About 3 days ago, the Rays were ontop of the AL East with a commanding lead, and playing some of their best baseball of the season. After two tough losses to the now best team in the AL Chicago White Sox, the Rays traveled further west to face off with the Mariners for a 4 game set in Seattle.
The Rays have been searching and failing to find any kind of positive vibes since Glasnow was diagnosed with a backbreaking injury. The Mariners had to go to their bullpen due to an unfortunate injury, and the Mariners bullpen has been extremely shaky the last few weeks. Seems like the perfect time for the Rays to finally get back into the win column and stop the losing streak at 2.
Instead another brutal loss, on another walkoff, after a blown 9th inning lead by the Rays bullpen gives way to the Mariners bullpen outdueling and beating the Rays for a 3rd straight loss.
Yes I’m writing this entire recap in the moments after the walkoff and I’m bringing some real negative energy rage into the typing!
Rich Hill had an extremely Rich Hill night. 5 strong innings, bendy and curving his way through the Mariners lineup. A bloop single here and sat on curve HR there. For the most part, the wily vet had a crafty lefty night.
Of course with Glasnow now out, the Rays might look to steal an inning here and there when they can. Mr. Mountain with another 5 innings of low pitch count and a 5-2 lead, made him a prime candidate to come back for the 6th and see how far he could get. As it turned out, no further than that.
Hill would give up a walk and a loud HR from Ty France, and then a base hit to end his night. That said, 5 IP, worked quickly, left with the lead, and did the job he’s been asked all season long. I’ve had a lot of fun with each Dick Mountain start, and this one was another solid performance from the ageless southpaw.
Randy is Dandy
Randy Arozarena is the only offensive player I want to note here. Some others got on base, and the Rays did a good job putting folks in motion to get a couple of steals. But really, without Randy the Rays offense would have been cruising for a shutout.
Kinda knew Randy had a good night working when you can get this working in the 1st:
Randy really threw his bat at the ball and got a hit. pic.twitter.com/DmxwRbbr2C— MLB (@MLB) June 18, 2021
Randy also got the Rays on the board with a 2-run HR. After that he got some more battle ball luck on this single to give himself a 3-3 start to the night:
9th Inning Disaster
Pete Fairbanks had no touch, control, command, or finish on any of his pitches. But besides that, everything was great!
Fairbanks started the inning with a 4 pitch walk. Not great in a 1-run game. He followed that up by giving up a base hit to old friend Jake Bauers. After the Mariners gifted him with a popped-up bunt, Fairbanks continued his inability to get pitches by any hitters on the night.
Shed Long Jr did an amazing job reaching out of the zone to make contact on a slider that was very low, to lace a well-hit double down the LF line to tie the game.
After that, Kyle Seager got the call to pinch hit and deliver the walkoff knock:
I was initially confused by why the Rays wouldn’t walk Seager with a base open. But hat tip to Brett Rutherford for reminding me in the Slack that JP Crawford was up next, an impossibly hot hitter who would also be equally impossibly hard to double up. It was a lose-lose scenario entirely of Pete’s making.
Just a terrible end to the night, and a brutal end to a Rays bullpen streak of just near-flawless performances for weeks.
Rays now hang on to an AL East lead by the sheer grace of the Red Sox being off today.
Rays will face the Mariners best pitcher, LHP Yusei Kikuchi, tomorrow night. They will call upon Michael Wacha and the bullpen to try and break the losing skid before it gets into dangerous and Yankees-esc territories.