Font shuts down powerful Yankees again

by Gary Shelton on June 24, 2018 · 2 comments

in general

Font continued to pitch well for the Rays./STEVIE MUNCIE

Font continued to pitch well for the Rays./STEVIE MUNCIE

Sunday, 4 a.m.

Sometimes, it works out.

Sometimes, a player on his last chance finds a team that needs to give it to him. Sometimes, a team sifting through the garage finds someone worth saving.

Sometimes, a team and a pitcher can turn out to be the best things for each other.

Are you ready for this: Wilmer Font, emerging success.

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Willy Adames hit a home run for the Rays./STEVEN MUNCIE

Willy Adames hit a home run for the Rays./STEVEN MUNCIE

Who would have thought it? Not after two teams -- the Dodgers and the A's -- told Font to go away. Not after Font was looking for work with a 12.71 ERA. Who would have thought a player and a team would find success in each other?

Font won his first game as a Tampa Bay Saturday, going a career-long of 5 2/3 innings and dazzling the Yankees in a 4-0 victory. Font's first career win came 2,104 days after his major league debut back in September of 2012.

Kevin Kiermaier runs past 3rd on his way to home./STEVEN MUNICE

Kevin Kiermaier runs past 3rd on his way to home./STEVEN MUNICE

In his is last two outings, both against the Yankees, Font has an ERA of 0.81. His only run allowed in those two games was a solo homer by Aaron Hicks in New York last Sunday.

Since joining the Rays, Font is 1-1 with a 1.63 ERA and opponents are hitting .177 against him. Before he came to the Rays, teams were hitting .388 against him.

“Outstanding," Rays manager Kevin Cash said of Font. "To me that was the storyline as far as Wilmer Font’s performance. It’s funny how we acquire a guy who didn’t have much success early on this year. Numbers can kind of be misleading and I’m not saying he’s a finished product, but he’s really come over here and helped us in a big way. The confidence he’s shown on the mound.

Sergio Romo collected another save./STEVEN MUNICE

Sergio Romo collected another save./STEVEN MUNICE

"Today, I thought what allowed him to get as deep as he did was obviously the fastball, but then the changeup, changeup-split, whatever you want to call it, really showed up. He had some awkward-looking swings from some good hitters on that pitch. Kept his poise about him because it seemed like they did have some baserunners. They had some situations where they could have put him in some pressure situations, but he kept making pitches. An awesome performance by him and the rest of the guys.”

Font allowed only three hits in getting his 17 outs. Four relievers kept the shutout going.

“It’s exciting to get my first win and (to get it) here at home," Font said. "I’m really happy. The slider and curveball were good today. The split command was good. I was a little bit inconsistent with the fastball, but everything else was good.”

Kiermaier makes a sliding catch for the Rays.//STEVEN MUNCIE

Kiermaier makes a sliding catch for the Rays.//STEVEN MUNCIE

The Yankees were held without a homer for just the 15th time this season, the fewest such games in the majors. They have been held without a homer in back-to-back games for only the second time this season. Tampa Bay became the first team to hold the Yankees to one run or fewer in consecutive gams since 2016.

Rookie Willie Adames had multiple hits for the second straight game with a single and a homer. Keven Kiermaier (.136) had his first hit since his return to the lineup.

"He’s going to get going.," Cash said. "We all want him to get going probably the day before he even got here, but saying that it’s going to take a little bit of time. We knew that. He’s looking more and more comfortable. His timing is getting there. Defense, obviously, it looks like he hasn’t missed a step.”

C.J. Cron with a hit. for Tampa Bay./STEVEN MUNCIE

C.J. Cron with a hit for Tampa Bay./STEVEN MUNCIE

Said Adames: “It feels good. The young guys have been doing pretty good. I know this is going to be fun. It’s going to be fun the next 2-3 years with all the young guys.”

Cash said it was good for the Rays to win two in a row given the current schedule.

“Coming off that road trip, that road trip kind of knocked us in the mouth a little bit," Cash said. "We faced arguably the two best teams in the American League. I know there’s another couple that you can argue that are really good, but Houston and New York, they were the last teams standing in the American League last year for good reason. They seem like they might be a tick better this year, both of them."

The Rays go for the sweep against the Yankees today at 1:10 p.m. Matt Andriese will pitch for Tampa Bay against Domingo German.

Daniel Robertson gets low for the catch./STEVEN MUNCIE

Daniel Robertson gets low for the catch./STEVEN MUNCIE

 

 

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Larry Beller June 24, 2018 at 4:59 am

If Font has a couple more performances like that the Rays won’t be able to afford him. Is he arbitration eligible yet?

I’m just wondering what has happened to KK’s offense. He finally gets a hit and it we feel like celebrating.

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Gary Shelton June 24, 2018 at 9:02 am

It’s been a tough year for Kiermaier, and not just because of the injury. He was hitting poorly before he was hurt.But I think people want Kiermaier to be the kind of player who can lead. I think it’s mainly hope.

Font won’t last. He’s better than expected, but he’s the kind of pitcher the Rays won’t keep. As of now, he’s on a one year contract, and he isn’t arbitration eligible. But once he gets there, I think he’ll want to be a real starting pitcher.

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