Ryan Yarbrough — like Tyler Glasnow before him — held the Marlins scoreless, while the Tampa Bay Rays hit three home runs in a 6-4 come-from-behind win on Friday. The Rays enter play with their first series win under their belts and primed to sweep Miami this afternoon.
Ryan Yarbrough got the start for Tampa Bay and retired the first nine batters in order by doing what he is wont to do: forcing weak contact. In fact, the left-hander limited hard contact all night; just two at-bats resulted in exit velocities of +95 mph, and even then both resulted in fly-ball outs. Yarbrough allowed base runners in the fourth inning, yet a Garrett Cooper double play ended the threat. Then in the fifth inning, he allowed a two-out base hit to Jazz Chisholm Jr., but a ground ball out by Jorge Alfaro whacked Miami’s mole, ending the inning. After giving up a two-out double to Starling Marte that bounced down the third base line, Yarbrough was lifted. He was efficient, throwing 65 pitches (41 strikes, 63% strike rate) total, and leaned heavily on his cutter/changeup combo while sprinkling in a few sinkers and curveballs for good measure. Yarbrough’s final line: 5.2 IP/4 H/3 K/0 BB/4 groundouts/5 fly ball outs.
But, down 2-0, Miami kicked down the door late … and it all started with two outs in the seventh.
After Chaz Roe got 21 inches of run on a slider to Brian Anderson (seen above), resulting in a swinging strikeout, and then collected another whiffy punchout of Adam Duval on a slider that had even more movement, Chisholm tripled to right-center. Roe then walked Alfaro, putting runners on the corners and necessitating a pitching change for a left-on-left matchup. Enter Ryan Sherriff.
The left-hander got ahead of pinch hitter Corey Dickerson 1-2 before the former Ray punched a ground ball through the left side for a double, making it a one-run game. Sherriff followed by falling behind Miguel Rojas, who subsequently hit a two-RBI single to right, putting Miami ahead for the first time.
Then in the eighth, Andrew Kittredge allowed what at the time was a Miami insurance run for a 4-2 lead.
Leading up to all that, however, Austin Meadows hit his second homer of the season, turning on an 86 mph Richard Bleier cutter and sending it 387 feet to right-field. Clearly, Meadows is on track to hit 162 home runs this season.
An inning later, Manuel Margot welcomed former Ray, John Curtiss to Miami with a deep blast to left, putting Tampa Bay up 2-0.
Everything changed in the Rays’ half of the ninth though. Tampa Bay started a rally that would net them four runs across a 12 pitch stretch, resulting in the go-ahead lead. It all started with one out when Brandon Lowe dunked a one-out single to center against Anthony Bass. Diaz was the next man up, and he laced a single through the middle to put the tying runs aboard. After Joey Wendle fell down in the count 1-2, he drilled a three-run blast to right for a one-run advantage. They weren’t done.
Margot followed by ripping a triple to left-center on the very next pitch. He ultimately came around to score on Francisco Mejia’s sacrifice-fly to right, capping the scoring.
Not-closer Diego Castillo followed with a 14-pitch ninth, working around a single for his second consecutive save. Rays win, 6-4!
The New What Next
The pitching tandem of Rich Hill and Chris Archer will get the start in the series finale on Saturday, pitching opposite of Elieser Hernandez.
Rich Hill allowed three earned runs on five hits, two walks, and a hit batsman during an outing last Monday, although he came away pleased after seeing an uptick in his fastball velocity. He also got some whiffs on his curveball during his five-frame outing. The left-hander and Archer are likely to be separated and make conventional starts in their second turns through the rotation. Hill is 2-1 with a 4.67 ERA in three career starts against the Marlins.
Chris Archer allowed an earned run on a solo homer and also issued a walk over 3-1/3 innings in a win over the Twins last Wednesday. He struck out two. Archer worked up to 51 pitches (31 strikes, 61% strike rate) during that turn. The right-hander’s velocity hit 95 mph, and Archer reportedly came away satisfied with the performance of his changeup. Afterward, he threw 75 pitches in an intrasquad game on Monday. Rays skipper Kevin Cash spoke highly of Archer’s performance this spring, saying the team is “thrilled” with his work throughout the spring (1.35 ERA across 6-2/3 innings). Archer is 1-1 with a 3.19 ERA in five career starts against Miami.
Elieser Hernandez posted a 4.15 ERA and 12 K/BB across 8-2/3 innings (three Grapefruit League starts) this spring. This, after the 25-year-old recorded a 3.16 ERA and 1.01 WHIP over 25-2/3 frames last season. A caveat though, he rarely faced a batter three times through the order in 2020. Because of it, the Marlins are hoping the addition of a consistent changeup to his repertoire will allow him to take a big step forward in 2021. Hernandez relies primarily on a 92 mph four-seam fastball and a 79 mph slider, while also mixing in an 84 mph changeup and an 86 mph sinker.
You can read about the series in our preview — as well as the starting lineup and Noteworthiness — below.
Rays 4/3/21 Starting Lineup
- Meadows RF
- Margot LF
- Wendle 3B
- Diaz 1B
- Kiermaier CF
- Adames SS
- Zunino C
- Brosseau 2B
- Hill LHP
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