It’s true what they say, you can’t win games if you don’t score runs. And as social media was alit with ruminations about Tim Beckham’s 4-for-4 night with Baltimore, the Tampa Bay Rays squandered scoring opportunities over the first four innings Friday night. It bears mentioning that one player — in this case Beckham — does not a team make, as the Orioles fell 5-2 in their contest.
The Rays found themselves with the bases loaded in the first and second innings, and with runners in scoring position in the third and seventh, yet they couldn’t capitalize on the opportunities and went 0-for-7 wRISP — allowing the pitching gems of Jacob Faria and Jose Alvarado to go by the wayside.
When the dust settled, Faria dropped his second game of the season after tossing an impressive 6 IP/4 H/1 ER/2 BB/9 K/104 pitches (65 strikes) outing, while Alvarado became the 83rd big league pitcher to throw an immaculate inning — the third Ray, joining Rafael Soriano (8/23/10) and Brad Boxberger (5/8/14).
Alvarado’s ninth inning last night? Immaculate. pic.twitter.com/fSGcEI7Q91
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) August 5, 2017
After the game, Rays manager Kevin Cash spoke (below) about some of the challenges ing facing a pitcher for the first time … a challenge they will have to overcome with Davies and Nelson starting Saturday and Sunday. Tampa Bay’s starters should keep them in the ball game, but will they be able to take advantage?
The New What Next
The Rays and Brewers will play the second game of the series on Saturday. Alex Cobb (9-7, 3.89 ERA, 4.42 FIP) will get the start for Tampa Bay, pitching opposite of Zach Davies (12-5, 4.42 ERA, 4.65 FIP).
Cobb posted his worst outing of the season on Monday, allowing eight runs on nine hits over three innings en route to a loss. He, however, is 5-3 with a 2.59 ERA in nine starts at the Trop this season.
Davies allowed three earned runs over seven innings in a loss to the Cubs on Sunday. A 4.42 ERA, 1.42 WHIP and 6.2 K/9 belie the fact that he has 12 wins on the season. Davies relies primarily on a 90 mph sinker with slight arm-side run, while also mixing in a 74 mph 12-6 curveball, an 80 mph changeup with slight arm-side fade, and an 87 mph cutter. Davies has been much better on the road season, performing to a 2.80 ERA away from Miller Park. Key Matchup: Wilson Ramos (3-6, RBI)
Rays 8/5/17 Starting Lineup
Souza Jr. RF
— Wilson Ramos is in the throes of an extended slump, collecting just four hits in his last 35 plate appearances. As for his power profile, part of the reason he was signed in the first place, you have to go all the way back to June 7 for his last home run. Perhaps it would be wise for Cash to lean on Jesus Sucre for a bit. After all, Sucre is slashing .248 BA/.268 OBP/.388 SLG/.656 OPS overall — not great, but better than The Buffalo — and more importantly, .343 BA/.341 OBP/.429 SLG/.770 OPS wRISP.
— I’m not saying correlation is causation, but … As Ryan Braun was heckled from the left-field stands in the bottom of the first inning, a Brewers fan (family in tow) got very uppity and tried to start a fight with those he was offended by. He was ultimately relocated to a “safe place” where he didn’t have to hear the infuriating chants of “Ryan Braun sucks,” or “Ryan Braun used PED’s.” I can see how the comments of someone, whom one has no personal connection with, could really affect one’s psyche.
It dawned on me: in all my years of attending baseball games, and having been around some pretty crappy fans (I’m looking at you Phillies Fanatics and MassHoles), it wasn’t until I took in a Rays/Brewers game that I witnessed something like this. Sure, I’ve been around heckles and slurs, and I’ve seen someone get the boot for throwing a perfectly good Cuban sandwich onto the field, but a Brewers fan trying to start a fight because of a “Ryan Braun used PED’s” chant? C’mon now!
— Jake Odorizzi made a rehab start with the Stone Crabs last night, going three innings in Dunedin, and allowing two runs on three hits. He fanned six.
Odorizzi said his back felt great during the rehab start, and he could hit all of his spots. The right-hander is set to rejoin the team after Monday’s off-day. The rotation will then be: Pruitt, Odorizzi, Faria, Cobb and Archer, with Odorizzi getting the start Wednesday against the Red Sox.