Yonny Chirinos tossed five hitless innings en route to the Tampa Bay Rays 8-3 win over the Toronto Blue Jays. The Rays (32-19) are 13 games over .500 for the first time this season and have won three in a row for the first time in May.
Chirinos had a nice afternoon, albeit one where he got a little help from his friends. In the second inning, Avisail Garcia caught a sinking line drive off the bat of Luke Maile. Then in the fourth, Kevin Kiermaier made an outstanding leaping catch in left-center, robbing Rowdy Tellez of a leadoff extra-base hit.
Chirinos, who was on a pitch limit, walked two batters and struck out seven on just 69 pitches (45 strikes, 65% strike rate). Both free passes came with two outs in the second inning, although he recovered to fan Jonathan Davis, to end the threat.
A couple of questions remain in the wake of Chirinos’ start. Should Kevin Cash have kept the right-hander in until he had given up a hit? Should Chirinos have been left in for at least one more inning so he could have qualified for a quality start? Yonny had given up more than two runs in a game just once this season, and he was staked to a four-run lead.
At the end of the day, however, Chirinos was on a 70-75 pitch count — so it was a given that he wasn’t going to pitch all nine innings — but even so, it was a little upsetting to see the hurler get such a quick hook…especially when he was cruising.
Meanwhile, after squandering a wRISP run-scoring chance in the first inning against Aaron Sanchez, the Rays scratched out the first run of the ballgame an inning later. Travis d’Arnaud singled to left with one out, moved into scoring position on Robertson’s ground out, and scored when Austin Meadows hit an RBI base hit to center field.
They pushed the lead to four in the fourth inning against Jacob Waguespack, who took over for Sanchez because of an avulsion to the nail on the middle finger on his pitching hand. D’Arnaud welcomed Waguespack with a double to right center. Two batters later, after a pair of strikeouts, Tommy Pham hit a ground ball through the middle to score a second wRISP run; Pham hustled his way into second on the play. Ji-Man Choi followed by looping a single to left which scored Pham for a three-run lead. That’s when things got interesting.
Choi advanced to second on the throw, and when catcher Luke Maile threw into second base, the ball went into right-center field. Choi came all the way around for a four-run lead on a Little League inside the park home run.
Oliver Drake and Chaz Roe took over — and combined for — a scoreless sixth. Yet Hunter Wood allowed a leadoff walk and a two-out homer to Davis in the seventh, cutting the Rays lead in half.
Then in the eighth inning, Jose Alvarado worked around a leadoff walk by getting Rowdy Tellez to ground into a 4-6-3 inning-ending double play. That was important, as Tampa Bay put the game away in the bottom of the frame.
Kiermaier beat out an infield hit against left-hander Zac Rosscup before d’Arnaud hit a ball that deflected off the hurler’s glove and into left-center for a double. Sam Gaviglio replaced the reliever, while Daniel Robertson welcomed him with a two-run double to left. Meadows capped the Rays scoring with a two-run blast to right, making it 8-2.
Adam Kolarek took over in the ninth and closed out the game, although he allowed a home run to Freddy Galvis. Even so, the Rays still out hit Toronto 14-4.
The New What Next
Tampa Bay will play game two of the series on Tuesday night. Ryne Stanek (0-1, 3.18 ERA) will open the game, and likely will be followed by Ryan Yarbrough (3-1, 6.38 ERA). They will be opposed by Clayton Richard (0-0, 2.25 ERA).
Ryne Stanek tossed 1-2/3 scoreless innings in his last appearance as an opener on Sunday, allowing two hits while striking out three.
Ryan Yarbrough limited Cleveland to two runs on four hits and a walk on Thursday while striking out four across 7-1/3 innings of work. Yarbrough looked sharp in his first start of the season after getting called up from Triple-A Durham, where he posted a solid 2.14 ERA through 21 innings of work. In his five previous appearances for the Rays this season, Yarbrough held an 8.10 ERA. The quality start on Thursday allowed him to lower his ERA to 6.38, with a 1.13 WHIP and a 3.6 K/BB.
Clayton Richard allowed one run on two hits and two walks across four innings on Thursday against the Red Sox. He struck out two. Richard made his season debut after recovering from an injury, and kept a dangerous Red Sox lineup in check, with the only blemish against him coming on a groundout in the third inning. The veteran was limited to just 54 pitches in what amounted to an efficient outing. He relies primarily on a 91 mph sinker with heavy sinking action and arm side run, and an 80 mph slider with exceptional depth. Key Matchup: Travis d’Arnaud (1-4, RBI)
You can read about the series in our preview, while the starting lineup and Noteworthiness are below.
Rays 5/28/19 Starting Lineup
- Garcia DH
- Pham LF
- Meadows RF
- Adames SS
- d’Arnaud C
- Robertson 3B
- Choi 1B
- Heredia CF
- Velasquez 2B
- Stanek RHP
— The Rays went 5-for-15 wRISP (.333 BA) and scored three two-out runs.
— Mike Zunino (quad) and Michael Perez (oblique) went through drills prior to Monday’s contest. Zunino will start a rehab stint tonight with the Charlotte Stone Crabs, while Perez could go on a rehab assignment within the next week.
Everything is going well (depending) on how everything bounces back and if it does, I think (joining the team in Detroit) could be a really realistic goal.— Mike Zunino
Perez took batting practice on Monday and told the media he feels about 90% to 95% healthy with his right oblique. He will catch live batting practice on Friday and then the team will make a decision. He could get into rehab games either on Saturday or Sunday.
— Joey Wendle took swings after the cast on his right hand was removed although there is still no timetable for his return. He did say his wrist is progressing well.
Today I took swings for the second time. I felt good compared to what it felt a couple of days ago. There’s still a little bit of discomfort, but I think that’s kind of par for the course of where we are. I kind of got word that the bone is stable, so I think I’m in a position to push it a little bit, but not too much.
I’ve been throwing to about 90 feet with a little velocity on it, and that felt pretty good, also. I’m definitely encouraged with how things are going.— Joey Wendle
— Even though he is eligible to return from the IL on Thursday, it isn’t yet certain when Yandy Diaz will return to the lineup.
He didn’t touch a bat for the Cleveland series. I would imagine he will check on it today, but if it’s still sore, he’s got some time so we don’t want to aggravate it, but hopefully, he continues to make progress. He says he is, but he hasn’t really tested it out.— Kevin Cash
Diaz, who took batting practice with the team today and still felt some discomfort, will need a short rehab stint before rejoining the team.
— Matt Duffy (hamstring) will see a specialist in the Dallas area — Dr. Daniel Cooper who performed surgery on Longoria among other pro athletes — on Wednesday about his injury. He told Marc Topkin (Tampa Bay Times) that he is not nervous about it being “crazy serious,” although he knows it’s clearly is not a “straightforward” hamstring strain. Duffy does not anticipate surgery and expects to play again this season.