The Tampa Bay Rays took an early 5-1 lead on Monday but proceeded to squander said lead. Nevertheless, they scored the final five runs of the contest en route to a 10-5 win over the Red Sox.
At 46-40 on the season, the Rays enter play six games over .500 and .5 games behind the Red Sox for the top Wildcard spot.
Matt Wisler opened the contest with a 1-2-3 first before Tampa Bay’s offense went to work in the bottom of the frame. Yandy Diaz, hitting in the leadoff spot, was hit by an 0-2 offspeed pitch, before Ji-Man Choi earned a full-count free pass. After Randy Arozarena went down swinging, Jonathan Aranda lined a single throught the right side of the infield; loading the bases for Josh Lowe, who looped an RBI single to center for a 2-0 lead.
Yet, Boston got a run back in the top of the second on an Alex Verdugo infield hit off bulk guy, Josh Fleming. However, Brett Phillips robbed Trevor Story of an RBI extra-base hit with a Superman-like diving catch in centerfield to preserve the lead. If you’re not going to consistently drive in runs, may as well save them, right?
Tampa Bay immediately added to their lead in the bottom of the frame.
Luke Raley patiently earned a full-count walk before Diaz lashed a two-out double into the left-field corner for the Rays’ third run of the game. Choi followed with an RBI single to left-center, extending the lead to three before Arozarena walked and Jonathan Aranda hit a single to right to score Choi on a “stop, drop, and roll” like slide, making it 5-1.
Even so, the Red Sox chipped away at the lead, scoring two in the third against Fleming on a JD Martinez double, and one in the fourth on a Jarren Duran single. Fleming ultimately left the game with right oblique tightness. The left-hander will undergo further testing Tuesday to determine the severity of the issue, although manager Kevin Cash stated that he is likely headed to the Injured List.
Xander Bogaerts’ also notched an RBI base hit in the fifth inning off reliever Luke Bard, tying the contest until the sixth. Be that as it may, stranded runners at second and third, fanning Franchy Cordero and ending the threat. Bard struck out Christian Vazquez with the lead runner at second in the sixth inning, following that up with a perfect seventh. Bard went three innings, allowing a run while walking one and striking out two.
Bard, Collin Poche, and Jason Adam did not allow another base runner for the rest of the game, quieting the Red Sox and allowing the Rays’ offense to take and extend the lead.
With Jake Diekman on the bump, Taylor Walls was hit with a breaking ball in the bottom of the sixth. After Brett Phillips lined out to left, Diaz doubled down the left-field line — shocker, I know — scoring Walls from first.
Then, pinch-hitting for Choi, Harold Ramirez did what he is wont to do — drive in a run on a base hit to right for a 7-5 lead. Ramirez is now hitting .500 (8-for-16) as a pinch-hitter.
Tampa Bay capped the scoring in the eighth inning, taking advantage of a pair of Boston misplays (one ruled a hit and the other an error) to score three unearned runs in the bottom of the frame. Diaz drove in his third run of the night on a sacrifice fly before Ramirez and Yu Chang collected RBI singles.
Tampa Bay is now 5-2 against Boston this season and collected 14 hits — three from Diaz, who drove in three runs — last night. Diaz is 12-for-20 (.600 BA) against Red Sox pitching this season. Meanwhile, Chang, who was designated for assignment twice this season before getting picked up by Tampa Bay, is 3-for-8 in a Rays uniform with an RBI. It’s also worth noting that Lowe has now reached base safely in five of his last six games on six hits (including a home run) and a walk, while driving in three and crossing the plate five times.
The New What Next
Corey Kluber (4-5, 3.62 ERA) will get the start Tuesday night, pitching opposite Chris Sale (last season 5-1, 3.16 ERA).
Corey Kluber allowed no runs on three hits while striking out five and walking none over six innings against Boston on Wednesday. Kluber was dominant in Wednesday’s win, throwing 57 of 80 pitches for strikes (71% strike rate) across six frames for his fifth quality start in his last eight games. He bounced back well after allowing five runs in three innings in his last appearance. The right-hander threw his fourth scoreless outing of the season and lowered his ERA to 3.62. Overall, he maintains a 3.43 FIP, with a 1.11 WHIP, and a 5.54 K/BB across 82.0 innings on the season. Kluber is 1-1 with a 3.27 ERA in two starts against Boston this season.
Chris Sale (rib) has been officially announced as the starter for Tuesday’s contest. Sale is finally ready to go after missing the first half of the season with a stress fracture in his rib cage. He was shaky in his final rehab outing, walking five batters across 3.2 innings of work, although the Red Sox decided he’s ready for his season debut. Expect some workload limitations early on in his return given that he topped out at four innings across his four rehab appearances. Last season, Sale performed to a 3.16 ERA and 3.69 FIP (career high), with a 1.34 WHIP (career high), and a 4.33 K/BB across 42.2 innings. The Rays had some success against Sale last season, tagging the left-hander for seven runs (three earned) on 16 hits across 9.2 innings. Over his career, Sale is 10-6 with a 2.93 ERA in 22 outings (20 starts) against Tampa Bay.
You can read about the series in our preview, while the starting lineup and Noteworthiness are below.
Rays 7/12/22 Starting Lineup
- Díaz DH
- Ramirez RF
- Bethancourt C
- Paredes 3B
- Arozarena LF
- Choi 1B
- Walls SS
- Chang 2B
- Phillips 2B
— Injury update:
Wander Franco (broken right hamate bone) was placed on the IL Sunday and will undergo surgery today to repair it. Franco will be out 5-8 weeks.
Kevin Kiermaier (hip) went on the IL Sunday and will see a hip specialist after the All-Star Break. According to Rays’ skipper Kevin Cash, Kiermaier is going to be “down for some time.”
Nick Anderson (right elbow surgery) is slated to throw live batting practice on July 12 and is aiming for a Florida Complex League appearance on July 26.
JT Chargois (left oblique tightness) is scheduled to throw his first live batting practice session in the Rays’ FCL on July 16.
Yonny Chirinos (right elbow surgery) has been throwing live batting practice and will get back into game action in the FCL on July 16.
Pete Fairbanks (torn right lat muscle) has been pitching in rehab games with Triple-A Durham and will appear in back-to-back games on July 13-14. Fairbanks could return this weekend or immediately after the break.
Brandon Lowe (lower back stress reaction) will play second base for Durham on July 12-13 and then DH on Thursday. From there, he will be reevaluated. The earliest Lowe could return to the Rays is July 16 — two days before the All-Star Break.
Brendan McKay (thoracic outlet syndrome decompression surgery) has been throwing live batting practice and is scheduled to pitch in the FCL League on July 16.
Luis Patiño (left oblique strain) played catch on July 11 and hopes to pitch off the mound between July 12-14.
— The Rays made several roster moves Tuesday, optioning Luke Bard to Triple-A Durham and placing Josh Fleming on the 15-day IL with right oblique tightness. In their place, Ralph Garza Jr. and Tommy Romero were recalled from Durham.