On a Devil Ray Saturday, Corey Kluber flashed his old Cy self against his old team, hoping to turn around a Rays team that has dropped six of their last seven.
Your Tampa Bay Devil Rays pic.twitter.com/sa1XXdxKEO— Tampa Bay Devil Rays (@RaysBaseball) July 30, 2022
The Guardians sent out Zach Plesac.
Kluber was on top of his game in the clean first, which featured two strikeouts, getting Steven Kwan swinging on a nasty changeup, and giving a master class against Amed Rosario, finishing him with a sweeping breaking ball.
Corey Kluber, Wicked 82mph Breaking Ball.— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 30, 2022
19" of break. pic.twitter.com/wfyN7A6J0O
In the bottom of the first, Luke Raley worked a one out walk. Then, after a long fly out to the deepest part of the park from Díaz, Brandon Lowe did not miss on a 2-2 inside fastball that didn’t get inside enough.
In the second, Kluber had a near immaculate inning, sandwiching three pitch Ks to Miller and Reyes around a one pitch flyout by Andrés Giménez.
The Rays pushed the lead to 3-0 in the bottom of the second. Taylor Walls worked a one out walk, then scored from first on a two out double into the left field corner by René Pinto. Not many style points for Taylor, who went head first and ended up face planting. But it counts just the same.
René Pinto making an and Taylor Walls turning on the gas! @RaysBaseball add another run when Pinto drives in Walls who slides in safe at home! #RaysUp 3-0— Bally Sports Sun: Rays (@BallyRays) July 30, 2022
Watch ➡️ https://t.co/e4dno1qHXi pic.twitter.com/Nlu3hv13Yt
The Guardians broke up the perfect game in the third, when former Ray Luke Maile singled softly to center. But Kluber continued to dominate, racking up two more Ks, fanning Jones and Straw and getting Kwan to fly out to left.
Corey Kluber, Filthy 81mph Breaking Ball...and Sword. ⚔️ pic.twitter.com/OtiQAKnra2— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 30, 2022
Cleveland got their first scoring chance in the fourth, when José Ramírez hit a one out double into the right field corner. Ramírez scored when Owen Miller ripped one just past the diving Díaz, and Raley's throw home was just off line.
The Guardians threatened again in the fifth, when Kwan dumped a two out, 2-2 fastball into short left for a double. But Kluber to Rosario swinging on a 1-2 cutter for his season high ninth strikeout.
The Rays tacked on a couple two out runs in the bottom of fifth. Raley pulled an infield single into the hole between first and second and — wait, is it an infield single when the second baseman is 250 feet from home? Anyway, Yandy Díaz followed and pulled a 2-2 slider out to left.
The Guardians finally got to Kluber in the sixth. Ramírez led off `with a double to right, followed by Kluber hitting Miller on the elbow. Andrés Giménez then turned around a 1-0 sinker and drove it out to right center.
Kluber rebounded, retiring three of the next four to get out of the inning, including the tenth strikeout of the game.
Kluber was done after six, and his line was significantly worse than how he pitched. Six innings, eight hits, four runs, ten strikeouts. So let’s take another look at some of the silly stuff he showed.
Corey Kluber, Crazy 80mph Breaking Ball.— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 30, 2022
22 inches of Break. pic.twitter.com/MDN6ZPLxSD
Corey Kluber, 89mph Two Seamer and 80mph Breaking Ball, Overlay.— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 30, 2022
Look at how far apart these pitches start out... pic.twitter.com/OEo5gaivR8
Here are all ten strikeouts.
Jason Adam took over in the seventh. He gave up some hard contact, but worked a clean inning.
Poche got the eighth, and kept the Guardians off the board despite giving up a one out double to Giménez on a play that could have been significantly worse. Poche notched two strikeouts in the frame.
The Rays got some insurance against De Los Santos in the eighth. Josh Lowe worked a two out walk, then stole second. Taylor Walls then dribbled an infield single to short, advancing Lowe to third. And Brett Phillips cashed in the chance with a firm single to right.
Pete Fairbanks got the ball for ninth, looking to pick up his second save of the season. And things got kinda dicey. After fanning Alex Call, Fairbanks surrendered single to right to Straw. Kwan then hit a comebacker to Fairbanks. Pete rushed the throw trying to get the game ending double play and looked to call Walls off the bag. But after review, it was clear that Walls managed to tap his toe on the bag before falling away.
Great play by Taylor. This was extra important, because Rosario single to left on a play that likely would have scored Straw. Pete then came back to strike out Ramirez on three pitches.
The Rays traded for David Peralta, who should provide some offense.