Rays’ bullpen salvages split against Baltimore

by Gary Shelton on September 4, 2019 · 0 comments

in general

Choi gets tagged in the face on a play at third./CHUCK MULLER

Wednesday, 4 a.m.

They won one. They lost one.

Was it enough?

They had a game when they didn't hit. They had a game where their pitching dominated.

Was it enough?

That's the thing about the Tampa Bay Rays. It's hard to say if an afternoon of playing .500 ball against one of the league's bottom feeders was good enough. It was better than losing two, of course, but in a playoff race, a team wants to win twice. Doesn't it?

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Rays LF Austin Meadows celebrates his 26th HR of the season. CHUCK MULLER

Oh, the Rays drew even in the second game, winning a 2-0 game as seven relief pitchers pieced together a stellar game. The Orioles got only five hits in the game, and only Jalen Beeks (who went two innings) gave up more than one.

But the Rays managed just five hits themselves in losing the opener, 4-2, to Baltimore.

Richards needed more run support./CHUCK MULLER

"We were frustrated after game one," Rays' manager Kevin Cash said. "Without a doubt. Frustrated we couldn’t get the bats going. We pitched really well. Trevor Richards deserved better than that. But they didn’t sulk. They came right back out quickly. They didn’t have time to sulk really because we had to get right back out on the field and they were ready to play. I know the bats didn’t come to life by any stretch, but certainly pitched well, defended well. Encouraging. Split it after losing the first one. You have to be happy with that.”

The second game was successful as far as the team's "bullpen days" went. Andrew

Pham draws a walk in his first at-bat./CHUCK MULLER

Kittredge, Jalen Beeks, Diego Castillo, Colin Poche, Chaz Roe, Neil Anderson and Emilio Pagan all threw shutout baseball for the Rays. Anderson struck out all four batters he faced. Pagan earned his 17th save.

"It’s just kind of how the game is going," Cash said of how he used the bullpen. "You go by the matchups and what you think is the ideal matchup for each pitcher, but sometimes that changes on where an inning is. Kyle (Snyder) does a good job getting those guys prepped and ready."

The Rays looked as they were going to fall behind in the third inning. Chris Davis singled and went to second on Austin Meadows' error. Richie Martin then hit a grounder to third, and Joey Wendle's throw to first skipped wide into right field, leaving Martin on third and allowing Davis to score.

The Rays got a break, however, when the umpires said that Martin was guilty of

d'Arnaud rounds third after his first-game homer./CHUCK MULLER

running inside the basepath, which sent Davis back to second base. Kevin Kiermaier then misplayed a fly ball by Jonathan Villar, but Davis  tagged up and didn't score. Villar was thrown out when he overran second.

Plagued by that, the Orioles never scored.

The Rays first run came on Austin Meadows' 26th home run. The second run scored when Ji-Man Choi's liner bounced over the head of Anthony Santander for a triple. He came home on a single by Avi Garcia.

"Austin has had an impressive season," Cash said. "We were fortunate when we acquired him and Glass (Tyler Glasnow). What he’s done, what he’s meant for our offense. He’s sat right in the middle of our offense. It doesn't matter the situation, he  has great at bats. He’s as consistent as anyone on our team."

In the first game, the Rays saw a 2-0 lead evaporate. Baltimore scored three of its four runs on homers by Mark Trumbo and Santander.

Castillo had one of his better outings./CHUCK MULLER

The Rays' only runs came on a homer by Travis d'Arnaud.

“I thought (Travis Richards) threw the ball really, really well," Cash said. "He gave up a two-run homer, but we’ve got to be able to combat that and put enough runs on the board. We just didn’t. Very encouraged by his outing. Their pitchers did a good job. (Ty) Blach got them deep in the game and then (Shawn) Armstrong might have been the MVP of the game the way he went through the lineup.

“We had energy. We were fine. We just didn’t get any hits. Good pitching comes up, the lefthander mixed his pitches well, induced a couple groundball double-play balls. Then Armstrong came in with really good stuff. We didn’t get many good swings off him. The energy was fine.”

The Rays play host to Toronto Thursday night at Tropicana Field in a 7:10 p.m. game. Austin Pruitt will pitch for the Rays against a pitcher to be named for the Blue Jays.

Kittredge pitched well for the Rays./CHUCK MULLER



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