The Rays completed a three game sweep of the Mets today, with a no-doubt 7-1 win.
This game at first had the makings of a pitchers duel between two quick-working, pitch-to-contact throwers.
The teams traded zeros for three innings as Stroman and Fleming scattered a few hits. But the Rays batters caught up to Stroman in the fourth inning.
Ji-Man Choi, who celebrated his return to the lineup with a three-hit day, singled and was driven in on Manuel Margot’s two-run homer. Rays up, 2-0.
The Rays doubled that lead in the fifth inning. Francisco Mejia, also just returned from the IL, was hit by a pitch. This time it was Willy Adames whose two-run homer put a crooked number on the board. Rays up, 4-0.
Diego Castillo, who replaced Fleming in the sixth inning (more on Josh Fleming below), gave up a solo homerun, but Brandon Lowe got that run back with his own solo shot in the bottom half of that inning.
Two more insurance runs came home in the eight inning, with Meadows, Choi, and Margot all getting hits.
Josh Fleming was outstanding. He pitched five innings of one-hit, shut out baseball. He’s not a big strikeout guy, but five strikeouts in five innings is pretty good, especially when that is accompanied by no walks. I have gotten used to Kevin Cash’s commitment to twice through the order for pitchers not named Glasnow, but I was still surprised when Fleming left having thrown just 53 pitches. I realize, however, that we may appreciate those decisions in September, when Fleming still has a few innings left in his arm. Besides, Castillo, Thompson, McHugh and Reed managed to keep the Mets mostly off the board.
A few other random observations.
- If you like a quick game, today was your day. A 2.5 hour game that still included eight runs. More of these please!
- Kevin Cash has seemed to be sticking with somewhat more traditional bullpen roles this year — pre-IL stint, Diego Castillo had been used like a traditional closer for example. But today we saw Diego in the sixth inning, however.
The Rays enjoy a day off tomorrow, before they start a road trip that will take them to Baltimore and then...Dunedin!