Adames, bullpen lead extra-inning victory for Rays

by Gary Shelton on May 30, 2019 · 4 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Rays

Adames enjoyed his walkoff./TIM WIRT

THURSDAY, 4 a.m.

Willy Adames was the last hero of the night. He was not the first.

Adames rose to the moment Wednesday night./TIM WIRT

Oh, this will be remembered as Adames’ game, all right. After all, he hit a bases-loaded, walkoff single to lead the Rays to their fifth straight win, a 4-3 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.

It was Adames who hit the ball to deep center field (the Jays were playing only two outfielders at the time). It was Adames who was flooded with Gatorade. It was Adames who the rest of the Rays players surrounded in their macho-off celebration.

Ah, but if you look closer, there were a couple of other escape artists who paved the way for the victory. Adames’ heroics aside, those were the two players who led the victory.

Garcia throws an arm around Adames./TIM WIRT

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Wood worked his way out of trouble twice./TIM WIRT

Start with relief pitcher Hunter Wood, the guy with the long-flowing locks.  It was Wood who inherited a bases-loaded, no out situation in the eighth inning after Jose Alvarado had yet another meltdown. Wood needed only five pitches to work out of the jam, getting a 4-2-3 double play and a flyout to center. In the ninth, he had two on and one out and escaped.

Castillo got out of trouble in the 11th./TIM WIRT

Then there was Diego Castillo, who got the win. Castillo worked his way out of a two-on, no one out spot of trouble in the bottom of the 11th.

“We left a lot of guys on base today, obviously, but Willy came up and capitalized,” said Rays’ manager Kevin Cash. “The reason he got to that pitch was how he laid off some tough pitches the first three. Slider, slider and then a fastball borderline down he laid off of, trying to get him to hit a ground ball with a five-man infield. Just a great at-bat by Willy.”

Still, if not for Wood, Adames never would have gotten to the plate.

“Hunter Wood’s performance was probably the MVP of the night,” Cash said. “The three innings of work that he provided and to ask a guy to come in, what was it, bases loaded with no outs? Pretty impressive for him. He’s still a young pitcher but kept his composure and made big pitch after big pitch and the defense behind him made some great plays.”

Lowe had a two-run double./TIM WIRT

It was the second career walk-off for Adames.

“It makes me excited,” Adames said. “I wanted that at-bat. They gave it to me and I’m glad that I was there for that opportunity. I was just trying to put in a good at-bat there and trying to get a good pitch up to hit to the outfield so (Andrew Velazquez) could score easily.

“The mentality was to see the ball up so I can drive it to the outfield. It feels amazing, man. Especially after that game I was having. It’s a little tough, but that’s going to happen. You’ve got to stay strong mentally.”

The Rays fell behind early after Lourdes Gurriel Jr. hit a two-run homer off of Blake Snell, who continues to search for a win. But Brandon Lowe’s two-run double gave the Rays the lead. Tommy Pham and Avi Garcia had three hits each, while Lowe and Austin Meadows each had two.

“They were just aggressive,” Snell said. “I should have known the curveball I threw to Gurriel – he’s a very aggressive hitter. So for me to try to first-pitch strike a curveball is pretty stupid.”

Pham had three hits for the Rays./TIM WIRT

It was the fifth time this season the Rays have played for a sweep. They had lost the other four.

“We wanted to win,” Cash said. “We put ourselves in a situation to do that. We were talking about it before the game in the dugout – find a way to win the game. It definitely was a little sketchy there for a while, but just impressed with the overall composure of our pitchers getting through some tough jams and the defense supporting behind them.”

Wood described his job simply.

“Just go out there and get outs,” he said. “Try to keep the runners on base. Do everything I can to keep the ballgame close.”

The Rays now are home against the hot Minnesota Twins. Tonight at 7:10 p.m., Charlie Morton will throw against Martin Perez.

Meadows continued to hit for the Rays./TIM WIRT


{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Larry Beller May 30, 2019 at 8:14 am

It’s official now that the Rays do not have an effective closer. Starting tonight against the Twins they are going to need one.

There is an experienced closer out there in free agency but with attendance being pathetically low what incentive does ownership have to spend more money? Stu Sternburg has said the low attendance has consequences and we will soon see that play out.


Gary Shelton May 30, 2019 at 10:01 am

The Rays aren’t a big organization to pay closers anyway. I think they’d rather have Keuchel if they could afford him. Alvarado has really disappointed lately, hasn’t he?


Larry Beller May 30, 2019 at 10:54 am

Alvarado is either in a slump or teams have figured out they just need to take more pitches that break out of the zone. Either way the Rays can’t trust him to close out games for now. Who will step up? I don’t think they have anybody so that’s why I’m expecting they would like to take a run at Kimbrel rather than Keuchel.

For me the back end of the bullpen is their Achilles heel going forward even though the stats may show otherwise. Going up against the better teams with the guys who have been closing for them is not going to be pretty.

Truthfully I’m not expecting either of those guys to be affordable for the Rays. And like I said with attendance at the Trop being at an all-time low who could blame them for not spending big bucks to add a player? That’s not what you usually hear me saying but the horrible attendance figures this year can’t be ignored.


Gary Shelton May 30, 2019 at 10:26 pm

I agree with you. I don’t think the Rays will pull the trigger on either guy. Too much money. They’ll kick the tires, but in the end, they won’t pay the market price. I think the Rays will try to mix and match Alvarado and Castillo, but Alvarado has been shaky. Still, he has a lot better stuff than Sergio Romo had last year. I’m still not convinced the Rays think as much of a closer as a position than we do.

The attendance is indeed sobering. I never would have thought it would be this bad.


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