After an 8-3 loss against the Boston Red Sox on Friday, the Tampa Bay Rays will look to get on the winning side of the ledger against the top team in the AL East.
Tampa Bay (45-43) starts play today 5-1/2 games behind Boston in the AL East. In the wildcard, the Rays are a game behind the New York Yankees and the Minnesota Twins for the top wild card, and a half game behind the Kansas City Royals for the final playoff spot.
One positive from last night’s ball-game: 2B Brad Miller, who was batting .194 prior to his activation from the DL, returned to the fold with a bang. Miller doubled in his first at-bat and singled home a run in his second.
One negative from last night’s ball-game: Jake Odorizzi continues to give up home runs. Opposing batters have gone yard at least once in a team-record 13 straight starts, and 20 of his past 21 — five of those games were multi-homer affairs, like last night. Because of it, Odorizzi’s ERA has ballooned 3.14 to 4.39 overall, and he has performed to a 6.69 ERA over his last seven starts (extending back to June 2) that have lasted just 35 innings. In that time, he has allowed 59 baserunners, racked up a 1.66 WHIP, and has given up 11 homers.
It just got away from me, Odorizzi said following the game. Just one of those games that’s a (bad) game. I know I’ve been going not so good, so it stands out a little bit.
The fifth inning, when the right-hander retired the leadoff hitter then allowed the next four to reach, summed up his season thus far.
(I was) just trying to get a double play earlier on, just trying to make the perfect pitch, he said. I just need to do a better job of executing, and that’s kind of the first half in a nutshell.
The New What Next
Alex Cobb (6-6, 4.01 ERA, 4.22 FIP) will get the start in the penultimate game before the All-Star Break, opposite of Rick Porcello (4-10, 5.01 ERA, 4.21 FIP).
Cobb was done in by early home runs by the Orioles in his last start Sunday at Baltimore, although he managed to give Tampa Bay a bullpen saving 6-1/3 innings of work. Aside from that start, the right-hander has given up more than three runs just three times since the start of May (totaling 78-2/3 innings). Cobb’s usage of his split-changeup continues to evolve, as he leaned on it 16.05% of the time in June (up 8% from May), while it’s depth has improved — dropping an average of 7.37 inches before it reaches the plate. He’s 1-0 with a 5.56 ERA in two starts against Boston in 2017.
Porcello held the Rangers in check for most of his start against the Rangers Monday night before Craig Kimbrel blew the save. Be that as it may, the reigning Cy Young Award winner has given up at least three earned runs in seven consecutive starts, and has been treading water for most of the season. Tampa Bay finally figured the right-hander out, and has pounded him for 13 runs (11 earned) over 10-2/3 innings this season. Key Matchups: Tim Beckham (2-5, 2 RBI), Peter Bourjos (2-7), Corey Dickerson (8-25, 4 2B, HR, 3 RBI), Evan Longoria (13-50, 5 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 3 BB), Logan Morrison (10-27, 3 2B, HR, 5 RBI, Shane Peterson (1-2, HR, 2 RBI), Steven Souza Jr. (7-23, HR, RBI, BB)
Rays 7/8/17 Starting Lineup
Souza Jr. RF
— Tropicana Field, Saturday, July 22, #BaseballForever Night at the Trop 2017, do it! I’ll bring an extra special mixtape for all of you. Come to think of it, that’s a really great bad idea – I’m going to start a SoundCloud of terrible songs to share with everyone! I digress. You can find out more information about the event here.
— Fuck racism, and fuck anyone who says that confederate monuments are a celebration of (a failed) history, and not racism. If you’re too damned thin skinned to get past that opinion, kindly bugger off and don’t read this blog. Confederate monuments = monuments to scumbags and thieves.
Tampa Bay Rays support removing Confederate monument from downtown Tampa https://t.co/69NmtaTT1h
— Tampa Bay Times (@TB_Times) July 7, 2017
— Because I’m as much fan of consistency as Odorizzi*, I’m again posting the following sentiment.
Rays fans, it was incredible to witness an average of +40,000 fans turn out the last two days to watch the Rays battle the Cubs at Wrigley Field. It was loud and raucous, and it made me wish our home games were again like that. Guess what? The Tampa Bay Rays are in contention, and they deserve your support.
Personally, I traveled from St. Petersburg to Chicago — almost 2,000 miles, mind you — to attend the series. From there, it took me 45 minutes to travel from Bucktown (where I stayed) to Wrigleyville, by rail, and then back again. I didn’t complain when I was cramped like a sardine on the Blue and Red CTA Lines. Matter of fact, I hate being touched by strangers, although I remembered where I was and why, and I was thankful for the opportunity to watch may favorite baseball team take on the World Series champions some 2,000 miles from home — give or take 30 miles.
I wasn’t alone.
S/O to all the Rays fans who came out to support us in Chicago! Awesome to see! Big series at the Trop gonna need the place packed out!
— Steven Souza Jr. (@SouzaJr) July 5, 2017
Friends, Steven Souza Jr. is right! The upcoming series against Boston is HUGE, and the good guys can make up some ground in the AL East and postseason standings going into the break. They
want need it rockin’ and loud under the big top this weekend.
Not to pat myself on the back, but if I can literally stand on my feet for the better part of seven hours, from Tuesday morning into the late afternoon — including the ingress and egress into and out of the Friendly Confines, as well as the time spent standing in the bleacher section, under the centerfield scoreboard — then you can make the short or longer trek from wherever you live (be that in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee, etc) to the Trop, to root on our team.
Boo-hoo, the bridge is long.
Suck it up, and show up late if you have to.
But the traffic is terrible!
No shit! But it’s not Rays fault that the City of Tampa and/or FDOT designed an intentional bottleneck on the east side of the Howard Franklin Bridge, which makes it hard to get into and out of Hillsborough and Pinellas counties during rush hour. Pro tip: show up a little late, or take the Gandy Bridge, which has been made much quicker on the Pinellas side.
In the end, the players shouldn’t have to deal with the embarrassment associated with an apathetic fanbase. Quit making excuses, and get out to the Trop!
*You know, because Odo consistently gives up homers.