Rays finally win a game against the Yankees

by Gary Shelton on June 18, 2018 · 2 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Rays

Font had his best game for the Rays./JEFFREY S. KING

Font had his best game for the Rays./JEFFREY S. KING

Monday, 4 a.m.

The Tampa Bay Rays finally played New York in a baseball game Sunday afternoon and managed not to get hit by the Yankees' wallets.

And the reason was, of all people, Wilmer Font.

Font, just another arm the Rays were attempting to salvage a few weeks ago, continued his impressive start with Tampa Bay in a 3-1 victory. He went 4 2/3 innings, his longest stint of the year, and left with a 3-1 lead. He gave up only four hits.

The Rays, now 6-8 in games featuring an "opener," got shutout relief from four relievers.

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Duffy went three-for-four two two RBI./JEFFREY S. KING

Duffy went three-for-four with two RBI./JEFFREY S. KING

Two teams (the Dodgers and As) had given up on Font this year before the Rays traded a minor leaguer for him. Still, little was expected. Font had left the Dodgers with an 0-2 record  and an 11.32 ERA. He left the A's after four games and a 14.85 ERA.

But Font seems to have found a role with the Rays. He has appeared in six games  and has been sharp. His ERA is 2.20 with the Rays and down to 7.56 for the season.

“A guy who doesn’t have a ton of experience didn’t let his season go to waste by having some poor results," Rays' manager Kevin Cash said. "He’s figured it out. Today he gave us a huge boost. He went further into the game than we thought."

Said Font: "I feel pretty good starting, I can throw more pitches the next start.

Hechavarria returned to the lineup with three hits./CARMEN MANDATO

Hechavarria returned to the lineup with three hits./CARMEN MANDATO

Font had help. Matt Duffy, who has been on a tear recently, went three-for-four with two RBI.  Adeiny Hechavarria, in his return to the lineup, also went three-for-four. Carlos Gomez and Wilson Ramos each had two hits.

"He’s done that with a year off," Cash said of Duffy. "He works really hard. All season he’s had our most consistent approach to the plate. He doesn’t try to do too much. When he gets opportunities with men on base, it seems he has that knack to calm the situation down. He comes up with the big hit."

The Rays now move to Houston to face a trio of Gerritt Cole (8-1), Justin Verlander (9-2) and Charlie Morton (8-1). The Rays will counter with a bullpen day, Blake Snell and Nathan Eovaldi.

Tonight's game begins at 8:10 p.m.

Gomez says he's feeling better at the plate./CARMEN MANDATO

Gomez says he's feeling better at the plate./CARMEN MANDATO

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Larry Beller June 18, 2018 at 4:59 am

A guy who pitches the first 4 2/3 innings of a game is not an “opener” or a reliever. He’s a starter who the team doesn’t trust to go deep into the game. Statistics on openers are useless when the Rays use their pitchers in this manner.

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Gary Shelton June 18, 2018 at 10:57 pm

Stats are for how the users use them, aren’t they? The phrase “opener” has caught on because onlookers want a category when the team itself is announcing that it’s not a true starter. The guy isn’t stretched out to last long into a game. Font went 4 2/3, and it seemed to stun the team. He’d never been in that long for the Rays.

If fans don’t want to, they certainly don’t have to designate a difference. They’re starting the game. But no, the team has zero expectations of them hanging around long enough to get a win. I’ve said before that this system drives me crazy. The team used seven pitchers last night in a nine-inning game.

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