The Tampa Bay Rays are looking for some more California love as they face the Los Angeles Angels for the second game of their four-game-series. Shane McClanahan (0-0, 4.50 ERA) has the start for the Rays going up against Alex Cobb (1-1, 7.16 ERA). Making it more interesting, McClanahan was the compensation pick the Rays received when Cobb departed Tampa to sign with the Orioles in 2018.
On Star Wars Day, the Rays hope the force is with them.
Cobb was off to a good start to begin the game getting two outs from the first two batters with a Randy Arozarena strikeout and Austin Meadows line out to center. A new hope for the Rays came when Manuel Margot reached first on a fielding error by Jose Iglesias. On the very next pitch, Brandon Lowe hit to second baseman David Fletcher couldn’t handle the ball. Margot took full advantage of the consecutive mistakes to somehow score on what should have been ended the inning. The reality of this inning was determined by the level of focus of both teams. A Yandy Diaz groundout would finally close the inning.
Fletcher would attempt to redeem his defensive mistake with a leadoff single and advance to second on a wild pitch. A Mike Trout walk gave the Angels two baserunners with one out but that would be the extent of their offense as a Jared Walsh strikeout and Iglesias groundout would closeout an interesting first inning with the Rays leading 1-0.
The top of the second almost felt like a clone of the first with Cobb getting the first two batters out and then baserunners getting on for the Rays. Kevin Kiermaier was walked by Cobb and then stole second. Willy Adames was walked on four pitches making it feel like there may be more runs coming. Cobb would then strikeout the next four Rays batters he faced to get out of the second and third innings.
McClanahan continued to be impressive retiring the side in both the second and third innings to complete a streak of eight straight Angels batters. He left some hitters mesmerized without having to do the Jedi magic hand thing.
The fourth inning was a rogue one for Cobb’s command. Yandy Diaz led off for the Rays and walked in five pitches. Joey Wendle came to the plate and also walked in five pitches giving the Rays the gift of a runner in scoring position and prompting a visit to the mound. Clearly the plan was to throw sinkers down and away to Mike Zunino as Cobb threw three in a row to get him to ground into a double play, advancing Diaz to third.
A Kevin Kiermaier walk and stolen base would not be enough as Adames struck out to end the half-inning with the Rays somehow still only leading by a single run.
McClanahan extended his consecutive batters retired streak to 10 with strikeouts to Mike Trout and Jared Walsh (on a foul tip). Iglesias would get on with a double and he would walk Justin Upton to give the Angels some baserunners. After a mound visit, McClanahan was able to close out the inning and his outing on a Pujols out to right field.
Luis Patiño takes over for the Rays in the fifth, so that's it for Shane McClanahan tonight.— Adam Berry (@adamdberry) May 5, 2021
Impressive stuff again from McClanahan: 4 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 5 K; 63 pitches, 44 strikes, 10 swinging strikes. Five fastballs topped 100 mph, and his slider was nasty. pic.twitter.com/kapmNFkRLH
Some would say there is no such thing as luck but the Rays sure got some breaks in this game. In the top of the fifth inning Arozarena singles to left to get on base to lead off the inning. Then while stealing second he advances to third thanks to a throwing error from Angels catcher Max Stassi. All of this paved the way for an Austin Meadows ground out that would score Arozarena to give the Rays a 2-0 lead.
Luis Patino came in to replace McClanahan in the bottom of the fifth. He only needed 12 pitches for an effective 1-2-3 inning and maintain the lead.
Steve Cishek came in to replace Alex Cobb in the top of the sixth and the Rays were ready. Cobb finished with 5 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 5 BB, and 8 K. A respectable start that wasn’t backed up defensively.
The inning opened with singles to Diaz and Wendle which must have caused a lack of faith in the pitcher. After a mound visit, he faced Yoshi Tsutsugo who was in for Mike Zunino likely to try to get something positive to happen for the Rays with runners in scoring position. Tsutsugo would strikeout swinging and that would be the end of Cishek’s appearance. Alex Claudio came in to replace Cishek but that would not make things better for the Angels.
Kiermaier would be the first batter for Claudio to face and he worked a nine-pitch at-bat that ended with a two-run double on a grounder through the right side of the infield to extend the Rays lead to 4-0.
Kiermaier really hit the crap out that one pic.twitter.com/DW6SjJL7wo— Jason Collette (@jasoncollette) May 5, 2021
Also, Justin Upton was replaced by Jose Rojas in left field due to an injured left knee.
Francisco Mejia was in to replace Tsutsugo and to catch for the Rays in the bottom of the 6th. Another good inning by Patino with the lone exception of Mike Trout proving there is always a bigger fish. Trout hit a solo home run (EV 109.6, 383 ft) over the outer rim of left field. It doesn’t matter how many outfielders you have if the ball leaves the park. Rays still held a 4-1 lead after six.
Ben Rowen came in to replace Alex Claudio in the top of the seventh inning. He had a front-row seat to see the force awaken in Austin Meadows bat as he gave up a solo homer to lead off the seventh and then a three-run homer in the top of the 8th. Through the top-half of the eighth inning the Rays have an 8-1 lead thanks to five RBIs from Meadows.
Cody Reed came in to pitch for the Rays in the bottom of the eighth and gave up a single to Fletcher and walk to Shohei Ohtani for his first two batters faces. They would both ultimately score on an Iglesias single to make it an 8-3 game headed into the ninth after Iglesias is thrown out at second.
The Rays once again runners on first and second with two outs in the ninth, though, them getting stranded on a Brett Phillips ground out is not consequential.
Hunter Strickland took the mound and retired the Angels in order in the bottom of the ninth to seal the Rays win 8-3 over the Angels.
The Rays were the beneficiary of some defensive errors from the Angels and both teams had to contend with a strike zone that makes you wonder if the umpire’s eyes were deceiving him as they couldn’t be trusted.
The two teams are back at it again tomorrow night at 9:38pm as the Rays look to extend their winning streak to four and win the series. Andrew Kittredge will be the Opener for the Rays and Shohei Ohtani will start for the Angels.