If you were mercifully spared from watching this game, count your blessings. If you couldn’t watch because you had to work, be thankful for those work responsibilities. If you couldn’t watch because you needed to mind your small children, kiss those children and thank them.
Skip this recap. Forget this game. Pretend it was rained out and will need to be made up....some day.
But if you watched it, or saw the score and want to understand what happened, keep reading.
In short, the Rays pitching was terrible. Yes, the Nats got lucky - lots of balls dropped in that could have been outs. But lucky was maybe one-third of those runs.
The three Nationals home runs were not lucky. Trea Turner hitting for the cycle was not lucky. Really, none of the Rays pitchers avoided giving up hard contact today. I think there was one clean inning (Rasmussen’s second).
Funny, the game started out with such promise!
Facing Jon Lester, Manuel Margot opened with a single, stole second, moved to third on a errant throw, and - hallelujah! scored on that rare bird in Raysland, the sac fly. 1-0. And just as we had settled into thinking we had a good game of small ball, up came Yandy Diaz and actually pulled a ball, with power, for a solo home run. 2-0
In the bottom of the first, Drew Rasmussen did the impossible — he struck out leadoff hitter Kyle Schwarber. But a single to Trea Turner and a walk to Juan Soto put two runners on base, who were quickly in scoring position after a double steal. Their aggressiveness paid off when a single brought home both runners and tied the game.
In the second inning, Mike Brosseau got a 2 out single. Next up was pitcher Drew Rasmussen, who was being used as an opener. It was surprising to see them keep him in to hit, but because baseball is a funny sport he actually got a hit! And not a cheapy either, it clocked in at 104.8 mph. Margot then walked to load the bases for Randy Arozarena, but unfortunately Randy could not meet Rasmussen’s high standards of hitting and he left them loaded. But the Rays broke the tie the very next inning. Wander Franco singled and Mike Zunino came through with a patented no-doubt home run to go up 4-2.
But that lead quickly evaporated as well. Although we had been told that Rasmussen was opening for Wacha, in the bottom of the third it was Ryan Sherriff, recently called up to replace Ryan Thompson, who was on the mound. He hit Schwarber and gave up a double to Turner to put runners on second and third. He got Soto to hit a weak grounder, but one perfectly placed to get through the infield to drive in Schwarber for a 4-3 score. He gave up another RBI hit, Kittredge was brought in, and a few hits later it was 6-4 Nats.
The Rays did get one back in the fourth inning, as Arozarena drove in Brosseau with a double. And finally in the bottom of the inning we saw bulk guy Wacha, but why we got treated to “Ryan Sherriff takes on the meat of the Nats order” I don’t know.
And it’s not as though Wacha kept the game in reach either — seven hits, two walks, five runs in three innings. I lost count when we got to double digits. Pete Fairbanks couldn’t get anyone out; the Rays were forced to bring in Diego Castillo just to end that infernal eighth inning or we’d still be watching the Nationals hit. Maybe Sherriff was the better choice after all.
And because I’m grumpy, here’s a question: how is it that we have the silly “ghost runner on second” rule in extra innings to speed up games, but no rule preventing game delaying mound visits and pitching changes when a team has a ten run lead? For goodness sake, Davy, just let you guy finish the game.
Look, the Rays are facing a tough stretch. So many of their pitchers are on the IL I have pretty much forgotten who is left to pitch. But even with the injuries, there have been few games as pathetic as this one. It’s been difficult watching the team lose a lot of close games. Well, it turns out that watching a blow out is not much fun either. Sometimes teams need to go through a crushing loss before turning things around. Hopefully this was that loss.
Let’s hope that Luis Patiño can get the Toronto/Buffalo series off to a better start.