Jacob Faria put together a solid bounce back performance on Friday, tossing 5-1/3 innings of two-hit/one run ball, walking a pair of batters and punching out seven. However, the Tampa Bay Rays were held in check from the second inning on, and dropped another one-run decision — their seventh of the young season — to open a nine-game home stand.
The Rays took the initial lead in the second innning, starting with C.J. Cron, who lashed a base hit up the middle off Vince Velasquez. After being wild pitched to second, Cron scored on Mallex Smith’s single to left for a one-run advantage.
That, however, would cap the scoring for Tampa Bay.
Sure, the Rays had other chances to take advantage of the Phillies, yet they couldn’t capitalize on them. For example, poor base running bit them with two outs in the fourth. With Joey Wendle at first, Matt Duffy lifted a fly ball to right that dropped near the foul line. Duffy pulled up because he thought the ball was going to be caught by Aaron Altherr, but by the time he tried to go to second, it was too late — Duffy was thrown out before Wendle could cross the plate. Had Duffy held up, or gotten into a rundown, the Rays would have taken a two-run lead.
They also stranded runners at third in the seventh and eighth innings, each time with two outs.
The Phillies tied the game in the sixth inning against Faria and southpaw reliever Jose Alvarado. J.P. Crawford doubled to right-center with one out before Cesar Hernandez walked on four pitches, chasing the starter. The hard throwing Alvarado blew up Carlos Santana’s bat on the first pitch, yet his blooper dropped in front of Carlos Gomez, who misjudged the hit. The blooper bounced over his head and bounded away for an RBI single, tying the game at one. One defensive miscue was all it took.
Alvarado recovered to collect two strikeouts, sandwiched around an intentional walk of Rhys Hoskins, to keep the game knotted at one.
From there, Kevin Cash continued to lean on the Rays “A” bullpen until he couldn’t any longer. Chaz Roe worked a scoreless seventh, including a swinging strikeout of Scott Kingery, while Sergio Romo collected a pair of ground balls in a scoreless eighth.
A silver lining… @SergioRomo54
Last 15 appearances – 0.60 ERA
Rays career (31 apps) – 1.50 ERA pic.twitter.com/rPL1UeGYme
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) April 14, 2018
That set the stage for the ninth.
Alex Colome started the frame by striking out Nick Williams. However, Kingery doubled to left-center on an 0-2 pitch. Colome came back to strike Altherr out, yet Jorge Alfaro hit a ground ball off a diving Matt Duffy and into left for a seeing-eye single, giving the Phillies their first lead.
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) April 14, 2018
Colome struck out Crawford to end the inning, but not before the damage was done.
Phillies closer Hector Neris finished up a with a scoreless ninth inning, working around a two-out walk to Duffy.
Following the game, Rays manager Kevin Cash said Colome’s command wasn’t bad and the loss had more to do with missed opportunities. And to be fair, Cash had a point. After all, three of Colome’s four total strikeouts came last night. Still, the Rays have held a lead and lost seven times this season, the most in all of baseball. Moreover, nine of the Rays 13 games have been decided by one-run, yet they are 2-7 in one-run affairs. They have become the first team to play nine one-run games in their first 13 since the 1998 Phillies, and sixth since 1908 to play at least nine in their first 13.
When all is said and done, the 3-10 record is the worst 13-game start in franchise history. Happy 20th, Rays!
It was thought that there would be a lot of moving parts and experimentation with this being a rebuilding season. Though be that as it may, we haven’t seen any real changes from what has become the status quo. Perhaps it’s time to tinker with the machine?
The New What Next
The Rays look to bounce back tonight against Philadelphia. Chris Archer (1–0 5.94) will get the start, pitching opposite of Jake Arrieta (0-0, 4.50 ERA).
Chris Archer gave up four runs (three earned) on six hits and three walks while fanning eight batters over 5-2/3 innings in Monday’s 5-4 victory over the ChiSox. For the second consecutive game, Archer struck out eight batters in less than six innings of work. However, home runs remain an issue for the right-hander, as he gave up a two-run shot to Nicky Delmonico in the fifth inning. Over the first three games (16-2/3 innings) of the season, Archer has surrendered three home runs. It certainly doesn’t help that right-hander has leaned on his changeup just 5.7% of the time, relegating him to, effectively, a two-pitch hurler.
Jake Arrieta allowed three runs (two earned) on three hits and two walks while fanning five in his season debut on Sunday. Arrieta surrendered all of his earned runs in his first inning of work, then allowed just two baserunners thereafter. Thus far, he has relied primarily on a 92 mph sinker with obvious tailing action, while also mixing in a 79 mph biting curveball, and an 89 mph cutter. Key matchups: Matt Duffy (4-9, 3B), Carlos Gomez (3-10, HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB), Adeiny Hechavarria (2-5), Wilson Ramos (3-4, RBI, 2 BB), Mallex Smith (1-3)
You can read about the series in our preview (linked below):
Rays 4/14/18 Starting Lineup
— Johnny Field will make his first MLB start this afternoon, hitting ninth and playing in right-field.
— Food for (sarcastic) thought:
Fret not #Rays fans, Tampa Bay needs to win just 54% of its remaining 152 games to be a postseason contending team (81-of-152). Hell, they’ve already won 30% of their games, what’s another 30% on top of it?! TOTALLY DOABLE, am I right?
— X-Rays Spex (@XRaysSpex) April 14, 2018
Only 32 losses to give to get to 117-45, no big deal #RaysUp
— Stork (@mmcclure87) April 14, 2018