Rays check boxes in win over Cleveland

by Gary Shelton on July 31, 2022

in general

Sunday, 4 a.m.

For the day, finally, they are winners again. For the moment, finally, the Tampa Bay Rays have stopped the bleeding.

The Rays checked most of the proper boxes Saturday afternoon in a a 6-4 victory over Cleveland, one that established their lead for the AL's final Wild Card spot at 2 1/2 games.

How did they do it? Well, the Rays followed a fairly basic blueprint.

Content beyond this point is for members only.

Already a member? To view the rest of this column, sign in using the handy "Sign In" button located in the upper right corner of the GarySheltonSports.com blog (it's at the far right of the navigation bar under Gary's photo)!

Not a member? It's easy to subscribe so you can view the rest of this column and all other premium content on GarySheltonSports.com.

-- They finally hit with power. The Rays hadn't hit much in their recent slide, and they've hit even less with power. But on Saturday, the Rays got a pair of two-run homers from Brandon Lowe and Yandy Diaz, as well as an RBI double from Rene Pinto.

-- They got solid relief pitching. The Rays' relievers covered the final three innings of the game without surrendering a run, and Pete Fairbanks got the save with a three-pitch strikeout of Guardians' star Jose Ramirez with two runners on in the ninth.

-- They found a little insurance. Brett Phillips, hitting .147 on the season, drove in a run with a single in the eighth inning to give the Rays a two-run lead.

-- They played timely defense. In the ninth Fairbanks caught a grounder back at him, then spun to throw to second to try to start a double play. His throw was wide, however, and only a toe-tapping play by shortstop Taylor Walls allowed the team to get an out on the play.

-- They hit enough. The Rays had 10 hits, two each by Brandon Lowe, Josh Lowe and Pinto. They also got off to a quick start, building leads of 3-0 and 5-1.

-- The starting pitching was good, although the Rays may have been slow to go to the bullpen. Starter Corey Kluber was roughed up in the sixth inning, most notably by a three-run homer by Andre Gimenez.

"I  thought Kluber was really good," said Rays' manager Kevin Cash. "I don’t think the stat line was consistent to how well he pitched. That might have been the best breaking all he’s had in awhile. Good cutter."

The Rays' offense was a welcome sight.

“That’s what we talked about," Cash said. "That’s how you get out of these offensive stretches where you’re kind of quiet. Piece together a bunch of baserunners and someone comes up to knock it over the fence."

After the game, the Rays announced they had acquired left-fielder David Peralta from Arizona.

The Rays will play the Guardians again today at 1:40 p.m. at Tropicana Field. Shane McClanahan will start for Tampa Bay. Cleveland has not announced a starter.

Previous post:

Next post: