The Tampa Bay Rays got off the schneid in a big way Friday night. With a historically left-handed lineup in tow, The Rays tagged Boston for 11 runs on 12 hits and two walks, subsequently defeating the Red Sox 11-1.
With the win, the Rays extended their lead over the Blue Jays to 4-1/2 games in the American League East. They enter play with a 100% chance of a postseason berth (96.1% chance of a division title) according to FanGraphs, while their magic number has been whittled down to nine (12 to win the AL East) with 15 games left to play.
Blake Snell got the start Friday night and fired off 5-1/3 scoreless innings, allowing five hits, and two walks while striking out five on 103 pitches (62 strikes, 60% strike rate, 24% SwStr%). Snell bounced back with a sharp performance against Boston, albeit one filled with deep counts — the left-hander found himself in seven full count situations which limited his ability to pitch deep in the ball game. That being said, it was Snell’s first scoreless start in nearly a month and he now carries a 3.23 ERA/4.37 FIP and a 3.57 K/BB over 39 innings on the season.
On the offensive side of things, after right-hander Andrew Triggs threw a scoreless first inning, left-hander Matt Hall entered in the bottom of the next frame. And after working a seven-pitch at-bat, Yoshi Tsutsugo crushed the eighth pitch into the ray tank for a 1-0 lead. It was his seventh homer of the season.
Two innings later, Tampa Bay scored all the runs they would need after Joey Wendle singled to left. Brandon Lowe followed with his second hit of the game, a base hit to center to put two on. After Wendle and Lowe executed a double steal, Kevin Kiermaier hit an RBI groundout for a two-run advantage.
Even though two runs was all they technically needed, the Rays weren’t done scoring runs…and we are all better for it.
In the fourth inning, Nate Lowe sparked a rally on a one-out base hit to left. After Michael Perez walked, advancing Lowe 90 feet, Austin Meadows doubled to right-center, scoring a pair of runs.
Then in the sixth inning, Nate Lowe homered to right off Domingo Tapia — his first home run of the season.
After Pete Fairbanks got out of a two-on, one-out jam in the sixth inning in relief of Snell, John Curtiss threw a scoreless seventh. In the home half of the frame, Robinson Leyer walked a pair of batters before Tsutsugo singled home a run, putting the Rays up by six.
Nate Lowe struck again in what should be billed as “his return to form at the plate,” lashing a three-run homer to into the Game 162 Landing, consequently chasing Leyer and giving the Rays a commanding 9-0 lead.
Ryan Sherriff worked the top half of the eighth before the Rays continued to plate runs in the bottom of the frame, scoring twice more. After Choi doubled to right-center, scoring Wendle (who also reached on a double), Kiermaier capped the scoring on his second RBI groundout of the game.
Boston was able to prevent a shutout in the ninth inning, yet by that point, it was too late. Aaron Loup allowed a run on back-to-back doubles to Jackie Bradley Jr. and Bobby Dalbec. Yet former Ray Christian Arroyo struck out looking, and Alex Verdugo grounded out to Brandon Lowe, who punctuated the put-out with a beautiful diving stop at second to end the game.
The New What Next
Tyler Glasnow (2-1, 4.35 ERA) will get the start Saturday, pitching opposite of Nathan Eovaldi (2-2, 4.98 ERA) who, surprisingly, is coming off the Injured List. Who would’ve guessed?
Tyler Glasnow battled a migraine in Sunday’s game against the Marlins. Glasnow allowed three runs on four hits and three walks across 5-1/3 innings. He struck out nine on 105 pitches. He has now struck out at least eight in each of his last five starts and will take a 4.35 ERA into his start against Boston on Friday. The Red Sox beat up on Glasnow on August 13, tagging him five runs on eight hits and two walks, although they struck out eight times.
Nathan Eovaldi will be activated from the IL after missing just under two weeks with the mild calf strain. Prior to being shelved, Eovaldi hurled seven frames and allowed one run on five hits and one walk while striking out six against the Orioles. The right-hander threw 64 of 97 pitches for strikes (66% strike rate) while walking less than two batters for the fifth time in six starts. His lone blemish was a solo home run served up to Pat Valaika in the seventh inning. Eovaldi will return to the mound with a 4.98 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, and 5.5 K/BB. The one-time Ray gave up four runs on six hits and a walk across five innings of work in his lone start against his former team on August 4.
You can read about the series in our preview, while the starting lineup and Noteworthiness are below.
Rays 9/12/20 Starting Lineup
- Meadows LF
- B. Lowe 2B
- Arozarena RF
- Choi DH
- Wendle 3B
- Adames SS
- N. Lowe 1B
- Margot CF
- Perez C
— The team could make a roster move before Saturday’s ball game as Oliver Drake (bicep tendinitis) is ready to be activated from the IL. The right-handed LOOGY has been sidelined since August 8th. The Rays are currently carrying 13 pitchers and 15 position players. Tampa Bay has another off-day on Monday, but after that, they may need more pitching given that they will play 10 games (including a doubleheader) in nine days.
— The Rays have acquired outfielder Michael Gigliotti from Kansas City (as a PTBNL) to complete a deal involving Rule 5 pick Stephen Woods Jr. Gigliotti will join the 60-man player pool. To make room for Gigliotti, INF Pedro Martinez has been placed on the Covid-19 related IL while he completes intake protocols.