Rays’ bullpen closes the door on the Astros

by Gary Shelton on August 4, 2017 · 0 comments

in Baseball, general, Tampa Bay Rays

Souza drove in three runs to lead the Rays./JEFFREY S, KING

Souza drove in three runs to lead the Rays./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

Friday, 2 a.m.

Don't look now, but the Tampa Bay Rays seem to have turned their biggest flaw into one of their biggest threats.

Oh, what the heck. Go ahead. Look. There have been too many nights when the bullpen made you cover your eyes.

The bullpen of the Tampa Bay Rays was once known by the way they gripped the ball when they threw doubles. Recently, after three trades to fortify things, they are known by the zeroes they hang up.

Thursday night, the rebuilt Rays' bullpen was  at it again, hanging up five scoreless innings to help defeat the Houston Astros for the third straight night, 5-3.

 Content beyond this point is for members only.

Already a member? To view the rest of this column, sign in using the handy "Sign In" button located in the upper right corner of the GarySheltonSports.com blog (it's at the far right of the navigation bar under Gary's photo)!

Not a member? It's easy to subscribe so you can view the rest of this column and all other premium content on GarySheltonSports.com.

Boxberger threw two scoreless innings to get the win./ANDREW KRAMER

Boxberger threw two scoreless innings to get the win./JEFFREY S. KING

Brad Boxberger got the win and Alex Colome got his 33rd save to highlight the four-reliever outing. The Astros managed only two hits all night against the Rays' bullpen.

Over the last five games, the Rays' relievers have thrown 13 scoreless innings and allowed only five hits.

“I don't think Brad Boxberger has ever pitched that early, and I haven't asked him to go multiple innings,” Rays' manager Kevin Cash said.

Dickerson had three hits and a big play in left field./CARMEN MANDATO

Dickerson had three hits and a big play in left field./CARMEN MANDATO

“Those guys showed a lot, and that's why we won the ballgame. They were able to keep a good lineup quiet.”

The Rays traded for Sergio Romo, Steve Cishek and Dan Jennings just before the

deadline. But Thursday night's victory was because of holdovers. Boxberger threw two innings, Tommy Hunter had his 14th hold and Colome had his 33rd save.

The Rays got big nights from their corner outfielders. Corey Dickerson had three hits, and Steven Souza – still bothered by an injury — had a home run and a two-run double. In the seventh inning, Dickerson made a highlight-reel catch against Yuli Gurriel with runners at second and third to preserve the lead.

“They moved me up four or five steps to have the opportunity to throw out a runner at the plate,” Dickerson said. “I was trying to time it up, thinking I was going to have to jump. I covered enough ground so I didn't have to jump real high. I love trying to make an impact in the game.”

In Tommy Hunter's last 17 appearances, 16 have been scoreless./CARMEN MANDATO

In Tommy Hunter's last 17 appearances, 16 have been scoreless./CARMEN MANDATO

“Tremendous play,” Cash said. “Corey's defensive play has been outstanding.”

The victory kept the Rays within 3 ½ games of the division leading Red Sox, two games behind the Yankees. It also moved Tampa Bay to within one-half game of Kansas City for the second wild-card spot.

The Rays return home tonight to face Milwaukee. Rookie Jacob Faria pitches for the Rays against

Faria faces the Brewers' Brandon Woodruff in a 7:10 p.m. game at the Trop.

Colome saved his 33rd game Thursday night./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

Colome saved his 33rd game Thursday night./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

Share with:Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: