Rays survive up-and-down game against Tigers

by Gary Shelton on July 10, 2018 · 4 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Rays

Robertson mobbed after his winning hit./JEFFREY S. KING

Robertson mobbed after his winning hit./JEFFREY S. KING

Tuesday, 4 a.m.

Robertson gave the Rays their fifth walkoff win./JEFFREY S. KING

Robertson gave the Rays their fifth walkoff win./JEFFREY S. KING

For most of the season, they have been subject to the rises and falls of baseball

There are days when you swear the Rays are better than they have played, that they could indeed muster a charge at the second wild-card berth. Then there are the days when the bats turn invisible, when they get lost on the base paths.

It is little wonder, in other words, that the Rays are a .500 team. They simply play like they're better than that, followed by streaks where they are worse.

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Field scores on a squeeze bunt by Carlos Gomez./JEFFREY S KING

Field scores on a squeeze bunt by Carlos Gomez./JEFFREY S KING

Then there was Monday night, when the Rays were both very good and very bad on the same night.

In the end, it was the good Rays who prevailed, as Daniel Robertson singled up the middle to drive in Kevin Kiermaier (who had tripled) with the winning run in bottom of the 10th inning against the Detroit Tigers. It was

Kevin Kiermaier lands on third after a triple in the 10th./JEFFREY S. KING

Kevin Kiermaier lands on third after a triple in the 10th./JEFFREY S. KING

the Rays' fifth walkoff victory, including their third in the last 11 home games.

Robertson led a 17-hit attack by the Rays, whose offense has scored 18 times in the last two games. But it came only after the Rays had lost leads of 5-0, of 7-3 and of 9-7.

The Rays are 30-1 when scoring at least five runs. They have won 57 straight when scoring at least eight.

Still, it almost didn't happen. The bullpen has been stellar lately, but no so much on Monday night. The team used nine pitchers, and five of them gave up at least a run.

Archer was rusty in his return to Rays./JEFFREY S. KING

Archer was rusty in his return to Rays./JEFFREY S. KING

Chris Archer returned to the lineup, but as manager Kevin Cash said, he looked "rusty." He lasted only 10 outs and gave up six hits. Matt Andriese got the win for pitching the 10th inning.

“Yeah, it’s surprising," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "We’ve talked about his command being so good. The first two pitches of the game almost hits a guy in the head. I think rusty is a fair term.”

Said Archer: “The first batter I was a little excited, but overall I think the biggest take- away is that I was healthy," Archer said. "They put a lot of balls

Hunter Wood has performed well for Rays./JEFFREY S. KING

Hunter Wood has performed well for Rays./JEFFREY S. KING

in play and they found holes and that’s unfortunate. The main thing is that I’m healthy and we won the game. That’s what I’m excited about right now

“It was awesome (being back). I wanted to never stop. It stinks that I gave up a few runs later in the game there, but I’m knocking some rust off and my stuff is going to get crisper and crisper and the results will be better next time.”

Robertson gave credit to Kiermaier for the 10th inning.

“I can’t give enough credit to KK to get that going," Robertson said. "Getting on third base there. Matt Duffy with the at-bat of the day. I don’t know how many pitches he saw, but he would get me enough pitches to know what that guy was doing. What an at-bat that was.

Ramos had two hits for Tampa Bay./JEFFREY S. KING

Ramos had two hits for Tampa Bay./JEFFREY S. KING

"At the end of the day I knew I had Ramos coming up behind me. I knew that they were going to try and attack me. When I was off a little bit on that safety bunt, I told myself get in the zone and just be short and simple to it and I was able to get one up the middle there.”

Scoring 10 runs felt good, Robertson said.

“It shows that our offense is there," Robertson said. "Our bullpen has been doing their thing. Pitching staff for us has been carrying us. For us to get ahead early, it is perfect. They came back, scored some runs on us and then for us to just keep fighting. ...Credit to everyone, the offense and the pitchers to keep it close there in the end.”

Robertson, Carlos Gomez and C.J. Cron all had three hits for the Rays.

Cron's three hits included a double./JEFFREY S. KING

Cron's three hits included a double./JEFFREY S. KING

“It feels good," Cron said. "It feels good to score nine runs back-to-back days. Actually we scored ten today. The pitchers have been unbelievable recently and it’s nice to give them some runs. Today we scored one more. It’s nice to finally pick them up.”

“I definitely feel a lot better, that’s for sure. I feel more comfortable up there. My timing is a lot better than it was a couple weeks ago. I feel good and hopefully I can just continue it.”

It was an uncharacteristic way to win for the Rays, who have ridden their pitching for most of the season.

"We didn’t do our best on the mound," Cash said. "But we've been on a pretty impressive run, so i think the guys are allowed a little bit of a  hiccup. It was nice to see the offense was there to pick them up."

The Rays play against the Tigers again tonight at 7:10 p.m.. Ryan Stanek pitches for the Rays against Detroit's Matthew Boyd.

Gomez added three hits for the Rays./JEFFREY S. KING

Gomez added three hits for the Rays./JEFFREY S. KING

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Bill MYERS July 10, 2018 at 9:47 am

Is this is an average team ? .500 is average! Right? Top of the bottom and bottom of the top. Well this is better than preseason projections when they had the “fire sale”. So what will it take for them to rise above .500? Better players added or better playing from the team on the field? GO RAYS!

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Gary Shelton July 10, 2018 at 6:10 pm

It’s certainly better than I thought they would be. I thought they might lose 100 games, and after a 1-8 start, I was sure of it. It’s a fun little team. I don’t think we need to worry about the playoffs, but it’s better than most of us thought.

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Bill MYERS July 11, 2018 at 12:18 am

No talk about playoffs this season but is there a core there that might make a “mix” for that “cake” if given the time? And these guys seem to have something of a family feeling and no one wants to take all the credit for the wins or put the blame for the losses on anyone. Can’t really put my finger on it but they seem different from other Rays teams somehow .

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Gary Shelton July 11, 2018 at 8:13 am

I don’t think there is enough for a core … yet. But when a few more kids graduate from the minors, there might be. Fox and Sanchez and Honeywell and a few others.

I wonder how fast the Rays knew that Mahtook and Shafer weren’t going to be stars. Somehow, Bauers and Adames feel different to me.

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