Good times for a change
See, the luck I’ve had
Can make a good man
— Steven Patrick Morrissey, the Smiths
On Tuesday night, the Tampa Bay Rays snapped their four-game losing streak with a momentum building 6-4 win against the Toronto Blue Jays. Southpaw Blake Snell finally earned his first win of the season, while Wilson Ramos hit his second homer in as many days.
Tampa Bay got on the board in the third inning following Daniel Robertson’s leadoff single to center. Two batters later, Lucas Duda sent a first-pitch hanging changeup, over the inner third of the plate, into right field to put the Rays up by one.
— TheRenderMLB (@TheRenderMLB_) August 15, 2017
Prior to the ball game, Wilson Ramos spoke about making a tweak in his batting stance, and how he was starting to feel better at the plate — something his solo homer on Monday hinted at. There must be some truth to what he said, because on Tuesday night he made it back-to-back games with a home run after he lashed a fourth-inning liner just over the wall in left field.
— TheRenderMLB (@TheRenderMLB_) August 16, 2017
Ramos continued to collect hits, and consequently went 3-4 with a run, an RBI and a walk. Perhaps it is a sign of things to come in the latter half of the season from the backstop … and none to soon.
Then two batters after Adeiny Hechavarria doubled to right, Corey Dickerson sent an RBI single to deep center, plating the Rays fourth run of the night.
Tampa Bay added to its lead an inning later, thanks in part to Marco Estrada’s lack of command. After Ramos, Logan Morrison, and Steven Souza Jr. hit three singles to load the bases, Estrada walked Adeiny Hechavarria on four pitches to drive in a run. The right-hander followed that with another RBI walk, this time to Robertson, scoring the Rays sixth run.
All told, the Rays scored six runs on 13 hits, five walks, and two errors. Equally as important though Morrison, Souza, Ramos and Robertson each put together multi-hit games. The Rays are just a month removed from being one of baseballs top five run scoring teams, and perhaps this is a harbinger of good things to come.
On the mound, Snell worked to a 6 IP/4 ER/7 H/1 BB/4 K line, which doesn’t look too impressive until you dig a little deeper.
The first run against Snell came on a weak blooper that dropped between Souza and Smith, which took a strange bounce off the turf and was misplayed by the duo — allowed Steve Pearce to score from first. The gaffe, though technically not an error, gives credence to the idea that both Souza and Smith are not only pressing at the plate, but also in the field.
From there the left-hander locked it in, forcing weak contact while keeping hitters off balance with his mix of pitches, including some particularly deadly off-speed stuff. As with his previous start, Snell played off his live fastball (53 thrown, 32 strikes), then followed with a pretty good changeup (30 thrown, 21 strikes) — both of which he moved around the zone.
Things got hairy for Snell in the bottom of the fifth. After Darwin Barney hit a single up the middle, and Jose Bautista looped a double into right, the red hot Josh Donaldson took him deep to right field on a fastball on the outside corner of the plate.
— TheRenderMLB (@TheRenderMLB_) August 16, 2017
Credit Donaldson for being able to power a pitch on the periphery of the zone.
Yet Snell limited the damage, and got out of the inning with the lead intact. He came back out in the sixth inning and worked around an awkward catcher’s interference call on Ramos to throw his fourth goose egg upon the scoreboard.
Watching the replay twice, I saw no contact of Ramos’ glove with the bat. #Rays
— WDAE (@620wdae) August 16, 2017
Steve Cishek, Tommy Hunter and Alex Colome held Toronto scoreless over the final three frames, working to a combined 3 IP/1 H/2 K line.
The Rays won a must win game, 6-4, and look to build on the W Wednesday night.
The New What Next
Jacob Faria (5-3, 3.19 ERA, 3.63 FIP) will take the mound for the Rays, pitching opposite of Marcus Stroman (10-6, 3.00 ERA, 3.75 FIP).
Faria was perfect through the front four innings against Cleveland on Friday, before he allowed a career-high five runs — on a homer and four horrendous fielding gaffes by Wilson Ramos and Logan Morrison, Evan Longoria, and Brad Miller. It was just the second time in his previous 12 big league starts that he’s allowed more than three runs. He has gone six or more innings in 10 of those starts.
Stroman was excellent his last time out, although poor defense led to four unearned runs. The right-hander gave up all four runs in the third inning against Pittsburgh, but he shut the Pirates’ bats down the rest of the way. After struggling over a pair of recent starts, he’s allowed just two earned runs over his last 14-2/3 innings of work to lower his ERA from 3.19 to 3.00. Overall, he has generated a huge ground ball rate with his sinking fastball, and he is capable of working deeply into each game. The Rays couldn’t get much started against Stroman in two starts against Tampa Bay this season, tagging him for just three runs over 13-2/3 innings. Key Matchups: Peter Bourjos (2-3, 3B), Corey Dickerson (6-21, 2 2B, 2 HR, 3 RBI, BB), Evan Longoria (9-27, 2 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 2 BB), Steven Souza Jr. (5-15, 2B, 2 BB)
Rays 8/16/17 Starting Lineup
— Kevin Kiermaier (hip, back) went 0-3 with a strikeout while playing five innings for advanced Class-A Charlotte in his return to rehab. He is eyeing a return to the big league squad this weekend.
— Alex Cobb (turf toe) reportedly felt better playing catch at Tropicana Field and will throw a bullpen session on Wednesday. If all goes as planned, he could rejoin the starting rotation next week.
— Matt Andriese (hip) will make the second rehab start Friday with the Stone Crabs in Port Charlotte. He is slated to make one more after that.