Jacob Faria battled through six innings to earn his sixth consecutive quality start on Thursday, while the Tampa Bay Rays came from behind to beat Chris Sale and the Red Sox 4–1. Wilson Ramos doubled, homered, drove in three of the Rays’ four runs, and threw out two runners on the bases.
Boston an early lead in the third inning after Tzu-Wei Lin, the number nine hitter, earned a leadoff walk against Faria to start the inning. Dustin Pedroia moved Lin to third on a one out single to center before Deven Marrero — who entered the game after Xander Bogaerts was hit by a pitch in the top of the inning — hit a sac fly to left.
Lacking pitch perfect command, Faria battled from that point forward, and kept the Red Sox off the board. The right-hander — who walked just five batters all season — walked four Red Sox, hit a batter, and posted just one perfect inning. And though Faria threw just 57 of 97 pitches for strikes (59% strike percentage), while notching just a pair of strikeouts, he buckled down when he needed to and held Boston’s productive offense to to 0-5 with runners in scoring position.
It doesn’t hurt that Faris was aided by Ramos, who threw out Andrew Benintendi trying to steal swipe second in the second, and then Lin trying to advance to third on a ball in the dirt to end the fifth.
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) July 7, 2017
Meanwhile, the Rays took the lead in the middle innings after Chris Sale stranded runners in scoring position in the second and third innings. Logan Morrison got things started when he blooped a one-out single to center in the fourth. Ramos followed with his first RBI of the night on a double to left-centerfield, scoring a rumbling Morrison all the way from first to pull even with Boston at one apiece.
Wilson Ramos laces an RBI double to left-center field to plate Logan Morrison, knotting the score at 1 in the bottom of the 4th inning
Then in the fifth inning, Peter Bourjos gave the Rays a one-run lead when he homered into the left field corner, his fourth of the season.
Peter Bourjos drives a solo home run to left, giving the Rays a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the 5th inning
Tampa Bay tacked on a pair of runs in the sixth, after Evan Longoria doubled down the left field line, then moved into third on Morrison’s productive groundout to first. Finally, Ramos capped the scoring by drilling a two-run missile into left-center for a 4–1 lead. It was Ramos’ third home run with Tampa Bay.
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) July 7, 2017
Brad Boxberger took over in the seventh and followed with a perfect frame. Boxberger has been excellent since his activation from the DL. He has commanded his pitches well, and his off-speed stuff looks crisp.
Tommy Hunter took over in the eighth and worked around a leadoff error of his own to pitch a scoreless frame.
— X-Rays Spex (@XRaysSpex) July 7, 2017
Finally Alex El Coballo Colome, who previously allowed runs in five consecutive appearances (extending back to June 17), allowed just a two-out single in the ninth en route to his 23rd save.
The New What Next
Game two of the four-game set is tonight. Jake Odorizzi (5-3, 4.08 ERA, 5.51 FIP) will get the start opposite left-hander Drew Pomeranz (8-4, 3.64 ERA, 3.63 FIP).
Odorizzi has remained competitive in spite of a mechanical hiccup. He picked up his fifth win of the season on Saturday in Baltimore, where he allowed three runs over five innings. Odorizzi was provided 10 runs of support and easily cruised to victory while throwing an inefficient 111 pitches in just five innings (an average of 22.2 pitches per inning). Odorizzi has given up exactly three earned runs in five of his last six outings, although a rather beefy 5.51 FIP belies his overall 4.08 ERA. He is 3-2 with a 3.60 ERA at the Trop this season, where he’s averaged just over six innings of work per start.
Pomeranz held Toronto to one run over six innings in his last start. Pomeranz scattered baserunners throughout his start and never faced any real danger aside from a second inning sac-fly from Steve Pearce. Thanks to that outing, along with his previous start against the Twins, the southpaw has lowered his season ERA to the lowest point it’s been since early April. Pomeranz has gone at least five innings with two earned runs or fewer allowed in seven of his last eight starts. The Rays have had success against Pomeranz this season, tagging him for seven runs over two starts — a total of 7-1/3 innings of work. Key Matchups: Tim Beckham (2-4, HR, RBI, BB), Corey Dickerson (3-12, 3B, HR, RBI), Brad Miller (7-16, 2B, 3B, HR, 5 RBI, BB), Logan Morrison (2-8)
Rays 7/7/17 Starting Lineup
— It appears that Rays skipper Kevin Cash may play a larger role in this year’s All-Star Game. Per Zach Meisel (Cleveland.com), Terry Francona underwent a heart procedure at the Cleveland Clinic on Thursday to correct an irregular heartbeat. He will miss the All-Star Game, and is expected to rejoin the club after the All-Star Break. Indians bench coach Brad Mills, who has been filling in for Francona, will manage the American League team.
Joining Mills and the rest of Cleveland’s coaching staff will be Cash. Joe Torre, the league’s chief baseball officer, called Francona earlier this week and asked if he wanted to add Rays manager Kevin Cash to the mix.
I was like, ‘Hell, yeah,’ Francona said. He’s going to be on the staff, too. That makes it even more special because Cash knows all these guys and me.
The Rays’ manager served as the Indians’ bullpen coach from 2013-14.
— The Rays announced that Chris Archer will be joining Cash and Corey Dickerson in Miami.
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) July 7, 2017
Archer was added as a replacement player on Friday, which is an interesting move since he is starting Sunday, and most pitchers who work on Sunday are not available for the game Tuesday night. He, however, is scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Tuesday, so the All-Star appearance will supplant that.
Archer sports a 7-5 record and a 3.95 ERA on the season, however, as Daniel Russell (DRaysBay) noted, a further look at the numbers reveal an All-Star season has been in the making:
Archer has the 4th lowest FIP (3.03), 3rd highest K/9 (10.75), and third highest overall strikeout rate (28.6%) in the American League. Best of all, his 3.2 WAR is 2nd only to Chris Sale in the American League.
— Brad Miller was taken out Durham’s lineup on Thursday, and he is headed back to St. Petersburg this evening. To make room on the active roster, the team in turn placed Tim Beckham on the 10-day DL retroactive to yesterday. As for Beckham, with the All-Star Break looming, he could miss only six games: the remaining three against Boston, and the first two against the Angels in Anaheim.
— I’ve posted this twice now, but in light of the +23,000 fans that attended last night’s ball-game, it’s worth a third time. Hell, I may post it twice more after this!
Rays fans, it was incredible to witness an average of +40,000 fans turn out the last two days to watch the Rays battle the Cubs at Wrigley Field. It was loud and raucous, and it made me wish our home games were again like that. Guess what? The Tampa Bay Rays are in contention, and they deserve your support.
Personally, I traveled from St. Petersburg to Chicago — almost 2,000 miles, mind you — to attend the series. From there, it took me 45 minutes to travel from Bucktown (where I stayed) to Wrigleyville, by rail, and then back again. I didn’t complain when I was cramped like a sardine on the Blue and Red CTA Lines. Matter of fact, I hate being touched by strangers, although I remembered where I was and why, and I was thankful for the opportunity to watch may favorite baseball team take on the World Series champions some 2,000 miles from home — give or take 30 miles.
I wasn’t alone.
S/O to all the Rays fans who came out to support us in Chicago! Awesome to see! Big series at the Trop gonna need the place packed out!
— Steven Souza Jr. (@SouzaJr) July 5, 2017
Friends, Steven Souza Jr. is right! The upcoming series against Boston is HUGE, and the good guys can make up some ground in the AL East and postseason standings going into the break. They
want need it rockin’ and loud under the big top this weekend.
Not to pat myself on the back, but if I can literally stand on my feet for the better part of seven hours, from Tuesday morning into the late afternoon — including the ingress and egress into and out of the Friendly Confines, as well as the time spent standing in the bleacher section, under the centerfield scoreboard — then you can make the short or longer trek from wherever you live (be that in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee, etc) to the Trop, to root on our team.
Boo-hoo, the bridge is long.
Suck it up, and show up late if you have to.
But the traffic is terrible!
No shit! But it’s not Rays fault that the City of Tampa and/or FDOT designed an intentional bottleneck on the east side of the Howard Franklin Bridge, which makes it hard to get into and out of Hillsborough and Pinellas counties during rush hour. Pro tip: show up a little late, or take the Gandy Bridge, which has been made much quicker on the Pinellas side.
In the end, the players shouldn’t have to deal with the embarrassment associated with an apathetic fanbase. Quit making excuses, and get out to the Trop!