popcorn while playing a postseason game— Jamal Wilburg (@JWilburg) October 8, 2021
Randy got a 3-1 heater above the zone and he almost Bugs Bunny’d himself into the dirt he swung so hard! But then, calm as can be, just takes ball 4 on the next pitch. Playoff Arozarena is unreal.
Wander Franco with ANOTHER big double after the Randy walk. I’m thinking this kid is good at the sport of baseball.
RANDY AROZARENA STRAIGHT STEAL OF HOME! Oh my god! The October legend grows!
So many annoying things are happening in this inning. A perfect pop up out from Xander induced from Feyereisen and Kevin Kiermaier blows it. A huge can of corn pop-up in a crucial spot and he completely lost the ball. Unreal, and unacceptable.
Big moment with bases loaded and Rafael Devers up, and Cash is leaving Feyeisen in the game. Bold and interesting choice.
Massive K against Devers swinging. Up next is...oh COME ON! Hutner Renfroe AGAIN?!?
FEYEREISEN DID IT! He got Hunter Renfroe to pop out to Yandy Diaz (who does know how to catch a pop-up) and escape the jam! What an inning and what a gutsy performance from JP!
JP Feyereisen, Elevated 92mph Fastball. pic.twitter.com/GN5o17XSZK— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) October 8, 2021
SIDE NOTE: throughout the night, BJ Upton started tweeting (or somebody from Upton’s twitter account) after months of silence. And it was odd but kinda fun.
Stu needs to sell— BJ Upton (@MelvinUptonJr) October 8, 2021
Y’all wanna start a petition…I’m down, we worked too hard to build this and he wants to walk out on a city— BJ Upton (@MelvinUptonJr) October 8, 2021
Y’all tell me what y’all wanna do, I’m down— BJ Upton (@MelvinUptonJr) October 8, 2021
Inbetween though game recognized game:
Randy is a savage— BJ Upton (@MelvinUptonJr) October 8, 2021
JP Feyereisen came back out for the 9th and did what he did in the 8th: dealt straight fire with movement.
He came in and got 6 outs (one could argue 8 outs) and absolutely shut the door.
No Pete Fairbanks, no Collin McHugh, no Andrew Kittridge needed. Bullpen very much not in shambles.
That was fun. Let’s do it 10 more times!