Rays’ power their way to win over A’s

by Gary Shelton on May 10, 2021

in general

Adames hit a three-run homer in the Rays' victory./STEVEN MUNCIE

Monday, 4 a.m.

Well, look who has a little pop in their bats, after all.

Light-hitting Willy Adames is thunder? Lighter-hitting Mike Brosseau is lightning?

And the Tampa Bay Rays are sluggers again.

Adames, a .185 hitter who had three home runs on the season, and Brosseau, a .174 hitter who had two, powered the Rays to a 4-3 victory over Oakland on Sunday afternoon. Adames' three-run shot tied the game in the fifth, and Brosseau hit the game-winning home run an inning later.






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"Three-run home runs can make a lot of questions go away," said Rays' manager Kevin Cash.

The Rays had only two other hits on the afternoon

The Rays aren't particularly known for the long ball -- they were 11th in the majors coming in -- but they've had a run lately. They hit seven homers in their seven-game road swing (five wins).

“Pretty big," said Cash. "It was tough (Cole) Irvin had us off-balance. We hit some balls hard, kind  of those atom balls. He pitched really well and made it tough. It was a big hit by Willy. Big hit by Bross. Good to see the guys  bounce back after getting down 3-0. "

Adames' homer tied the game after the Rays fell behind 3-0 in the fourth on singles by Stephen Piscotty and Mitch Moreland. But Adames tied the game with his homer to right.

"It was big inning for us," Adames said. "We needed to score there to take a little bit of pressure off our pitchers. I was just happy that I got the opportunity to hit the ball and lucky it went out."

Adames hadn't been scuffling quite as bad as Brosseau, who was hitting just .122 (6-for-49) in his last 17 games.

"It’s no secret that I'm not performing the way I and a lot of people expect me to," Brosseau said. "I put in the work on a daily basis. It’s a result-oriented sport, but you’ve got to trust the process. It’s a really good feeling not only to see one fall but to go over the fence as well."

Except for the fourth, when Shane McClanahan struggled, the Rays -- featuring four relievers -- shut out Oakland.

"If we’re nit-picking one pitch an outing, you’re doing pretty good," Cash said.

The Rays now return to Tropicana Field. They're off today but open a series with the Yankees on Tuesday. Luis Patino will start for Tampa Bay against Jordan Montgomery of New York. The game begins at 7:10 p.m.



Oakland A’s handle Tampa Bay, Glasnow

by Gary Shelton on May 9, 2021

in general

Glasnow gave up two early homers./JEFFREY S. KING

Sunday, 4 a.m.

Yes, you can blame the pitching for this one. The A's jumped Rays' starter Tyler Glasnow early, then separated late, for a comfortable victory.

Yes, you can blame the hitting. The Rays struck out 13 times on Saturday and, for the third straight game, were dominated by the opposing starting pitcher. Tampa Bay loaded the bases with no one out in the ninth but were unable to score.

You can even blame the fielding. The Rays were within a run in the bottom of the eighth inning when Mike Brosseau's throwing error to pitching Ryan Thompson covering first base was wide, allowing the A's to triple their lead.

In other words, there were plenty of culprits in the Rays' 6-3 loss to Oakland Saturday, their second straight loss. The Rays are now only one game above .500.






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The Rays trailed by a run late, but allowed Oakland to extend the inning on a two-out error (they scored twice). The Rays then failed to score on a bases-loaded opportunity.

“It was frustrating," Rays' manager Kevin Cash said. "We worked really hard late in the game to kind of make a comeback and kept tacking on.. They got one across and we’ get one back. You just have to be really clean in those innings and we weren’t. The hitting is going to come around. It’s just been kind of quiet here lately.

For ace Tyler Glasnow, it was another outing where he wasn't sharp early. Against the A's, he gave up just two hits in 5 2/3 innings with 11 strikeouts, but both hits he gave up were home runs.

Glasnow has allowed seven runs in the first inning this season, yielding a .290 opponent's average (nine -for-31) with three doubles, two homer and four walks.

"It’s been a theme in some of my bad starts," Glasnow said.
The first inning or so have not been so good, so it’s definitely something I need to figure out. It’s a little annoying when you do give up those runs in the beginning. Its a matter of staying locked in. It's something O have to go in and address."

Rays manager Kevin Cash didn't seem to agree.

“I thought Glas was really good," he said. "They just got him. (Seth) Brown (who was two for four with a homer and a run-scoring single) is swinging a hot bat. It carried over from last night. He anticipated a heater was coming and didn’t miss it. It was encouraging with the way he threw the ball."

The Rays lost Kevin Kiermaier to injury. He jammed his left wrist sliding into second base. X-rays were negative, but he could miss some time.

The Rays had pitched to a 2.86 ERA (125.2-IP, 40-ER) in their last 14 games, allowing 3 runs (or fewer) 12 times over that stretch.

