Today was primed to be an exciting one, with the much-anticipated return of Chris Archer. Archer, just coming back from a lengthy stint on the injured list, was not anticipated to go deep into the game, but didn’t have a firm pitch count, either. Sadly, his first day back on the mound ended in two innings as some hip tightness sent him back to the bench in an abundance of caution.
Archer wasn’t the only player to exit the game earlier, as Ji-Man Choi was pulled from the game after scoring the Rays’ first run, looking exceptionally uncomfortably as he gingerly slid into second base.
In spite of all those setbacks, however, the Rays won the day handily, so let’s see how they got there.
Archer took the first and had a fairly clean outing, giving up only a walk to Abreu, before shutting down the inning. In the bottom of the inning Choi got a double, the one he looked fairly tender on, then advanced to third on a Franco groundout. Meadows brought him home on a single, giving the Rays the first run of the day. Choi left the game and was replaced at first by Yandy Diaz.
The second inning was pretty similar for Archer as he gave up a single to Goodwin and nothing else. It was his last inning to the day though, as he exited with left hip tightness. His line for the day, short as it was, was 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K on 41 pitches. In the bottom of the second the Rays went down in order. Also this happened at the top of the inning:
Armstrong came on to pitch for the Rays next, in what would prove to be a busy day for their bullpen, and he went 1-2-3 through the White Sox order. On the Rays side of things the third was a great inning for them. Kiermaier hit an infield single and beat out the throw, but was then caught stealing. Diaz singled, then Franco hit a deep double to score Diaz. Meadows singled to score Franco, and the Rays were up 3-0.
Armstrong continued into the fourth, issuing only a walk to Moncada, otherwise it was swinging strikeouts for all. The Rays had no luck of their own in the bottom of the inning, as a nicely placed hit from Wendle that might have been a double, was perfectly caught by Goodwin. Absolute daylight robbery.
Both Conley and Mazza took turns for the Rays in the fifth, and with the exception of a Mendick single from Conley, the Sox bats were quiet. The Rays went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the inning.
Mazza carried on into the sixth for the team, and things got a bit rocky for him. Jimenez singled on two outs, then Moncada doubled, sending Jimenez to third. Luckily for Mazza he ended the inning on the next batter and no damage was done. That would, however, be the end of Mazza’s day. In the bottom of the sixth Franco doubled to lead off the inning. Arozarena drew an intentional walk, then Phillips walked to load the bases. Mejia came up and hit a deep double, bringing home Franco, Arozarena, and Phillips, and giving the Rays a nice 6-0 lead.
Mejía says we'll take 3️⃣ more pic.twitter.com/Ql0HcnMCds— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) August 22, 2021
Fleming was the fifth Rays pitcher of the day, coming on for the seventh, and while he gave up an infield single to Mendick, his inning was otherwise clean. In the bottom of the inning Lowe and Diaz drew back-to-back walks. Then Franco hit into a fielder’s choice, eliminating Diaz, but managing to evade the dreaded double play. With Meadows up at the plate a balk was called against White Sox pitcher Ruiz, walking in Lowe as an additional run. Meadows then doubled to score Franco.
The White Sox had Fleming’s number in the top of the eighth, as Robert reached safely on an error from Franco (his second this series if I’m counting right), followed by an Abreu single. Luckly the Rays turned a double play off the bat of Jimenez, and ended the inning scoreless on the next batter. In the bottom of the inning Phillips doubled to lead things off, Mehia singled to advance Phillips to third, and then a sac fly from Kiermaier scored Phillips. Diaz also collected a single, but no further runs scored.
Fleming was still the Rays man in the top of the ninth as they hoped he could shut things down with the score still goose eggs for the Sox. Fleming got an early first out, and Franco was responsible for the second getting some monster air on a line drive that was absolutely incredible.
The Rays collected the third out quickly and for some reason Dewayne called this the first save for Fleming but that can’t be right in a 9-0 game?
Regardless, Rays win.
Final: Rays 9, White Sox 0