Happy Wander Day!
Here we go pic.twitter.com/S8abo4c7Dk— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) June 22, 2021
Setting up shop at the Trop. pic.twitter.com/zixIcrtwtb— Red Sox (@RedSox) June 22, 2021
Wander’s first plate appearance started him down 0-2, but Wander was able to then work a big league walk.
Swinging at the first two pitches you seen in your career and then working a walk? This was, in all seriousness, an exciting walk to watch. pic.twitter.com/uOKB7W5D2b— Mike Petriello (@mike_petriello) June 22, 2021
Probably not as impressive as it seems, but for the nerves and pressure, I found myself impressed with his walk. A Fransisco Mejia single and a throwing error by the Red Sox scored Yandy and Wander and gave the Rays a quick 2-0 lead.
Ryan Yarborough followed Andrew Kittredge and was...not good. He gave up a leadoff walk to Danny Santana and a single to Alex Verdugo. J.D. Martinez then hit a hard grounder to the right of Wander Franco. Wish I could tell you he at least batted it down, but the ball deflected off of his glove and into left field for a bases clearing double. Tie game at 2.
Wish I could say the nightmare ended for Yarbs, but it kept building. Missed locations, 67 pitches for only two innings, and just not sharp at all. A sac fly makes it 3-2 Red Sox, and brings former Ray and lefty killer Hunter Renfroe up with a runner on, and Renfroe does what he does best and hit a no-doubt 2 run HR to make it 5-2 Red Sox.
At this point, one had to wonder if the pressure had gotten to Wander and I hoped that he didn’t beat himself up too much about it.
Ryan Yarborough couldn’t get out of the 3rd inning, but elite high leverage arm Ryan Thompson came in to end the damage done by the Red Sox.
In the bottom of the 5th inning redemption came as the Rays opened the inning with a Kiermaier HBP and a Yandy Diaz single to bring up Wander Franco with nobody out.
THREE RUN HOME RUN AND WANDER FRANCO HAS TIED IT. Lets watch it again, shall we?
YOUNG LEGEND:— Bally Sports Sun: Rays (@BallyRays) June 23, 2021
Wander Franco goes yard in his 1st #MLB game!@RaysBaseball l #RaysUp pic.twitter.com/ByqM0DpiMU
One more time, for good measure. This time with Franco’s dad’s reaction:
Wander's dad is everything pic.twitter.com/HWJ97uQ3IN— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) June 23, 2021
I’m going to skip to Wander’s 4th plate appearance in the 7th inning, because that’s what we are all here for, right?
Facing a new LHP in Josh Taylor, it took Wander only 3 pitches to hit a 105.3 MPH double for his second hit of the night and the beginning of “Wander Franco” chants at the Trop.
️ @RaysBaseball fans chant "Wander Franco" at the Trop! #WanderFranco #RaysUp #MLB pic.twitter.com/cJs3vStpQ6— Bally Sports Sun: Rays (@BallyRays) June 23, 2021
And that missed ground ball in the 3rd inning? Wander made up for it in the top of the 8th inning. Rafael Devers hit a catwalk double with only 1 out, and brought up Hunter Renfroe again against new Rays’ reliever J.P. Feyereisen. Hunter Renfroe hit a ground ball right to Franco.
In case you were wandering, he plays defense too. pic.twitter.com/XoJ6Z15wTI— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) June 23, 2021
Double Play to end the inning.
We got a tie game going into the bottom of the 9th inning.
With Wander Franco due up with 1 runner on and only 1 out. He works a 3-1 count
Can you feel it? The magic moment?
Not yet. Another time, I suppose.
Meadows would strike out looking on a 3-2 curveball from Matt Barnes to send the game to extras.
We head to extras.#RaysUp 5#RedSox 5 pic.twitter.com/JMKXlZwFnv— Bally Sports Sun: Rays (@BallyRays) June 23, 2021
Rays got into a LOT of trouble in the top of the 10th. Peter Fairbanks came in and gave up a weak single to Danny Santana that fell in no mans land, and there's runners on 1st and 3rd with nobody out. Santana stole second base and now we have runners on 2nd and 3rd with nobody out.
And Pete Fairbanks threw a wild pitch that went through Zunino’s legs and to the backstop. Zunino got a good bounce, and Fairbanks was covering the plate for the tag out!
Fairbanks intentionally walked Alex Verdugo and was able to turn a strike em out, throw em out double play to end the Red Sox threat.
Rays couldn’t score in the 10th, mainly due to popping out on 3-0 pitches and bad baserunning.
June 23, 2021
Onto the 11th inning.
Fairbanks come out again, and gives up three back to back to back hits and the Red Sox take a 8-5 lead.
You could feel the energy on TV, Twitter and in general just drain out. A stadium that, earlier in the night had playoff level energy, with lively chants of Wander Franco and and Ji-Man Choi, had turned into a typical Red Sox & Rays game on a Tuesday night: Fenway South.
Boston scored another run on a sac fly, scoring the 4th run of the 11th inning.
Final.— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) June 23, 2021
Rays lose their 7th game in a row, 5th loss in extra innings. In those 5 extra inning games, the Rays have only scored 2 runs, and have allowed runs in all of those extra innings, except for tonight in the 10th. (Thanks Darby for the depressing tidbit, and RobotBoy in the comments for the correction)
Despite the loss, Wander came into this game and made an instant impact. He was fantastic, but wanted to touch on some other good moments from the Rays:
- Colin McHugh was a gem tonight, again. Pitching 3.0 IP, 0 H, 0 BB, and 3 Strikeouts
- Mejia also had a solid night, going 2-3 with an RBI
- The other Rays’ switch hitting infielder not named Wander Franco put on a dazzling defensive stop to help Colin McHugh.
Rays will have to wait until tomorrow to try and break the losing streak. Garrett Richards will face off against Rich Hill. Gametime is at 7:10 PM.