After suffering their first loss of the season, The Rays look to start another winning streak.
It’s a great day to have a great day. pic.twitter.com/u0w8X90vJI— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) April 15, 2023
The Rays for the first three innings were a bit better than yesterday with runners on base for each of the innings, but still had no runs to show for it. Rays certainly weren’t helped at all with the Toronto defense.
First run of the game came in the bottom of the 3rd inning. After a fielders choice out and a walk to put Kevin Kiermaier on second and George Springer on first with 2 outs. A double steal put them both in scoring position.
Faucher held his own against a potent Blue Jays line, giving up only 2 H, the 1 ER, 1 BB, and 2 Ks in 2.1 IP.
Trevor Kelley was the next pitcher up, and got Vlad Jr. to fly out and end the inning.
1-0 Blue Jays.
Rays responded in the top of the 4th inning with a Taylor Walls HR to tie the game at 1.
In the bottom of the 4th inning, Kelley got the first two outs but then hit DH Alejandro Kirk. A double to Whit Merrifield makes it 2-1 Rays
Danny Jansen was the next batter and singled Merrifield to quickly make it 3-1 Blue Jays.
Trevor Kelley would go 2 innings, with 2 H, 2 ER, 1 BB & 0 Ks. He would be lifted for Josh Fleming, who, despite having 2 openers, still did not have a great outing.
Fleming started the 6th inning with back to back walks to Matt Chapman and Alejandro Kirk.
A Whit Merrifield groundout put runners on 2nd and 3rd with 1 out. Kevin Cash decided to intentionally walk Danny Jansen to get to Kevin Kiermaier. Fleming was able to get a KK strikeout, but then had to face the top of the order again in George Springer.
Down 4-1, the Rays had a great opportunity in the top of the 7th inning to tie the game, with Manuel Margot and Francisco Mejia earning walks from Toronto reliever Erik Swanson. This allowed Kevin Cash to go to Brandon Lowe with a chance to take the lead. Swanson hung a splitter on the inside part of the plate that Brandon Lowe was all over.
BUT Lowe got just a bit underneath it, and George Springer was able to make the catch at the right field wall. Ball was hit at 106.5 MPH but at 46 degrees. Just a bit too much launch angle.
Blue Jays continued to apply pressure to Josh Fleming. After a Dalton Varsho fielders choice, Matt Champan hit a hard single to move Varsho to 3rd base. Alejandro Kirk then hit a single to bring Varsho home and score the Blue Jays’ 5th run of the game.
Wander Franco opened the 8th inning with a double, and later scored on a Randy Arozarena groundout RBI.
Randy was almost safe too, just great defense and plays by Toronto’s defense.
If you believe it or not, the Rays had a chance to win this game in the 9th inning.
Josh Lowe and Manuel Margot both hit back-to-back singles to put the first two runners on with nobody out, and Luke Raley, Brandon Lowe & Yandy Diaz to the plate.
Luke Raley struck out swinging on some nasty sliders by Blue Jays’ closer Jordan Romano.
Yandy Diaz struck out swinging, but had some shoddy strike calls by the home plate umpire:
Brandon Lowe dropped a single in no mans land. All runners were waiting to see if Kiermaier was going to catch it so couldn’t score, but were able to advanced and load the bases, and bring up the winning run, which was Wander Franco.
Franco got into a 2-1 count, and smoked a slider, but it ricocheted off Romano, who was able to throw to 1st for the final out.
Back at it tomorrow with Sugar Shane on the hill pic.twitter.com/cpJJnD2O4K— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) April 15, 2023
Rays lose two games in a row for the first time this season.
Three Great Things
Despite the loss, here are my three great things about this game:
- Calvin Faucher looked a bit like the pitcher we were promised this year, with a lot of high spin sliders and a 3K spin curveball. Excited to see how he develops this year, especially with the current state of the Rays’ bullpen
- Even with the all of the walks, and uncharacteristically bad Rays’ defense, the Rays still outhit the Blue Jays 8-7 this game.
- Speaking of, Rays pitching had THIRTEEN walks over the past two games. Even if you cut those walks in half (or if there were robo-umps) Rays probably would’ve won both games.
Rays look to avoid getting swept with Sugar Shane McClanahan against Alek Manoah. Gametime is 1:37 PM