During the Rays bad stretch, it felt as though any deficit was going to be a loss.
As they have left that dismal period behind, we can now feel that getting behind early in the game doesn’t doom the team to defeat.
Tonight’sfirst inning started with both team’s outstanding leadoff hitters (Rays Diaz, Marlins Arraez) singled. But whereas the Rays stranded Diaz, the Marlins proceeded to string together hits to produce a 1-0 lead. Their whole inning seemed to be a “try not to do too much” highlight reel, with each hitter waiting back on Civale’s breaking pitches and then getting just enough on them to manage a single. One was an infield hit with runners on first and second, and Vidal Brujan playing short fielded it awkwardly and then instead of making the short throw to second (which would have been a close play) he made the impossible throw to first (where he really had no play). I can’t believe I’m saying this but: when will Taylor Walls be back?
Or, what he said:
The Rays tied it in the second, also playing small ball. Two singles (yes, one from Brujan) and two sac flies scored Josh Lowe to make the score 1-1.
It was long ball, however, that gave the Marlins a 2-1 lead in the third, on Jazz Chisholm’s home run.
It looked like the Rays would be struggling to play catch up, but they finally got a lead in the sixth inning. It started with Brandon Lowe’s unthreatening pop up into short right-center field, but that was misplayed into a double. Isaac Paredes brought him home with a single. With two outs, Vidal Brujan was hit on the foot with a pitch, moving Paredes to second base.
Jose Siri, who had not been on base all night, shot what would be Alcantra’s last pitch into deep left field for a 2 RBI double.
Civale was done after five innings; he gave up two runs on seven hits, throwing 96 pitches. It’s interesting that, as usual, he did not walk any batters, because it felt like he had three ball counts on just about everyone.
Alcantra had not been Cy Young sharp, but he kept his team in the game. The Miami bullpen subsequently let the game get out of control. The Rays fifth run came in the seventh inning. Catcher Rene Pinto doubled, and pinch hitter Harold Ramirez singled him home.
And then came runs six and seven, with this blast:
Arozarena bats a big fly in the 7th! pic.twitter.com/Z8Q8rJ0fcm— Rays Radio (@RaysRadio) August 30, 2023
The “Randy” chants after the home run suggests that a few Tampa Bay folks might have decided to travel for this series.
Run eight was a Josh Lowe solo home run.
Runs nine - eleven? An Isaac Paredes three run bomb to - tell me if you’ve heard this one - the left field bleachers.
Meanwhile the Rays bullpen kept the Marlins off the board, with two scoreless innings from Erasmo Ramirez and one each from Bob Stephenson and Jake Diekman, although it took Diekman an interminable 32 pitches to get those last three outs.
A few notes:
- Speaking of interminable, this game took three hours and fifteen minutes, which used to be normal for a nine inning game, but by now feels very very long.
- Rene Pinto started at catcher today for the Rays but was pulled for a pinch runner and then replaced by Christian Bethancourt. Just after coming in, Bethancourt got a foul tip to the knee and it took him some time to recover. This raised the question: who is the Rays’ back up catcher? It had been Taylor Walls, but he is on the IL.
Let’s hope the Rays didn’t use up all their hits tonight. They face the Marlins again tomorrow evening.