Re-invented Rays beat Boston again as bats sizzle

by Gary Shelton on August 1, 2019 · 0 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Rays

Yarbrough has double-digit victories again./JEFFREY S. KING

Thursday, 3 a.m.

The new parts of a re-invented baseball team will quickly learn this about the Tampa Bay Rays.

-- Travis d'Arnaud has become a hitting machine. d'Arnaud was hitting .206 going into July, but for the month of July, he hit .342 with eight homers. He had two more hits to up his average to .257.

-- Chaz Roe is re-inventing himself, too. Roe collected his first save of the season in Wednesday night's 8-5 victory after three unsuccessful efforts.

-- Ryan Yarbrough does nothing but win. He took his 10th decision Thursday, and he's won 26 games over the last two seasons. He lacks the raw tools of some Rays' pitchers, but he keeps winning.

-- The Rays' offense tends to shut down at times, but it's going pretty well right now. The Rays have scored 33 runs in their last four games.

-- The Rays kind of like the lyrics to Sweet Caroline. They're now 7-1 in Fenway Park this season.

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Kiermaier had a triple and a homer for the Rays./CHUCK MULLER

And so it goes. Newcomers Nick Anderson, Jesus Aguilar and Trevor Richards -- as well as a couple of minor leaguers -- will learn that this is a pretty good  team that is barely on the outside of the wild-card race. With the schedule getting kinder, the post-season is possible if the bullpen holds and the hitting stays strong.

Certainly, the last two nights, both wins over Boston, have provided some reason to hope. The Rays jumped to a 5-0 lead on a solo homer by Kevin Kiermaier and a three-run shot by Austin Meadows, then held on as the Sox made things interesting.

Kevin Kiermaier, Ji-Man Choi, Meadows, d'Arnaud and Willy Adames all had two hits for the Rays. Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez had three each for Boston.

Kiermaier, in his first game back from an injury, had a triple and a home run.

“It was really, really impressive," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "Look, our offense has done a good job. We were fairly critical of them for about 5-6 days and the way we weren’t plugging things together and getting runs across the board. They’ve really stepped up. They’re doing some good things that are really encouraging."

Roe had an era of 5.47 in early July, but he's lowered it to 4.24. In his last five outings, he has a win, a save and three holds. Poche was impressive, too, striking out all four of the outs he recorded to get his eighth hold.

“Chase and Colin both have played big roles here as of late," Cash said. "They’re going to need to continue to do that. Chaz has been there, done that. It’s encouraging with Colin to get the big out with (Andrew) Benintendi."

The Rays go for a sweep tonight in Fenway Park at 7:10 p.m. Brendan McKay will pitch for the Rays against Andrew Cashner.

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