For a second consecutive day, the Tampa Bay Rays were beaten up in Boston. Matt Andriese was knocked out in the second inning after he allowed eight runs (six earned), as the Red Sox plated nine runs for the second straight day.
Chris Archer allowed three first inning runs on Friday and, wouldn’t you know it, Andriese played follow the leader and did the same. Eduardo Nunez led off the first inning with a single to left, swiped second, then scored on Dustin Pedroia’s two-run homer into the seats over the Green Monster.
One has to question Andriese’s sequence of pitches in that at-bat, as he followed a dust-off pitch with a heater that was up and over the inner third of the plate — right in Pedroia’s juice zone.
From there, things spiraled out of control for the Rays, who appeared to be no match for the very aggressive Red Sox. One such example of Boston’s aggressiveness came with one out in the first after Mookie Betts singled, then stole second, and finally advanced to third on a Wilson Ramos throwing error. Betts, well…bet on Wilson’s arm, and won the gamble. Betts later scored on Mitch Moreland’s groundout to a confused duo of players on the right side of the infield, Adeiny Hechavarria and Danny Espinosa, neither which knew who was responsible to field the play in the shift.
When all was said and done, Boston plated nine runs on 15 hits, but just one homer. Credit where it’s due, the Sox have an approach at the plate, while the Rays don’t, hence their 0-6 wRISP on the night. Sometimes swing away and hit homers works, yet often times it doesn’t. That is to say, I’m envious of Boston. Let those words never be spoken again.
The New What Next
The Rays will try to salvage the final game of the series on Sunday with Alex Cobb (10-9, 3.64 ERA, 4.18 FIP) on the mound. He will start opposite of Rick Porcello (9-16, 4.67 ERA, 4.57 FIP).
Cobb held the Twins to one run on three hits and two walks while striking out seven over 5-2/3 innings on Monday night. After giving up his only run in the first inning Cobb went to work, putting down 12 of the next 13 batters on six strikeouts, a double play, and five ground ball outs — keeping the Rays in the ball game until they could break things open in the sixth inning.
Porcello continues to be victimized by the long ball, as he was taken deep three times by Toronto in his last turn; he has given up 35 homers on the season. He has now given up at least three home runs three times this season, and has given up multiple homers a whopping 10 times. Porcello has eclipsed his career high in homer runs by 10, the main reason he’s performed to a 4.67 ERA this season. After dominating the league in 2016, Porcello is 6-10 with a bloated 5.38 ERA at Fenway, and 1-3 with a 5.18 ERA in four starts (24-1/3 IP) against the Rays this season. Key Matchups: Peter Bourjos (2-7), Curt Casali (3-10), Corey Dickerson (8-32, 4 2B, HR, 3 RBI), Danny Espinosa (1-3, HR, 3 RBI), Evan Longoria (14-55, 6 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 4 BB), Brad Miller (10-32, 3 2B, 7 RBI, 4 BB), Brad Miller (10-32, 3 2B, 5 HR, 9 RBI, 2 BB), Logan Morrison (10-34, 3 2B, HR, 5 RBI), Mallex Smith (2-8, 3B), Steven Souza Jr. (9-30, HR, RBI, BB)
Rays 9/10/17 Starting Lineup
— Marc Topkin (Tampa Bay Times) writes, that if the Rays are going to salvage their season, six players have got to step up:
3B Evan Longoria. He called himself out a couple of weeks ago as the player who most needed to step up, and who are we to argue. Longoria’s numbers — .265 with 18 homers, 77 RBIs, a .756 OPS going into play Saturday — aren’t horrible, but they’re not good enough for the No. 3 hitter in the lineup who relishes the chance to be the man they can count on. “There’s definitely times when I feel like it’s clicking,” Longoria said. “It just hasn’t gone on for a prolonged period of time this year.” Like August, for example, when he hit just .240, with one home run (as part of his Aug. 1 cycle), 10 RBIs and a .677 OPS. He has been better thus far in September (.296) and did reach base multiple times in four straight games.
RHP Jake Odorizzi. Was much, much better in his last start, taking a no-hitter into the seventh against the Twins. And the Rays have to hope that is a sign he is finally back to form, because until then he had been a mess, with some questions about how much longer he’d get to stay in the rotation as he has battled injuries and inconsistency much of the season. Consider that in his previous six starts Odorizzi was 1-3 with a 6.49 ERA and got past four innings only once. Odorizzi seems likely to be the designated starter to be traded this winter, as his arbitration-fueled salary, $4.1 million this year, climbs past what the Rays feel is his value, so a strong finish also can do all parties well.
2B Brad Miller
DH Lucas Duda
LF Corey Dickerson.
I didn’t plan to lump these together, but Cash did when the subject came up a week ago, and it’s still the case. “We need to get some of our lefties going, no doubt,” Cash said. “They know who they are. They are doing everything they can. It’s not for lack of work. They’re working. They’re just kind of in a little bit of a funk.”
Miller is the biggest concern because he has had the biggest dropoff, from the guy who hit .243 last year with 30 homers and 81 RBIs to the guy hitting .191 this year (around two DL stints) with seven and 31. And his struggles are only exacerbated by the success of Tim Beckham, whom the Rays traded to Baltimore at the July 31 deadline to open second base for Miller to play every day. In his first 36 games as an Oriole, Beckham hit .353 with six homers, 20 RBIs and a .965 OPS. In the same span, Miller hit .168-3-7-.608.
Duda has been something of an all-or-nothing addition from the Mets, hitting .193 as a Ray with 11 of his 22 hits for homers, and four for doubles. Worse, he went into play Saturday 8-for-his-last-56, with seven homers. Dickerson has yet to regain the first-half form, and drive, that carried him to an All-Star selection. He hit .333 with 17 homers, 39 RBIs and a .955 OPS in his first 75 games but in the 60 since is just .212-9-21-.660.
LHP Dan Jennings. Acquired to be a high-leverage lefty for this season, and two more, Jennings has not shown much to inspire confidence, with a 5.91 ERA in his first 19 appearances with the Rays. Of the first 54 batters he faced, 24 have reached base (10 walks, 14 hits). He allowed homers to lefties in back-to-back appearances (after one previously all season) and five times left without recording an out.