Despite coming back from a five run deficit, the Tampa Bay Rays couldn’t complete the three-game sweep of the Chicago White Sox, falling 6-5 in extra innings. On the bright side, the Rays have now scored at least five runs in eight of the last nine ballgames. For your reading pleasure a few, brief updates on this the first of three off-days over the next eight days.
— One bad inning by Erasmo Ramirez put the Rays into an early five run hole. However, Ramirez only allowed two base runners (hit, walk) for the duration of his start, giving the team an opportunity to chip away at Chicago’s lead.
Erasmo didn’t have much of an explanation for how he could pitch so badly to start the game, yet finish so strongly:
I didn’t execute. That’s what was happening in the first inning. After that inning everything was better. But … it was too late.
— One of the more odd plays in yesterday’s ballgame came in the 10th inning after Asdrubal Cabrera was struck on the side of the head by an errant throw from Curt Casali, which deflected off his glove. Cabrera was happy to report he was okay.
Cabrera fell to the ground in pain, allowing Adam Eaton to advance to third and eventually score the winning run. Cabrera initially stayed in the game, but was pulled from the game three batters later after he went to a knee in continued discomfort. Cabrera underwent testing at US Cellular Field, and the Rays concluded there was no concussion, only a contusion.
— Brad Boxberger was none too happy with the outcome of the series finale… With the winning run on third and one out, Rays manager Kevin Cash had Boxberger intentionally walk both Jose Abreu and Melky Cabrera to load the bases, thus increasing the opportunity to coax a double play. The strategy did not work, as Boxberger walked in the game winning run five pitches later.
The reliever said he didn’t want to do it that way, preferring to put on Abreu then face the lefty-swinging Cabrera with a base open:
I was already struggling to throw strikes, so I don’t really get walking Cabrera. But it’s not my choice. It’s not my call, so I can’t say anything at that point,I’m not going to overstep my boundaries. It’s the manager’s decision, and that’s what he wanted to do.
Walking the lefty to get to another righty, I wouldn’t see it in my game. With the way my changeup plays, I felt like I could get a ground ball (double play) with Melky running. Either that or just weak contact and keep the runner at third and get an out and be able to pitch out of it.
For his part Cash said walking Abreu and Cabrera was definitely the right move, and he would do it again even though he knew it put Boxberger in tough spot.
— Tampa Bay made the acquisition of Daniel Nava official following the game Wednesday, optioning OF Mikie Mahtook back to Triple-A Durham to make roster space for the 32 year-old outfielder. Team officials felt they needed a veteran bat to boost the lineup against right-handed pitching after trading David DeJesus, writes Marc Topkin (Tampa Bay Times), which led to the team’s claim of Nava off waivers yesterday. Part of the reason the Rays chose to act might be the upcoming stretch against primarily right-handed starters.
He does a nice job against right-handed pitching, said manager Kevin Cash. He makes pitchers work a lot.
Cash told the media that Nava has returned to switch-hitting after going exclusively left-handed for a while. His best season came in 2013, when he hit .303 with 12 homers, 66 RBI and an .832 OPS in 134 games.
— More on Nava… Ian Malinowski (DRaysBay) broke down the right-handed bat of Nava, finding that he is following a similar career path to that of former Rays OF/DH David DeJesus.
— Drew Smyly is expected to make at least two more rehab starts before rejoining the club. The first of those outings will come today (five innings/75 pitches), with a second one slated for Tuesday of next week. The team wouldn’t need a fifth starter until August 18, at which point Smyly could rejoin the rotation. His return will undoubtedly be a nice boost to the Rays, as the team is in need of rotation help at the moment after optioning Matt Moore to Triple-A Durham following some post Tommy John surgery struggles.
— Desmond Jennings went was 0-4 as the DH for the Bulls last night, and is 2-16 with two walks in his first five rehab games. That is, he’s picking up right where he left off before being placed on the DL.