Tigers embarrass Rays’ highly-rated bullpen

by Gary Shelton on September 11, 2021

in general

Choi had a go-ahead double for the Rays./CHUCK MULLER

Saturday, 4 a.m.

Call it the night the bullpen blew up.

The relievers of the Tampa Bay Rays, one of the team's primary strengths for much of the season, imploded in Friday night's 10-4 loss to the Detroit Tigers. The bullpen, the best in the American League in ERA and batting average against, was clobbered by the Tigers.

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How bad was it?

-- J.P. Feyereisen gave up two earned runs in 2/3 of an inning.

-- Pete Fairbanks gave up three earned runs in 1/3 of an inning.

-- Andrew Kittredge gave up a grand slam in 2/3 of an inning.

-- Shawn Armstrong gave up three earned runs in an inning.

In all, the Rays bullpen gave up nine runs on eight hits. When you consider that the Rays had posted a 2.82 ERA -- first in the majors -- since April 22, there are questions. Did the Rays simply have an off night? Or could the unit be tired from heavy usage?

"Tonight was a little uncharacteristic," said Rays' manager Kevin Cash. "They (the Tigers) really pieced together the innings really well. Close didn’t work tonight. They got us."

The Rays were two-of-12 with runners in scoring position, but briefly took the lead in the seventh on Ji-Man Choi's three-run double. Choi is now 7 for eight as a pinch hitter this season.

Rays' rookie shortstop Wander Franco singled in the first inning to extend his on-games streak to 39, second most in history for a player 20 years or younger. But he tweaked his hamstring going from first to third on a single by Nelson Cruz and had to leave the game.

"We won’t know much til tomorrow," Cash said. "The hope is we caught it early enough. I don’t see how he avoided the IL. That’s highly likely."

Said Franco: "I felt it when I pushed off second base when I was going to third."

Franco is now four games behind Frank Robinson.

The Rays will play a 6:10 game today in Detroit against the Tigers. Chris Archer will pitch for the Rays against Detroit's Casey Mize. 

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