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The story of the night: Leaving runners.
Courtesy: Sun Sports via @CorkGaines
Outfield: Average night. Just the basics, no flashy plays. (3.5 stars)
Infield: Longoria received an error on a hard hit ball by Arencibia and received another error on the next batter. This happened in the third, these two errors cost the Rays a run. In the sixth, Longoria fielding a ball and threw it to first and the ball skipped away allowing a run to score and the runners to move up. Longo received his third error. Overall, a bad night for Longo at third, rest of the infield was fine. (3.5 stars)
Starting pitching: Jeff starts the first with a fly ball and a dandy of a strike out. However, Bautista then beats him and hits it out. He then gave up a single up the left field line to Lind. And was bailed out of the inning by Carlos on a foul out. He started out the second with a strike out of Eric Thames and a strikeout of Lawrie, both swinging. And a fly out by Rasmus would end the second. In the third, Neimann gave up three runs, all of 'em unearned thanks to the two errors by Longoria. Jeff started the fourth with a HBP on Thames but was quickly erased on a double play. And got out of it on a inning ending ground out. In the fifth, Neimann goes 1-2-3. Last batter Neimann faced was Bautista to lead off the bottom of the sixth, he walked him.
This was a good start by Neimann who has struggled the past few years. The hard stuff. It wasn't perfect, and plenty of room for impovement but I like this. Build off it! (4 stars)
Bullpen: The bullpen inherited a runner on first in Bautista from Neimann. First out of the bullpen would be JP Howell. A wild pitch from Howell would move Bautista over to second. A pitch later, Howell would walk Lind and that would be it for Howell, he would be replaced with Brandon Gomes. He would come in and strike out Encarnacion looking on the 7th pitch. Gomes for the second out of the 6th fielded his own ball and was able to hold the runners at 2nd and 3rd. He would then strike out Arencibia to strand the bases loaded. Gomes then walked the first batter he faced in the bottom of the seventh to knock himself out of the game and be replaced with McGee. He would begin by striking out Kelly Johnson swinging. Then McGee becomes the first Rays pitcher to retire Jose Bautista this season. But then gives up a RBI double to Lind. In the 8th, Badenhop gave up a solo shot to Brett Lawrie.
Not a horrible night for the 'pen but not shut down either. Much better than recently though. (3.2 stars)
Catching: Catching tonight was pretty good, nothing to hate on, but nothing to be real proud about either. Just a solid catched game. (4 stars)
Offense: Carlos tried to get us get us started in the first with a single he tried to stretch in to a double but was thrown out by Bautista. Rays offense was stifled again in the second, stranding their only baserunner, received on a walk. Chris Geminez got us a double with two outs in the third. However, he was stranded by Jennings on a ground out to third. In the fourth, Carlos leads us off with a bunt single. Longo then strikes out, contributing to that was frustration from his two errors the previous half inning. But the inning ended when Luke Scott hit in to a double play. Joyce got us started in the fifth with a one out single, S-Rod then walked. Brignac then gets an RBI single to right scoring Joyce. Next batter, Jeminez got an RBI infield single, scoring Rodrigez. Jennings sac bunted the runners over. But the rally ended with a Pena strike out. In the sixth, Longo got us started with a single through the 3rd/Short Stop hole to lead off but Scott ruins it with a double play and Zobrist grounds out. Matt Joyce lead off the seventh with a solo shot to right. S-Rod then walked which knocked Ricky Romero out of the game. This was followed by a pop out by Vogt, a strike out looking by Geminez and a fly out by Jennings to strand Rodriguez at second. Carlos bunted his way on and then moved over on a wild pitch in the eighth, then Luke Scott walked but they were stranded by the two strike outs that followed.
Offense lacked "clutch-ness" tonight. Leaving potential runs on base. The stranded runner problem continues. (3 stars)
Umpiring: Probably the best umpiring of the season so far. Easily. (5 stars)
Player(s) of the game: Limited in my choices tonight with no eye popping stuff happening tonight. But I will go with Matt Joyce, he got the only eye popping play of the night in the Rays favor: A Home Run. I will also go with Carlos Pena who bunted and beat the shift twice in one night.
Play of the game: Matt Joyce's Home Run in the 7th
Final word: Tonight's game lacked excitement for me. No real dominate pitching, not gun show. Just inning after inning of blown chances. The Rays didn't lack offense tonight, they just lacked it when it mattered most and when they could climb back in to the game. The pitching wasn't horrible either just not good enough. If the 3 unearned runs hadn't happened, we might had had a shot.
So the Jays take game one of the three game set. We'll try again tomorrow! Same Bat-time, same Bat-channel. Get some! (3 stars)