Why are West Coast games so late? Is this the devil’s bargain Californians have struck in order to have beautiful buttery sunshine and year-long good weather? That no one can function on West Coast time?
By the time I post this, all sensible Rays fans will be in bed, unless you watched the game, in which case you don’t need the recap. So I’ll keep this brief for those of you catching up on last night’s happenings with your morning coffee. The game was fine. For an Ohtani start it was fairly lackluster from the Angels side of things (perhaps because Ohtani did not bat), but let’s hit all the high points.
Ohtani opened the game with a walk to Lowe and the first thing that became apparent was how... enthusiastic this Angels crowd was about close-calls on the edge of the zone. This would also be the first of many walks issued over the course of this game. Diaz grounded into a fielder’s choice that eliminated Lowe, but then Ohtani walked Wendle, but the Rays did not capitalize on their baserunners.
In the bottom of the first, Opener Andrew Kittredge had a clean one-two-three inning. In the top of the second the only blip for Ohtani was a single to Phillips, but no runs scored.
In the second, Kittredge was a lot less clean as he gave up an infield single to Iglesias, who then advanced to second on a pickoff error form Kittredge. He also gave up a walk to Lagares, but again, no runs scored.
Since it wouldn’t be an inning in this game without a walk, Ohtani walked Diaz, but was still able to get the side out. In the bottom of the third things were, shall we say, difficult for Ryan Yarbrough. A Rojas double opened the inning, Then Fletcher reached on a bunt single, which should have been an out, but apparently we don’t know how to tag bases. Ward bunted but it went back to Yarbrough for the out, and Trout was then walked intentionally to load the bases. Then Walsh walked, not intentionally, and scored the first run of the game. Luckily for Yarbrough that was the only real damage done in a tense inning.
In the fourth, another walk, this one to Tsutsugo, who then advanced to second on a wild pitch, but no runs scored. In the bottom of the inning Suzuki reached on a hit by pitch, but the Angels were equally unable to capitalize on their baserunner.
Top of the fifth went one-two-three, and in the bottom Yarbrough hit his second batter of the night, Mike Trout. Jawing from the local crowd and the previous hit batter certainly made it into a bigger deal than it likely was, and you could even see when the inning ended that Yarbrough lingered outside the visitor dugout hoping to catch Trout’s eye for an apology nod, but didn’t get his chance.
The top of the sixth saw, you guessed it, more walks. Back-to-back walks issued to Diaz and Wendle, which spelled the end of the night for Ohtani. Rodriguez came on in relief and hit Mejia (again, none of these HPBs appeared even remotely intentional, there were just a lot of them in one game). Yoshi grounded out to end the inning.
Yarbrough, having evened out, had a one-two-three bottom of the sixth.
in the top of the seventh the Rays finally had their moment. Phillips walked, followed by a Willy Adames single, then Brandon Lowe homered to score three runs. Wendle then walked, and was able to steal second, but a Kiermaier out finished off the inning.
Late night lumber for Lowe pic.twitter.com/XyBrXqYvbJ— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) May 6, 2021
The bottom of the seventh saw Yarbrough give up a single to Rojas, who was quickly eliminated by a fielder’s choice to third base. Thompson came on in relief and collected the final two outs of the inning.
Side note, but could we please stop having hot mics near the drunkest and loudest dude in the park?
In the top of the eighth Tsutsugo doubled, but no more runs scored. In the bottom of the inning, Thompson gave up a single to Walsh, and the Rays hit yet another Angels batter, this time it was Iglesias. There was almost a pretty dire overthrow past second, but none of the runners were able to advance. Hey fun, a double play! And a pitching change! Jeffrey Springs came on in relief to get the final out of the inning.
Very much prefer adorable kid voices yelling “Kurt Suzuki!” so I hope this is the audio feed for the rest of the game.
Lowe bunted unsuccessfully to kick off the ninth. The next two batters (a pinch-hitting Margot and then Diaz) went in quick succession but I was very distracted by hearing what the hecklers were jeering about.
Springs returned in the bottom of the ninth to finish things off and quickly made short order of the remaining Angels. The return of Pete Fairbanks will have to wait another day.
Total Walks Issued: 11 (Angels 8, Rays 3)
Total Hit By Pitch: 4 (3 Angels; 1 Rays)
Final: Rays 3, Angels 1