Has anyone else gotten fairly tired of playing games in New York? No? Just me? I guess it’s hard to complain about it when the team is winning, but whenever the Rays are in New York I just think about that thumbs-down Mets fan guy. You know the one.
Anyway, that’s enough getting side-tracked for the time being, let’s see how the Rays did tonight, for those who didn’t watch.
Pitching match-ups for this game were interesting with Kodai Senga on the mound for the Mets, and looking pretty solid through the night in spite of the Rays taking the lead fairly early on (we’ll get to that), and Josh Fleming starting for the Rays (only his second start of the season, and funnily enough both were against NL opponents).
Perhaps the Mets should be happy they didn’t have to fend off a chorus of boos against their starter (sorry Justin Verlander), but Senga looked strong even early. He gave up a walk to Franco in the first, and Franco being Franco, he stole second. But the Rays could not take advantage of the man on base. Foley was up next and the inning went similarly for him. Eerily similar. Escobar got a one-out walk, and then advanced to second on a wild pitch. But much like the Rays, the Mets could not bring a man home.
Yeah, things pretty much carried on like that through the firs three innings. Both pitchers allowed a lead-off single in the second, and both had a 1-2-3 third.
Bit weird how closely the innings mirrored each other, now that I’m writing it out.
Into the fourth inning, things finally got further along the basepaths. Brandon Lowe doubled with one out, then Paredes came on to hit a ground rule double, bringing Lowe home and putting the Rays on the board. Paredes was able to advance on another wild pitch from Senga, but the Rays would have to settle for one run
Really nice to see old friend Tommy Pham in this series, nicer still to not see him score (sorry), but very funny to hear BA in the booth talk about how Tommy Pham would just look right through him during interviews.
The game headed into the fifth and we saw another matched set of 1-2-3 innings from both Senga and Fleming. In spite of a nice clean fifth, Cash wasn’t taking any chances with Fleming and the fifth was his final inning of the game. His final line for the game was 5.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 2 K on 67 pitches. Nice outing.
Hoping to get more out of their starter, Senga was back out for the Mets in the sixth. In a case of deja vu he walked Franco, and Franco then stole second base. Brandon Lowe collected a one-out walk, but two outs ended the inning without any additional runs scoring.
Do we think, perhaps, those men left on base might come back to haunt us later in the game? (This isn’t foreshadowing, the game is still happening as I write it.)
Anyway, bottom of the sixth saw shared relief duties between Kelly and Diekman. Kelly faced the minimum three batters, giving up a single and getting two outs. Diekman came on to get the final out. (It’s worth noting that the first out for Kelly was entirely credited to Siri making this truly bonkers catch).
He's a freak. He's the fastest man alive. pic.twitter.com/RaVz7nz1vg— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) May 18, 2023
You’d think being a superhero in the outfield was enough for Siri’s highlight reel, but you’d be wrong. He stepped into the batter’s box in the top of the seventh and hit a home run to cap off his night. Josh Lowe singled, then in a repeating chorus for tonight, successfully stole second, but the Rays would have to settle for one bonus run, putting them up 2-0. Thompson was the next bullpen arm up for the Rays in the bottom of the seventh. With one out, Canha pretty much leaned into a pitch to take his base.
Don’t get mad at me... but then rookie Vientos hit a home run (that Siri almost caught, thank you) to tie the game and immediately make me regret my earlier comments about insurance runs. Oops. That hit-by-pitch is also looking regrettable at the moment. Thompson was able to limit more damage, but the Rays would need to face the Mets’ bullpen in the eighth to hopefully get ahead.
Adam Ottavino would be the next out of the bullpen for the Mets, and quickly gave up a walk to Arozarena. [insert Palpatine “Good, gooood” meme here] Arozarena successfully stole second, because if he’s on base he’s not wasting it. The Mets challenged the safe call and it was certainly a photo finish, but too close to overturn and he remained safe. Brandon Lowe then did exactly what he needed to do by hitting a two-run homer into the stands and giving the Rays back the lead. Walls singled, then Raley took a VERY uncomfortable-looking hit-by-pitch to his (I think) inner thigh? Ouch. Then Walls and Raley managed a double steal. Siri was poised to play hero again, but he struck out instead. Still, the Rays were up two runs.
No luck for the Mets in the bottom of the eighth (how tragic), so it was onto the ninth to see if the Rays could build on their lead. They did just that with a Josh Lowe double to start things off, who then advanced to third on a Franco groundout. Arozarena then singled to score Lowe. Brandon Lowe walked but was then eliminated by a fielder’s choice. They would need to settle for just one run, leaving them up 5-2.
Ninth inning, one last chance for the Mets, and they’d be facing Jason Adam to get it done. Vogelbach got the leadoff walk. Adam then hit Marte with a pitch (who definitely looked like he was hurting afterwards, but he stayed in the game). The first out of the inning was much needed. A flyout was out two. So close, but then Alvarez homered and suddenly it was a tie game. Hell. Adam got the final out but we headed to extras.
You can certainly never count the Rays out, and they showed that in the top of the tenth. Ghost runner Walls successfully stole third, then Ramirez singled to score Walls. A long Josh Lowe single scored Ramirez, then Lowe got caught in a rundown to end the inning, but the Rays were up by two again. It was all down to Pete Fairbanks. McNeil singled, sending ghost runner Nimmo to third. Fairbanks got one out, then home run masher Pete Alonso came to the plate and did that thing he tends to do hitting a 3-run homer to walk it off. No bueno.
Final: Mets 8, Rays 7