Bullpen bails out Rays in late victory

by Gary Shelton on August 10, 2019 · 0 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Bucs, Tampa Bay Rays

Pagan has 10 saves on the season./JEFFREY S. KING

Saturday, 4 a.m.

When last we could bear to look through our fingers, they were a national disaster.

It was only a few games ago, and they were napalm in the morning. The bullpen of the Tampa Bay Rays kept going into games, and they kept throwing gas on the fire. They were the weakest unit on the field, and you wondered if the team could survive them.

And yet, in recent games, they have been renewed. And, once again on Friday night, they led the way to a strange victory by the Rays.

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Anderson has been a hit since arriving./TIM WIRT

The Rays didn't exactly rip the ball against Seattle, but they won 5-3 because of five relievers who gave up four hits and one run. The Rays squeezed out their runs, scoring three runs on fielder's choices, one on an error and one on a bases loaded walk.

"We didn’t knock the cover off the ball, but we put the ball in play," said Rays' manager Kevin Cash. "We put some pressure on defense and we ended up scoring three runs."

How strange was this? The Rays entered the ninth inning tied 2-2 thanks to two ground balls. A single by Eric Sogard was the team's only hit of the inning, but a bases-loaded walk by Ji-Man Choi, an error by J.P. Crawford on a ball hit by Tommy Pham and a groundout by Austin Meadows was enough to win.

"We’re a pretty unique group," Cash said. "We’re constantly having to find a way to win tight ballgames.  There were some frustrating innings where we couldn’t get anything going."

The bullpen made up for it. After Jalen Beeks struggled to go 3 2/3 innings on 85 pitches, the Rays came with Colin Poche (one hit, no runs), Chaz Roe (no hits, no runs), Nick Anderson (no hits, no runs), Oliver Drake (two hits, no runs) and Emilio Pagan (one hit, one run).

"They were outstanding," Cash said. "They picked us up and kept it right there. Obviously, with Jalen’s outing being shorter, it was important for them  to limit the damage and they did."

Beeks, however, struggled.

"We’ve got to be better than that," Cash said. "Three and 2/3? You’ve got to  be more efficient that that. He recognizes that. Any starter will tell you that 85 pitches doesn't work."

The Rays got two of their eight hits from Matt Duffy and two from Kevin Kiermaier.

The Rays will start Charlie Morton tonight against an undetermined pitcher for Seattle. The game is scheduled to begin at 10:10 p.m. at T-Mobile Park.

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