Let’s face it, no one drew up this year with the idea that Matt Wisler, a journeyman reliever who joined the Rays in a forgettable transaction this season, would be closing out a 1 run game in an August battle for first place.
But it worked, and indeed, Wisler has been a welcome addition to the Rays injury-ridden bullpen.
In a key at-bat last night, Wisler found himself in the highest of high leverage situations: it was the ninth inning, there were Boston runners at the corners, and JD Martinez, a very talented hitter was at the plate.
Let’s break down that at-bat, which, spoiler alert, ended in an out. Wisler started out by falling behind:
Let's review one the biggest moment of last night.— Homin Lee (@Homein22) August 2, 2021
TOP 9th, 2 out, runner on 1st and 3rd. just 1-run lead and Wisler vs JDM.
The start didn't go as Wisler planned. He wanted to throw low-out strike. But, that is lower than supposed to be. JDM let it go two times #Rays (1/6) pic.twitter.com/fhyJmkKB9K
But even a long foul is ultimately a strike:
2-0, Then, Zunino set the same target(or just little higher). Wisler's pitch hit the target and JDM hit foul. Wisler's slider was sharp enough. (2/6) pic.twitter.com/oqkse5Er8i— Homin Lee (@Homein22) August 2, 2021
2-1, Zunno set the same target again(!), but Wisler didn't throw a same pitch. He added a spin and horizontal movement. But, maybe it seemed too much. It was a ball and JDM, a veteran hitter, let is go again. (3/6) pic.twitter.com/ZT2vXAvVE5— Homin Lee (@Homein22) August 2, 2021
Unfortunately for the Rays, JD Martinez is not enticed to swing out of the zone. Or will he?
3-1, Zunoni set the same target again(!), And Wisler added a movement. That was the sharpest pitch at this AB. Actually, it was a ball, but I think it was enough pitch for JDM to think it's a strike because it stayed enough at the zone at the hitters eye (4/6) pic.twitter.com/bJY6UgauWY— Homin Lee (@Homein22) August 2, 2021
On the last pitch, Martinez thought he needed to swing — and Wisler got the weak contact he needed to end the game:
3-2, Zunino set the same target again(!), And Wisler throw a similar ball with 0-0 and 1-0 count. At this time, JDM wasn't comfortable enough to let it go again. He had to extent the zone to avoid looking K. Yeah. there was a weak contact and a hug of winner. (5/6) pic.twitter.com/0ojwphNXI9— Homin Lee (@Homein22) August 2, 2021
Wisler’s slider vs. JD Martinez is really strength vs strength, but Wisler got the upper hand in the end:
Zunino set the same targets six times.— Homin Lee (@Homein22) August 2, 2021
It's a JDM's chart vs RHP slider. A middle-out slider is dangerous and lower one would be good. JDM is a big and his toe is heading into the plate. So, he is good at out SL. But, Wisler's slider was just so good. What a battle! #Rays (6/6) pic.twitter.com/nWS52qnqEM