After a 6-5 loss to the Miami Marlins on Friday, the Tampa Bay Rays look to bounce back in game two of a three-game series tonight. Tampa Bay starts the day one game over .500 and a bit banged up.
After leading off last night’s contest with a hustle double, and subsequently coming around to score on Adeiny Hechavarria’s first inning base hit, Kevin Kiermaier left the ballgame with lingering soreness in his right foot, extending from a deep bone bruise he suffered at the start of April. Three-plus months — and a stint on the 60-day DL — later, the injury still has a grip on the centerfielder.
Kiermaier said he has had “good days and bad days,” since he injured his foot, although last night was pretty bad.
Today was the worst day I’ve had and I just felt like I wouldn’t give the team any justice by me possibly pushing this and making it worse than it is. Kiermaier said. For me it’s frustrating, because I haven’t been able to get rid of this. It’s a severe bone bruise, and they told me I might not be the same all year. Going on the 60-day DL, I thought I would get over it.
He had MRI on his foot and a cortisone shot this morning, and is expected to miss tonight and Sunday’s games, yet he expects to be “100 percent” by Monday when the Yankees come to town.
Nathan Eovaldi made just one mistake during his start last night, allowing a one-run homer to Derek Dietrich to tie the game at one. That score stood until the Marlins put up a five run seventh against Tampa Bay’s bullpen, which hasn’t been sharp since the start of the series with the Twins.
Diego Castillo took the mound in relief of Eovaldi and struck out JT Riddle to start the seventh inning. Yet Castillo issued two walks to Miami’s eight and nine hitters, Garrett Cooper and Cameron Maybin. With the left-handed Dietrich stepping into the batter’s box, Rays skipper Kevin Cash called upon southpaw Hoby Milner.
The left-hander got ahead of Dietrich before the outfielder unleashed a three-run shot to right field, his second of the game, giving Miami a three-run lead. After a walk of Brian Anderson, Milner allowed a double-cum-Little League homer to J.T. Realmuto, wherein Hechavarria and Daniel Robertson both committed errors when getting the ball back to the infield, extending the lead to five runs.
Tampa Bay put up a good fight, but came up a run short in a ninth inning rally. Carlos Gomez kicked things off with a one-out walk, which was followed by a Joey Wendle double to put a pair of runners into scoring position. Jesus Sucre was next, reaching on an error when Marlins hurler Javy Guerra bobbled a comebacker, found it, and then had the ball slip backwards out of his hand when he tried to make the throw.
With the bases “juiced,” Mallex Smith laced a base clearing triple into the right-centerfield gap, bringing Tampa Bay within a pair. A batter later, Smith scored on C.J. Cron’s sacrifice fly. The Rays put both the tying and winning runs on base after Hechavarria and Jake Bauers went back-to-back with a pair of two out singles, yet Robertson went down swinging against Adam Conley to end the game.
The Rays fell to 1-3 on the season against Miami, while they have allowed five runs or more in five consecutive games for the first time this season. They are just 1-4 during that stretch. Tampa Bay has also allowed 39 runs over the last five games, after giving up a total of 37 over the previous 15 contests.
The New What Next
Ryne Stanek (1-2, 2.08 ERA) will open the game for Tampa Bay, pitching opposite of Pablo Lopez (1-1, 6.35 ERA).
Ryne Stanek gave up a run in two innings his last time out against Minnesota, just the third run he’s allowed as an opener. Ryan Yarbrough (8-4, 3.61 ERA) could follow Stanek for the bulk of the innings.
Pablo Lopez gave up five runs on six hits and three walks while striking out six over six innings against the Brewers on Tuesday. He took the loss. The Brewers made their hits count in this one, as they were able to pummel Lopez early for the first big league loss of his short career. He settled down later on, not allowing a hit or a walk over his final four frames of work. This season Lopez has relied primarily on his 93 mph worm-killer sinker and a 93 mph four-seam fastball, while also mixing in a 78 mph curveball with slight glove-side movement, and a whiffy 86 mph changeup. All of his offerings boast natural sinking action.
You can read about the series in our preview.
Rays 7/21/18 Starting Lineup
— The Rays optioned Hoby Milner to Triple-A Durham and promoted OF prospect Justin Williams, who will wear No. 6. It is thought that Kiermaier being out through weekend adds to team’s need call Williams up to the bigs in his first Major League promotion.
— Marlins closer Kyle Barraclough was unavailable last night due to illness, and it’s unclear if he will be available this evening.
— How much stadium madness can you take?!
On Wednesday, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred gave one of his tri-yearly “state of the Stadium Saga” updates; preceded by one at the start of the season, and to be followed by one during the playoffs. It’s the same cycle every season, and will be until it’s not … rinse and repeat.
Manfred reiterated the same, saber-rattling threats, as well as tired blanket statements of praise for Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg:
I thought the design was innovative and well-suited to the Tampa Bay market, Manfred said. I think it was economically efficient.
…I am a fan of Mr. Sternberg’s creative ability and persuasive ability in terms of getting something done, I really am. I think he’s going to get this done.
Yet Manfred openly advocated for the use of public subsidies for the estimated $892-million facility, saying it is completely appropriate’ for business and “governmental entities” to participate in the financing, touting stadiums as “municipal assets” that are indicative of a region’s status.
Stadiums are municipal assets, Manfred said. They are indicative of a … region’s status kind of as a major league city, and participation either in terms of businesses or governmental entities in the financing of the stadium I continue to believe is completely appropriate.
Forget not, a funding mechanism to pay for the stadium is not in place, and there are less than 5-1/2 months left to figure out how to pay for the project.
Still, writers from the region’s loudest bullhorn in favor of a stadium, the Tampa Bay Times, sounded off following the commissioners presser.
Columnist Ernest Hooper wrote in favor of a publicly subsidized facility, saying,
With ingenuity, solutions can be found. …There always will be naysayers who dismiss every idea and every project with cynicism.
Some of Hooper’s suggestions?
What if the Rays built school district offices into its stadium, possibly allowing the district to sell its valuable downtown real estate and use the money to address its current budget deficits?
Yes, you read that correctly. Cooper suggests selling downtown real estate owned by the Hillsborough County School District, which, like most public school districts in the state of Florida, is facing a budget shortfall and cannot adequately pay it’s teachers. But fret not, the school board could have a shiny office overlooking left-centerfield, and teachers could pay a nominal fee to enter the facility. Perhaps DJ Kitty and Raymond could moonlight as campus security?
Neil deMause (Field of Schemes) pointed to another response to the press conference, this one a far more acerbic take by Times columnist Daniel Ruth,
…boggling at the $892 million price tag for what would be MLB’s smallest stadium at a time when “public transportation is barely above the level of rickshaws.” Then he closed with the suggestion that Tampa could build “a museum dedicated to the history of architectural renderings of all the stuff that’s never happened,” called “the Field of Schemes Institute of Higher Chutzpah.”
One of our very own attended last night’s game, and had his own take on Stadium Sagapacolypse 2018.
The most aesthetically pleasing facility in Major League Baseball? Clearly not — I’m willing to bet most homers would say the same. BUT, when the clouds are dark and imposing, this fabric big top assures that all 81 games will be played without risk of postponements, etc (well, with the exception of the occasional major tropical system). . I fully understand the valid reasoning behind the want of a new facility. Hell, my participation in #BaseballForever speaks to that. Yet I also acknowledge that there has been a push for a new stadium on the other side of the bay based on reasoning that attempts to correlate causation when, frankly, the facts don’t necessarily jive. I also tend to think with an $892-million price tag, paired with less than 5-1/2 months to figure out a funding apparatus, an Ybor stadium is nothing more than a pipe dream. Time will tell. . A new stadium will get built somewhere in the area in the near future. That is to say the #Rays aren’t going to move to Las Vegas, Portland, Charlotte or Montreal. The commissioner and the ownership may as well stop fanning those flames. In any case, until a REASONABLE stadium deal is in the table, let’s enjoy what we have, after all a subpar stadium and a scrappy team are way better than neither of the above. #RaysUp #TheTrop
All of this is headache inducing. Is it January yet?