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Rays 3, Blue Jays 5: Randy Wasn’t Enough

Randy Arozarena’s heroics were overshadowed by a rough start to the game for the Rays

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Rays begin a three-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays and the start of seventeen straight games without an off day. Tyler Glasnow (2-0, 0.73 ERA) will take the mound for the Rays against Steven Matz (3-0, 1.47 ERA) for the Blue Jays.

The Rays bullpen is already working without Pete Fairbanks and Nick Anderson. They will now be short Diego Castillo as well as he is recovering from the effects of his COVID-19 vaccine. Louis Head was called up, on his 31st birthday, in place of Diego on the roster hoping to make his Major League debut.

Glasnow gets off to a good start striking out Cavan Biggio and Bo Bichette. Then things escalated quickly for Glasnow. The problems started with a Vladimir Guerrero Jr. single to center to give Toronto their first baserunner of the game. Rowdy Tellez would make great contact on a fastball for a RBI-double.

After walking Randal Grichuk on four pitches Rays pitching coach Kyle Snyder makes a mound visit to try to calm Glasnow’s nerves. Whatever was said certainly did not help. Marcus Semien came to the plate and hit a big blast three-run home run.

The hits kept coming for the Blue Jays as Joe Panik was able to make first safely after Mike Brosseau is unable to come up with a ball in the field. Glasnow gets his third strikeout of the inning as Lourdes Gurriel Jr. chases a wild pitch and is able to make it safely to first to keep this weird inning going. Thankfully, Glasnow gets a called strike three on Danny Jansen to close out an inning that started with two outs on nine pitches and ended with four strikeouts and four runs scored. This is not the type of record book inning the Rays would prefer.

Yandy Diaz led off for the Rays in the bottom of the first and this time Panik is on the wrong end of a ball that misses a glove allowing a single. Perhaps the Rays can tally up some quick runs and keep this game competitive. After an Arozarena strikeout, Austin Meadows hits a line drive single to left but after some overzealous baserunning Diaz gets him thrown out at home. After a Brosseau flyout the first inning ends with the Blue Jays leading 4-0.

The top of the lineup is back for the second inning for the Blue Jays but Glasnow gets some of his groove back. Only allowing Guerrero Jr. on base with a walk. He only needed five pitches to retire the side in order in the third.

The Rays offense was retired in order in the bottom of the second including two strikeouts and strand two baserunners in the third as Matz is having an effective outing for Toronto and the Blue Jays maintain their four-run lead through three innings.

If not for the first inning, this would be another impressive start by Glasnow as he efficiently uses 11 pitches to get through the top of the fourth inning including two strikeouts.

The Rays try to generate some offense in the bottom of the fourth starting with a Brosseau fly ball (101.8 EV, .530 xBA) gets snagged by Gurriel Jr. at the wall. This would become the trend of this half inning.

Joey Wendle and Mejia reach safely on back-to-back errors by Bichette and Panik respectfully giving the Rays runners on second and third. You would think a Willy Adames with a xBA of .980 should score at least one runner right? Unfortunately for the attempted rally, Grichuk comes up with the ball stranding both runners.

Still 4-0 Blue Jays after four.

If the Rays are going to have any chance at coming back to at least make this game competitive they will need someone to light a spark. Randy Arozarena may not always be there when you call but he’s always on-time to infuse some energy with a spectacular play. A Tellez fly ball to left seems to leave every Rays defender in the outfield confused on the location of the ball except for a Arozarena, who makes fabulous diving grab from out of nowhere to close out the inning.

In the bottom of the fifth, Kiermaier led off with a single and Diaz followed with a double. Toronto must not have learned from the Rays and decided to make a visit to the mound before Arozarena came to the plate.

Again, whatever was said certainly did not work.

Randy lit the spark with his glove and tried to light the fire with his bat belting three-run homerun (109.5 EV, 445 feet) in the bottom of the fifth. I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen each team follow a mound visit by giving up a three-run homer in a game. Don’t call it a comeback.

Seriously, do not refer to this as a comeback. Manuel Margot reached safely after yet another throwing error from Bo Bichette. That baserunner would be wasted when Wendle grounds out to third.

Blue Jays lead is trimmed to 4-3, for now.

The one-run game would be short-lived as Grichuk crushes (107.8 EV, 443 feet) a Glasnow fastball for a home run to lead off the top of the sixth to extend the Blue Jays lead to two. Glasnow’s day would end after the sixth with 6 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 2 BB and 10 K. His efficiency after the first inning at least helped preserve the depleted bullpen from coming in early.

Tyler Chatwood replaced Matz in the bottom of the fifth. Matz had an impressive outing with 5 IP, 3 ER, 5 H, 7 K, 2 BB. Not included in his stat line is the absence of competent defense supporting him. Three of the Rays four at-bats against Chatman extend to at least six pitches but only Adames would make it on base with a walk. No runs scored and the two-run deficit continues.

A Semien single in the top of the ninth would be the only baserunner for either team in the remainder of the game as the Blue Jays win 5-3 over the Rays.

Ultimately, the difference in this game was the Blue Jays took advantage of Glasnow being out of rhythm to start the game and the Rays couldn’t capitalize on Toronto errors. Arozarena is a great spark plug but the team needs more fuel to come from behind to win. There is always tomorrow.

The two teams are back at it tomorrow at 6:10pm.