The Rays had 10 hits, but they were two-for-10 with runners in scoring position.

Brandon Lowe hit his sixth home run of the season.

The Rays close out their series against the A's today at 4:10 p.m. at Oakland Coliseum. Shane McClanahan will start for the Rays against Cole Irvin of the A's.


Panthers spank Bolts without their stars

by Gary Shelton on May 9, 2021

in general

Luke Schenn scored the only Lightning goal./ CHUCK MULLER

Sunday, 3 a.m.

The chances of the Tampa Bay Lighting repeating last year's Stanley Cup championship are, of course, open to debate.

But after Saturday night, you can be assured of this.

If Victor Hedman doesn't play, the odds go down significantly. Also, if Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, Ryan McDonagh and Jan Rutta don't play, it's going to be an uphill climb for the Bolts.






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The Lightning was down to a shell of its roster in Sunrise on Saturday and absorbed a 5-1 licking at the hands of the Florida Panthers. The teams will play again Monday night, and the winner will have the home-ice advantage for their first-round playoff game.

Will the gang be back on Monday? Or last least for the playoffs?

“I don’t know," said Lightning coach Jon Cooper. "I hope so. We’re planning on it. We’ll have to see."

Saturday's game, which featured a hat trick by Alex Wennberg, was a brawling affair in which the teams combined for 146 playoff minutes. With the team scheduled to play up to eight more times (one regular season game and a best-of-seven series), it is easy to wonder if the hard feelings will continue.

“I don’t know," said Cooper. "These are games 55 and 56, not games one and two of the playoffs. I’m sure guys would be a lot more careful than they otherwise would. We’ll have to see. The physicality might be the same, but maybe the recklessness won't be there as much."

The Bolts have some focus to gain. They have given up 10 goals in their last two games, both defeats. For the season, they have given up 28 to the Panthers in seven games.

Goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy gave up five goals on 35 shots Saturday.

The teams wrap up the regular season Monday night in Sunrise. The puck is scheduled to drop at 7 p.m.

Nobody’s perfect — but the Rays still lose

by Gary Shelton on May 8, 2021

in general

Brosseau broke up a no-hit bid by Manaea./TIM WIRT

Saturday, 4 a.m.

They avoided the perfect game. They avoided the no-hitter. Heck, they even avoided the shutout.

The Tampa Bays, however, could not avoid defeat Friday night in Oakland.

The Rays’ offense was dominated by the A’s Sean Manaea, who whittled their bats even more than most top-flight pitchers. Manaea was perfect through six innings and had a no-hitter through seven. Both faded away, but Seth Brown’s home run to right field with two out in the bottom of the ninth gave the 2-1 win to Oakland. It broke a five-game winning streak for the Rays.






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Manea’s no-hitter was broken up by Mike Brosseau, who played high school baseball with Manaea at Andrean High in Merrillville, Ind.

“He was really good,” Brosseau said. “I thought his change-up looked like the best pitch. He looked like he had a little more ride on his heater than the last time we saw him, but  his change-up was his go-to pitch. It had more depth as opposed to a tailing action which he had in his last start. He was pounding the zone. He got ahead a lot. When he’s got that kind of command and his stuff is riding like it was, he’s tough guy to handle. He was on tonight.”

For the game, Manaea went  7 1/3 innings and gave up two hits and one run (Mike Zunino’s single drove in Brosseau). He struck out 10.

Brosseau acknowledged that after his double broke up the no-hitter in the eighth, the two made eye-contact.

“He made a little eye contact, I’m pretty sure,” Brosseau said. “There was something there, a little smirk. I would hope that if there's a guy he would want to break it up, it would be me…. but I  know he doesn't’ want it to be broken up.”

If you watched, you were probably thinking about viewing a no-hitter. The Rays were, too.

“It’s hard not to (think about) when you get later in the game, in that fifth and sixth inning,” Brosseau said. “You kind of replay the game in your head and you notice there are some zeros on the scoreboard.  I think the best thing to do is not add any more pressure than the game provides.”
Said Rays’ manager Kevin Cash: “When a guys goes six with no hits, it’s going to creep into your mind. I’m glad we didn’t (get no-hit). I think it’s natural just to appreciate how special the guy’s night was going until that point.”

For Hill, it was his third straight impressive start. Hill pitched his best game for the Rays, leaving after six innings of two-hit, shutout baseball. Brown’s homer — his second RBI of the game — came off reliever Jeffrey Springs.

“It looked like he just left a breaking ball up a little in the zone. and Brown didn’t miss it. That’s the way it goes when you’re in those tight ballgames with little room for error. Really liked the way Springy has thrown the ball for us all season, especially as of late. We’ll get him back out there and he’ll be fine. 

The Rays play the A’s again today at 4 p.m. at Oakland Coliseum. Tyler Glasnow will start for the Rays against Frankie Montas.

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