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Rays 7, Tigers 2: Back Enns Starter?

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Joey and KK have a day, and Enns is a revelation.

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Detroit Tigers Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

After last night’s depressing tilt, the Rays got things back on track today as they jumped out early and coasted to a 7-2 win. But before we get to the specifics, can anybody tell me what was going on with the slash through Joey’s name?

No respect to Joey Forearms, Neil. No respect at all.

Anyway, Archer got the start for the Rays. He was opposed by Casey Mize, who we knew was going to be on a short leash as the Tigers try to limit the innings of their young pitchers. But this was a little shorter than they probably hoped for, lasting only two innings. Why the extra short leash? Let’s find out.

After a quick first, the Rays hung a three spot on Mize in the second. It started with a one out triple into the left center gap by Wendle, and continued on a nifty piece of baserunning. With the contact play on, Zunino grounded to Candelario at third. Joey took a route home well inside the baseline to make the throw home more difficult, then slid toward the outer half of home plate, just getting under the tag by Haase.

The Tigers challenged, but the call stood.

Kiermaier then tripled into the left center gap, chasing home Zunino home all the way from first.

Then, after a Walls walk, Brandon Lowe hit a sac fly to left, scoring KK.

In the fourth, the Rays tacked on two more to make it 5-0. It started when Wendle greeted new pitcher Bryan Garcia by crushing one deep to right center for a lead off Ding Dong Johnson.

With one out, Kiermaier exploited the lackadaisical play in left for a patented KK hustle double. He moved up to third on a ground out, then scored on BLowe’s knock to center.

The Tigers got on the board in the bottom of the frame. Schoop doubled, advance to third on a fly out to center (and if I’m honest, I really thought KK was going to gun him down) and came around to score on a Miggy Cabrera single to right.

The Rays got the run right back in the top of the fifth. Cruz singled through the left side of the infield, moved up to second on a ground out, mosied over to third on a wild pitch, then scored on a loooooooong fly to center from Randy.

6-1 Rays!

Archer was done after four. He had been ... fine? Adequate? Something like that. In his four innings, he was charged with the one run, two hits, struck out two and walked one. His fastball was 92ish and located well for the most part, and while his slider was not the Classic Archer slider, it was better than the last time out. At the time he was pulled, there was no indication anything was wrong. But we found out this later.

Uuuuuuuuugh.

Anyway, Dietrich Enns got the ball, and ran into a bit of trouble in the fifth. With two outs, Walls booted a Victor Reyes grounder. It escalated with stolen base and a throwing error into center by Zunino. But Enns bailed out his fielders, fanning Baddoo with heat at the top of the zone.

And from that point on, Enns was masterful. He went four no-stress innings, gave up no hits or walks, and struck out six. His breaking ball was nothing to write home about, but his fastball was lively and well located, especially at the top of the zone. Well done, Mr. Enns.

The Rays tacked on some more in the ninth. Walls reached on a bad hop single, then moved to third on Lowe’s double to left. He scored on the third sac fly of the night, this one to center by Meadows.

In the ninth, Stretch Armstrong got the call to finish it. He gave up a homer to Grossman, but that was it. 7-2 Rays. Woot.

Your Three Stars of the Game

It would be easy to give the stars to the usual suspects, but where’s the fun in that?

  1. Comerica Park. I love this park. It is sooooo expansive and invites triples, which are easily the most exciting play in baseball.
  2. Akil Baddoo. My gosh. I fell in love with Baddoo in the first week of the season, and it’s been fun to watch him develop. His play in the outfield is — an adventure, to put it mildly. It’s not that he’s bad in the outfield. It’s not that he’s good. He’s just very raw, which you’d expect from a Rule 5 guy. And on any given play, he has the capacity to make an incredibly play, or an embarrassing one. And he did both today, several times. God bless. I hope he continues to develop, because he’s so fun.
  3. Dietrich Enns. Yes, yes, I know I said I didn’t want to go with the usual suspects. But after the parade of ineffective relievers yesterday, Enns was like a glass of cool water.

The win lowers the Rays Magic Number to 11, with the Yankees and Red Sox both still playing at the time of this writing. The Rays wrap up this series tomorrow at 12:10PM.