After last nights dramatics, the Rays look for the series win against the Red Sox in today’s match, with Sugar Shane McClanahan taking the mound against old friend Rich Hill.
Things...did not start out well for Sugar Shane, as the Red Sox were hunting the fastball and swinging early, and even when McClanahan and Zunino switched up to offspeed, the Red Sox were ready. It only took 9 pitches for the Red Sox to score 2 runs.
Red Sox out to an early 2-0 lead before the Rays can even come up to bat. Rays had a chance in the bottom of the 1st inning with a Harold Ramirez double, Yandy Diaz walk, and Taylor Walls single to load the bases with 2 outs but Manuel Margot popped out and ended the threat.
In the bottom of the 2nd inning, with Mike Zunino on first base and two outs, Randy Arozarena hit a single to right fielder Rob Refsnyder, and Randy tried to test his arm and go for two bases.
I like the effort, but the Rays need runs! They had a couple of baserunners in the 3rd and 4th inning, but nothing came of it.
In the 5th inning, Alex Cora replaced Rich Hill with Phillip Valdez. Dick Mountain went 4.0 IP, 4 H, 3 BB, 1 K on 62 pitches.
Phillip Valdez came in a bit wild, hitting Randy Arozarena, walking Wander Franco on 4 pitches to put 2 on with zero outs. Pinch Hitter Brandon Lowe flew out for the first out, and then Valdez hit Yandy Diaz to load the bases. Kevin Cash went to the bench again and called upon Ji-Man Choi to capitalize.
A great (almost grand) entrance for Ji-Man pic.twitter.com/FhCCR81Uvr— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) April 24, 2022
Ji-Man almost launches it out of the park, brings home Randy and Wander to tie it up at 2.
A Manuel Margot RBI groundout gave the Rays the first lead of the game at 3-2.
Vidal Brujan grounded out to end the inning, but we got some runs!
After the rough 1st inning, Shane McClanahan settled down nicely and retired 20 out of the next 22 Red Sox batters through SIX innings! Shane did have some help from last night’s hero, Kevin Kiermaier on a fantastic running play.
Kiermaier really does make it look easy, and you might be thinking that it wasn’t a difficult play, but for some perspective:
That had an expected batting average (xBA) of .910! And Kevin Kiermaier made it look routine!
Shane McClanahan didn’t want Kevin having all of the glory, as he ended the 6th with a swinging strikeout of Bobby Dalbec at 99 MPH.
Shane McClanahan, 99mph ⛽️ and Fist Pump pic.twitter.com/dGkZZhU9tp— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 24, 2022
Matt Barnes came out for the Red Sox in the bottom of the 6th inning to face Mike Zunino (who groundout), Kevin Kiermaier (who singled), Randy Arozarena (who singled), and Wander Franco (who groundout but moved the runners over). That was enough for Alex Cora, and he went to LHP Jake Diekman.
Have yourself a weekend, KK! pic.twitter.com/8666rM22AS— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) April 24, 2022
Rays take a 4-2 lead on the wild pitch by Diekman, but Randy also gets thrown out trying to steal another run. I don’t hate the play, what do you think?
Shane McClanahan comes out for the 7th inning(!), and got Christian Arroyo to flyout, and Christian Vazquez & Rob Refsnyder to groundout to end the inning. Shane’s final line: 7.0 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, and 7 Ks. An absolute stellar outing.
Yandy Diaz provided a bit more insurance with his 1st HR of the year, and oppo taco missile.
Rays lead 5-2, and with Shane McClanahan going 7.0 IP, the Rays only needed to use Colin Poche, who struck out Rafael Devers swinging on an invisiball, and Ryan Thompson who sat down the Red Sox 1-2-3 to seal the Rays’ win!
A few fun facts about this series and game:
- Rays only struck out 3 times the entire game.
- 19 of Rays last 23 innings pitched were hitless innings
In that series win vs Boston, the Rays bullpen went:— Darby Robinson (@darby_robinson) April 24, 2022
16 IP 2 H 6 BB 12K and just 1 ER given up
Elite level bullpen pitching
And some high praise from and old friend:
Rich Hill on Wander Franco (with whom he played last season in TB): “I know this is a bold statement, but I think he’s going to be a Hall of Famer.”— Alex Speier (@alexspeier) April 24, 2022
Rays move to 9-7 and have an off day tomorrow before welcoming the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday. First pitch is at 6:40PM ET.