On a Bark at the Park day the Rays knocked off the Rangers 5-3 in a game that did not feel that close. Jeffrey Springs brought his A-game, the A/C was blowing out, and did I mention doggos???
The win secured a winning season for the Rays, and for those of us who have been following from the beginning, that still feels like something worth celebrating.
Wrapping up against the Rangers pic.twitter.com/jvVfpPbXkI— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) September 18, 2022
Sunday in the Sunshine State. pic.twitter.com/3KyXfVLtfD— Texas Rangers (@Rangers) September 18, 2022
The Rangers got on the board first in the second inning. With one out, Jung pulled a slider that was off the plate in, and lifted a hiiiiiiiiigh fly to left somehow carried into the front row. 1-0 Rangers.
103.4 mph, 40.0 (??!!??) degrees, 367 feet
In the Rays responded in their half of the second. Bethancourt hit his own long, high fly to left center that cleared the wall.
Bethancourt bounces one to the bowl's back wall pic.twitter.com/ZFj79qfyZf— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) September 18, 2022
108.7 mph, 35 degrees, 420 feet
Siri put the Rays up by yanking an 0-1 hanging slider out to left.
Hey Siri, play Back to Back pic.twitter.com/IRkIOQV5Wz— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) September 18, 2022
105.0 mph, 12 degrees, 330 feet. 2-1 Rays!
The Rays stretched their lead in the bottom of the third. Diaz got it going with a single through the hole. Aranda followed by doubling into the right field corner, scoring Yandy.
Margot kept the train going with a single to center, scoring Aranda.
Siri lined a one out single to left in the fourth inning, which, sadly for the Rays, ended Otto’s afternoon: 3.1 innings, 7 hits, 3 strikeouts. John King came on in relief. After a lineout to center by Choi, Siri stole second and advanced to the third when the ball skipped into center field. Walls was unable to drive him in, however, taking a 93 mph sinker over the inside corner for strike three.
The Rangers got their second run of the game in the top of the sixth, when Seager turned on a middle middle fastball and hit it way out to right.
Corey Seager - Texas Rangers (31)— MLB HR Videos (@MLBHRVideos) September 18, 2022
109 mph, 25 degrees, 422 ft.
After a single by Garcia, Springs struck out Mathias. He then appeared to be out the inning when he picked off Garcia. But the rundown went awry when Ramirez throw went off Aranda’s glove and past Walls into the center, sending Garcia all the way to third.
Garcia would score on a single to center by Jung. Springs then hit Smith to end his day.
It was a day where he often looked dominant. His ability to do whatever he wanted with the change allowed him to double and triple up on the pitch, and also added several perceived degrees with his heater.
Jeffrey Springs, Dirty 81mph Changeup...and Sword. ⚔️ pic.twitter.com/57BUpvr1gX— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 18, 2022
And yet here he was, not even finishing the sixth: 5.2 innings, 6 hits, 3 runs, (2 earned), 6 strikeouts. Not a bad outing by any means, but it still felt like it should have been better.
Javy Guerra got the ball to put out the fire, and he fought fire with fire, striking out Huff on 99 mph cheese.
Aside: I mentioned before that it was Bark at the Park day. And there was a lot of cuteness on display. But I have two dogs, and we were not at the park. They and I did not find this funny.
Former Rays farmhand Brock Burke came on for the bottom of the sixth. The grunting one retired the first two Rays he faced before giving up a single to center by Peralta and walking Siri on five pitches. Wander Franco pinch hit for Choi and hit an 0-2 dribbler up the first place line that Burke was unable to scoop and tag Wander. Bases loaded for Taylor Walls. Taylor worked a full count walk to score Bethancourt.
It's kind of them to support Dog Day with a nice walk at the park pic.twitter.com/P6PtD3pJcJ— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) September 18, 2022
Yandy also worked a full count, then launched a liner deep to right that was gathered in by Garcia.
Javy Guerra stayed in for the top of the seventh and retired the first two Rangers, striking out Thompson and getting Semien to chop back to the mound. Cash then called on lefty Brooks Raley (oh, hey Brooks! We’re not bothering you or anything by asking you to oh I don’t know do your job are we?) to face Corey Seager. Raley got Seager to ground to second and, after a bobble by Aranda, retired the Ranger shortstop.
Colin Poche took over in the eighth and struck out the side. And it is so nice to see that his slider is a legitimate weapon.
Old Friend Matt Moore took over for the Rangers in the bottom of the eighth and gave up a one out double to Bethancourt off the top of the fence in right. But a strikeout by Siri and a pop out by Wander ended the threat.
Pete Fairbanks got the call for the ninth and retired the side in order, striking out two.
The Rays start a three game series against the Astros tomorrow. Rasmussen will go up against Garcia.