The Rays struck out fifteen times and committed two errors.
But pretty much everything else was good news as they piled on runs against the Detroit Tigers, and watched their B-bullpen hold that lead without much difficulty. The team is now a decisive 2-0 on the season.
It was great to see the Rays pounce quickly in the first, but frustrating to see a bases loaded situation finish with just one run scored. Diaz, Lowe and Arozarena all got hits to start the inning, with Diaz scoring on the Arozarena double. Wander Franco walked to load the bases, but Luke Raley struck out, and Jose Siri grounded into a double play. I could hear the late Dave Wills bemoaning the chicken left on the bone.
But then the team scored seven runs in the third inning to go up 8-0, and the game was more or less over. In a good way! They would tack on another two runs in fourth, and yet two more in the seventh.
Wasting no time today! #RaysUp pic.twitter.com/89JaF42Lcl— Bally Sports Sun: Rays (@BallyRays) April 1, 2023
It was a very balanced offensive attack, with everyone in the starting lineup on base at least once. Yandy Diaz and Wander Franco were the standouts, both going three for four and knocking in three runs. It’s been just two games, but Wander’s start reminds me of how he started last year — he seemed capable of hitting everything. Fingers crossed that he stays healthy this year. Diaz’s offensive onslaught included a home run that seemed to leave the park in about a tenth of a second:
Here’s what a 112.7 mph line drive looks like:
That poor baseball pic.twitter.com/GOmohs4LR5— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) April 1, 2023
Zach Eflin had a very good Tropicana Field debut, throwing five innings, walking one and giving up just three hits, one of which happened to be a Miguel Cabrera mis-hit that fell for an RBI single. Fifty-seven of his 74 pitches were strikes.
After the fifth inning we saw the bullpen pitchers we are least likely to see in a closer game, and they mostly held their own. Kevin Kelly’s Tropicana debut looked like it might have gone off the rails: he retired his first batter on a grounder, but then struggled to get to out number two, with Isaac Paredes’ error compounding his difficulties. While he did give up a run on two hits, a double play kept the rally from escalating, and he returned to pitch an uneventful seventh inning. Cleavinger and Faucher finished off the day the for the Rays.
Some other notes:
- Brandon Lowe was replaced by Isaak Paredes midway through the game; we later learned he had a big toe contusion. Not clear whether he injured it in today’s game, or if was something that was bothering him and when the Rays took a large lead Cash decided he could get off his feet
- Apparently Siri has a lightning bolt tattooed on his arm, and El Rayo is his nickname - that’s why he yanks up his sleeve after big hits:
SEVEN RUN INNING pic.twitter.com/webjPi6h52— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) April 1, 2023
But it seems clear that “doing the Randy” will be the symbol of this season:
Rays Randy Together. #RaysUp pic.twitter.com/DTIn9oQ6mc— Bally Sports Sun: Rays (@BallyRays) April 1, 2023