I don’t know how Drew Rasmussen feels, but I’m exhausted. You can only hold your breath for so long! The boys turned in an entertaining 4-1 win, in which Drew Rasmussen pitched into the ninth with a perfect game intact.
Both pitchers were cruising early, with no hits for either team through fifteen outs. But Jose Siri broke the string, collecting the game’s first hit with a third inning leadoff single to right.
[Side note: When did Siri ditch that little toe-point batting stance? I just noticed today that he had a much more conventional set up. Someone should check on what changed and why!]
Walls followed, smashing a 3-2 center cut fastball that one-hopped the wall in right center for a double. Unfortunately, Siri did not get a good read, then maybe failed to touch second base. He did retouch the bag to be sure, but was then only able to advance to third. A strikeout looking of Choi (on a pitch that looked outside) and a foul popout by Díaz put the scoring chance in jeopardy. But Randy redeemed them all, crushing a towering no-doubter out to left.
102.9 mph, 31 degrees, 402 feet, and it was 3-0 Rays.
The Rays missed a scoring opportunity in the fourth when Mejía doubled to the wall in right center. Lyles bounced back to retire the next three Rays in order, including strikeouts of Chang and Raley.
They threatened again in the fifth, with an infield single (is it an infield single if the second baseman is in the outfield?) by Walls and a walk by Diaz. That ended Lyles day, as Hyde handed the ball to Joey Krehbiel to face Arozarena. Randy reached on a fielder's choice, putting runners at the corners with two outs. David Peralta converted the chance, slapping one the other way off the end of the bat for a run scoring single.
And there was some other things that happened with the bats, but none was as interesting as Drew Rasmussen, who Just. Kept. Getting. Outs.
Not only was he nasty...
Drew Rasmussen is COOKING.— Alex Fast (@AlexFast8) August 14, 2022
Just 44 pitches thru 5 IP. pic.twitter.com/WY2KGEFOGa
...but he was efficient, needing no more than 12 pitches in any inning through the front eight.
There were strikeouts, (seven on the day) but there was also a ton of weak contact. There were only a handful of dicey plays through the front eight. In the first, Rutchman flied out to the track in center. Rasmussen ran a couple three ball counts in the second inning. And what looked like a clean single back through the middle off the bat of Brett Phillips was gobbled up by a shifted Walls to end the sixth.
The efficiency allowed Cash to let Drew go farther than we’ve seen a Rays pitcher go in a long time.
Drew Rasmussen's 8th 1 2 3 Inning.— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 14, 2022
Drew was still perfect into the ninth. Jorge Mateo led off, saw the first bad breaking ball Rasmussen threw all day, and hooked it up the third base line for a double.
Mateo advanced to third on a groundout, and scored on a Rasmussen wild pitch.
Brett Phillips then reached on a strikeout/wild pitch to end Drew Rasmussen’s day. He left to a well deserved standing ovation.
8.1 innings, 1 run, 1 hit, 7 strikeouts, 0 walks. He threw just 87 pitches on the day, 62 for strikes.
Jason Adam came on to slam the door, striking out Mullins and Rutchman.
Tricia’s interview with Drew was fun.
This was a fun game, even if Drew couldn’t finish it off. The victory today also wraps up a season series win against the Orioles, which could be a wild card playoff tiebreaker.
The Rays travel to New York for a three game set against the Yankees starting tomorrow evening. Rays ace TBD will take on Yankee stopper TBD.