Charlie Morton came up big Wednesday night, throwing seven shutout innings on just 83 pitches (55 strikes, 66% strike rate) against Detroit. The Tampa Bay Rays were able to snap their four-game losing skid with a 4-0 shutout against the Tigers.
Morton scattered five hits while striking out eight and walking none, and only allowed one runner to get as far as third base, which came in the fourth inning.
Brandon Dixon singled to right with two outs, then went to third on a base hit to right-center by Harold Castro. Castro swiped second but Morton struck out John Hicks looking to end the threat. Interestingly enough, 16 of the 21 runs allowed by Morton came with two outs, so there was a strong possibility that this particular threat could have ended miserably, yet Morton — staked to just a one-run lead — came up big when he was needed to.
The right-hander now has delivered three consecutive quality starts, seven on the season, while working to a 2.30 ERA and a 3.37 K/BB across 74-1/3 innings.
Meanwhile, Tampa Bay got on the board in the third inning when Austin Meadows tripled to center off Spencer Turnbull and scored on an errant relay throw by second baseman Castro — otherwise known as a Little League home run (the second for the Rays in as many weeks).
They threatened to put a crooked number on the board in the inning after Yandy Diaz hit a hard single off the wall in right, and Brandon Lowe was hit by a pitch. However, Avisail Garcia struck out and Willy Adames grounded out to end to the threat. The Rays went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position overall.
Even so, the Rays were able to add to their lead in the fifth inning after Diaz worked a one-out walk and Garcia drove him home on a two-out RBI double to left field. Ji-Man Choi followed by lining an RBI single to center — the only wRISP hit — scoring Garcia and putting the Rays up by three.
Tampa Bay capped the scoring in the eighth inning on Detroit’s fourth error of the game. With runners on first and second, Castro threw wide of first as he tried to complete a routine double play on a ball hit by Diaz. That allowed pinch-runner Guillermo Heredia to score an insurance run.
Oliver Drake took over for Morton in the eighth inning and completed the shutout by throwing two scoreless frames while striking out one.
The New What Next
The Rays look to win two of three with opener Ryne Stanek (0-1, 2.78 ERA) on the mound. He will be followed by left-hander Jalen Beeks (4-0, 3.02 ERA). They will be opposed by Daniel Norris (2-4, 4.58 ERA) for Detroit.
Ryne Stanek hasn’t pitched since he allowed one run on four hits over two innings in Friday’s loss to the Twins. Still, the 27-year-old has a 1.73 ERA, 0.89 WHIP and a 5.8 K/BB across 26 innings in the opening role this season.
Jalen Beeks allowed two runs on four hits and a walk while striking out three across 3-1/3 innings on Friday. Beeks cruised through his first two innings of work before getting roughed up in the fifth, yielding two runs on a pair of hits. Still, the 25-year-old southpaw has been solid out of the bulk inning role this season, posting a 3.02 ERA with 43 strikeouts in 44-2/3 innings of work.
Daniel Norris allowed six runs (five earned) across 5-1/3 innings on Saturday. He fanned four and walked two. Norris kept Atlanta off the board for the first three innings before he allowed two runs in each of the next two frames. He carries a 4.58 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, and 2.8 K/BB into the series finale on Thursday. He relies primarily on a 91 mph four-seam fastball, and an 84 mph slider with short glove-side cut, while also mixing in a whiffy 85 mph changeup that dives down out of the zone, a whiffy 91 mph sinker, and a 77 mph curveball with exceptional bite. Norris is 1-1 with a 3.97 ERA in four career starts against Tampa Bay. Key Matchups: Avisail Garcia (2-8, 2 BB), Guillermo Heredia (5-8, HR, 3 RBI), Kevin Kiermaier (1-2, RBI), Daniel Robertson (2-5, 2 RBI, BB)
You can read about the series in our preview, while the starting lineup and Noeworthiness are below.
Rays 6/6/19 Starting Lineup
- Diaz 1B
- Pham DH
- Meadows LF
- Garcia RF
- Adames SS
- Arroyo 3B
- Kiermaier CF
- d’Arnaud C
- Robertson 2B
- Stanek Opener
— Joey Wendle (fractured wrist) will likely play his first rehab game for the Charlotte Stone Crabs today. Wendle should be able to rejoin the Rays during the upcoming homestand.
— Michael Perez was the DH for the Stone Crabs in his first rehab game yesterday.