This was a fun game, it lacked in hitting power but had a little bit of everything else.
Even the first half had a drama. There was a Tommy Pham stare after he was caught looking. Then Alex Verdugo’s solo group. Now I love guys that show some soul when they hit a dinger, but a massive dance, complete with (did my eyes trick me), grabbing my crotch for the first time in the single regular season seems like a lot! After one song, Storey jumped into the center of the field, and Jose Seri waved his arms in a world sign saying, “You lost the ball in that damn roof.” I felt my stomach sag, but then Siri picked up the ball and grinned, and BA suggested it was an attempt to trick the runner at first into trying to advance.
The Rays were up against Michael Washa, who made them the show last year – badly at first and then after a stint in IL, well. The Good Wacha has continued this year, most notably in its ability to make a poor connection.
But even a weak connection can score points! The Rays had three singles in the first round, ran, and didn’t hit anything over 80 mph. Sometimes the goddess of BABIP supports you.
Patiño made a quick, clean second but then in the third inning, he lost the strike zone. He walked two hits, and eventually gave up one—one for Devers, which scored one run, then Trevor Story scored a double in another. One thing about Patiño is that when things fall apart they really unravel—his delivery slows down, and bugs seem to pile up (my colleague Darby Robinson says this reminds him of Chris Archer—it really is, but I hope Patiño is something you’ll grow from). Anyway, the Rays’ third half was down twice and Patiño was in 60 pitches.
It looked like the Rays had a chance of getting at least something back at the bottom of the fourth inning. Bethancourt’s hit fell along the right field fault line for two folds, but then was easily flagged for third on a cannon to the bowler. It seemed to me that he simply couldn’t run on that ball, so the Red Sox needed to get out at first.
But the Rays had a run again in fifth. Singles Jose Seri, then scored in Arozarena’s long double from the left field wall. Red Sox left-back Franchi Cordero awkwardly crashed into a wall while being chased, unfortunately needed to be taken off the field in a buggy (and yes unfortunately, I don’t want to see anyone injured).
Patiño made way for Jalen Beeks, who made a goalless sixth, followed by newly renamed Calvin Faucher – which Rays clearly believes would be an effective way to get rid of them. However, I’d rather see him and 6 plus ERA in less competitive games. He walked in front, then almost got out of the inning with a double play, but Walls’ throw initially was offline (he needed to jump over the sliding runner, so it wasn’t really his fault). The run went on as Bogarts walked and Devers walked, so we were there with loaded bases. sigh. I decided at this point that I really needed to wash the dishes. When I came back, Trevor Storey was waving at the third hit, at halftime.
This made Rays up to hook the game at the bottom of the seventh. The inning started with Vidal Brogan’s kick to knock Zhang, and she was hit with a floor blow. He stole second place, which was very lucky because it meant Undertaker Siri wasn’t a double play, and Brogan moved into third. He scored easily when Mane Margot doubled, making the score 3-3.
David Peralta scored only two goals after the first man dived into Margot’s base to put Reyes ahead.
And to make sure the Red Sox didn’t get any funny ideas to reclaim the lead, Colin Poche came in eighth and hit the side. I repeat, Colin Butch hit the side. My colleague Brian Menendez noticed Butch was throwing a different and better ball, which was a clear indication of this round.
After the Rays went quietly down the eighth, they called in Pete Fairbanks to close out their one-running game. He was uncharacteristically absent and abandoned. With one exit, Verdugo was grounded to a shortstop. Walls turned the ball over to Brujan for power, but it was a tough ball to handle, Brujan pressed for a double play intermittently into the first, and Ramirez missed a lot and allowed Ferdogo to advance to second. Slide Verdugo to base heights up, pushing those pins into Brujan’s knee. Then Brogan limped off the field. Honestly Brogan should have caught the ball, there was little chance of a double play.
But Betna doesn’t freak out, so he softly hit Bogarts, the last pitch at 99 mph, hitting the bottom edge of the area. game over.
- We all want to see Louis Patiño put it all together, and I hope this is his way of getting there. Let’s remember that Shane McClanahan looked pretty tough in 2020. Let’s remember that Patiño, even though he’s been in the majors for several years, is 22 years old. Twenty-two. I hope he can build on what worked so well in those two quick, clean rounds and take advantage of the fact that his collapse today only resulted in him giving up two rounds.
- Who said baseball isn’t a contact sport? Poor Vidal Brogan was hit with a floor blow and rose in the leg.
- The good news is to win. The bad news: