Jake Faria put together a fourth consecutive quality start on Saturday for the Tampa Bay Rays, however, the bullpen allowed four runs to break open a tie game in the seventh. The Rays saw their three-game win streak come to an end with an 8–3 loss to the Baltimore Orioles.
Baltimore took an early three-run lead against Faria, who hadn’t allowed more than a run in his first three big league starts. Trey Mancini was hit by an 0–2 pitch in the second, then Wellington Castillo followed with a homer to left on a hanging 3–2 slider. It was the first homer Faria allowed this season (the first of two on the day). The Orioles extended the lead in the third on a two-out solo homer off the bat of Adam Jones, which eluded the leaping Mallex Smith.
Yet Faria followed with three scoreless innings, keeping the Rays in the game. Granted he was not as sharp as he had been his first three starts, however, a 1.35 ERA and 1.04 FIP aren’t sustainable over the long-term. And while his command wasn’t as crisp as it had been, it wasn’t terrible. In the end, he was undone by a hit batsman and a pair of long-balls on two mistake pitches. All told, Faria posted his fourth consecutive quality start on the back of a 6 IP/5 H/3 ER/1 BB/108 pitch (74 strikes) line. If that constitutes a bad start, I’ll gladly take it.
The Rays were able to come back from the deficit to tie the contest in the third. Mallex Smith got things started by earning a two out free pass against Dylan Bundy, and Corey Dickerson drilled the next pitch over the wall in right — just to the right of the Dan Johnson Game 162 commemorative seat — his 17th homer of the season.
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) June 24, 2017
Evan Longoria followed with a homer to right-center on the very next pitch — his 11th homer of the season.
Evan Longoria belts a solo shot to right field immediately after Corey Dickerson crushes a homer of his own, tying the game at 3
It was the 10th time this season the Rays hit back-to-back homers, setting a new club record.
Yet Bundy kept the Rays in check from there, allowing just two additional walks and a hit. He went seven innings and gave up three runs on five hits, while walking four and fanning eight. The Orioles ended their MLB record tying streak of having allowed five runs or more in 20 Consecutive games (Philadelphia 1924).
Jose Alvarado took over in the seventh and walked Seth Smith to start the frame, after falling behind 3–2. With only righties remaining in the lineup, Kevin Cash called upon Jumbo Diaz — who has the stuff, but not the consistency.
Manny Machado laid down a beautifully placed bunt single up the left side on the first pitch. After Jonathan Schoop struck out, both runners moved into scoring position on Adam Jones’ groundout to second. With two out, Mark Trumbo worked the count full before hitting a 3–2 hanging slider to left-center for a double, putting Baltimore back in front at 5–3. Mancini followed by sending a first-pitch fastball into the right field seats, capping the rally. The Rays began the bottom of the frame down by four, and the damage had been done on just four pitches.
Baltimore added an insurance run in the top of the eighth, off Diaz, by collecting a pair of bunt singles, before Machado drove home Joey Rickard on a sacrifice fly to deep center.
The New What Next
The Rays will look for meatloaf in the series finale Sunday afternoon. Jake Odorizzi (4-3, 3.78 ERA, 5.34 FIP) gets the start, opposite of Chris Tillman (1-5, 8.39 ERA, 6.52 FIP). Tampa Bay has won seven straight rubber matches, and is 8–1–3 over the team’s last 12 series.
Odorizzi equaled a season high in his seven inning start against Cincinnati his last time out. He, however, continued his stretch of games, where he allowed at least a homer to 10 games straight — one shy of a franchise record. The right-hander cruised through the first four innings, yet a solo home run by Scott Schebler in the fifth inning and a two-run shot from Scooter Gennett in the sixth left the Rays down by three when he departed after the seventh. Still, the right-hander delivered his second quality start in the last three outings and holds a respectable 3.78 ERA (but a bloated 5.34 FIP) for the season.
Tillman hasn’t earned a win since May 7, his first start of the season. The right-hander was pulled after he allowed five earned runs over four innings against Cleveland on Tuesday. After missing the first month of the season due to a shoulder issue, and then tossing five pristine innings in his 2017 debut, Tillman’s been nothing short of a dumpster fire. His ERA now stands at 8.39, and the only thing that’s kept him in the rotation is a lack of alternatives within the organization. The Rays have handed him a career 8-11 record and a 4.11 ERA in 25 starts. Key Matchups: Tim Beckham (1-4, RBI, BB), Peter Bourjos (1-2), Evan Longoria (19-63, 4 2B, 3B, 8 HR, 11 RBI, 5 BB), Logan Morrison (6-14, 2B, 3B, RBI, BB), Wilson Ramos (3-11, 2B, RBI, BB), Steven Souza Jr. (6-20, 2B, HR, 4 RBI, 3 BB)
Rays 6/25/17 Starting Lineup
— Kevin Cash announced that LHP Blake Snell will again be promoted from Triple-A Durham on Wednesday, while RHP Erasmo Ramirez will return to the bullpen, effective immediately — citing the need for a way to get the ball to Alex Colome.
#rays Cash said they need Ramirez in the pen to find a way to get the ball to Colome
— Roger Mooney (@RogerMooney50) June 25, 2017
The Rays will make a corresponding move Wednesday.
Snell has been great since being optioned back to Durham on May 13. In seven starts with the Bulls, the southpaw has hurled 44 innings of 2.66 ERA/3.07 FIP baseball, while striking out 61 and walking 15 — that’s effectively a 4-to-1 K/BB if you’re keeping track. He’s thrown at least six innings in five of those seven starts.
Ramirez, reportedly, was not pleased by the decision and declined to talk about the move this morning with the media.