Cesar Ramos’ first start since June 2012 didn’t go as the Tampa Bay Rays might have hoped. Granted, they weren’t looking for a one-hit shutout but his outing today was still very disappointing. At most, they were looking for five innings at top from Ramos but he only lasted two plus.
And it all began so promising. Ramos started out strong with a one-two-three first inning. Then, it all went downhill from there. Walks plagued Ramos in his brief out. In the second, he walked the bases loaded and a Zach Cozart ground rule double plated the first two runs of the game. A groundball to Yunel Escobar forced the Reds’ catcher Devin Mescoraco at home and the Rays caught the Reds pitcher Tony Cingrani in a rundown. Zach Cozart tried to score and an observant Logan Forsythe threw home and the Rays cut him down out the plate as well. They escaped the inning and one felt good for their chances, despite the two runs.
Ben Zobrist was the bright spot for Tampa Bay this day. He started in left field today. The Rays were facing a tough left hander in Cingrani and the lefty mashers Sean Rodriguez, playing first, and Logan Forsythe, playing second, were in the lineup with Zobrist playing left field, his first time playing anywhere but second all season. Zobrist tied the game in the top of the third with a two out two run home-run. The batter before him, Sean Rodriguez, worked a walk to extend the inning and hope was definitely alive. Zobrist hit another 2-run home run in the top of the 7th, accounting for all the Rays’ runs.
The Rays’ batters worked six walks today, three from starter Cingrani, but the pitchers gave those six back and added one for good measure, walking seven in all. It was just a bad day for the Rays pitchers. Brandon Gomes, who had yet to surrender a run in 11 spring training innings and 3.2 innings of the regular season, surrendered 3 runs on 4 hits after replacing Ramos, all of the runs coming on a home-run.
Erik Bedard made his season debut in relief and might be in line for a start in the future. He pitched well and, along with Jeff Beliveau were the sole bright spots on the mound today for the Rays. Heath Bell and Josh Lueke had their moments but were shakey as well. Lueke surrendered a grand slam to pinch hitter Chris Heisey.
However bad this game might have looked, the Rays took two of three from the Reds and have to be happy with their play going forward. While their bullpen for the most part is settled, sorting out who will take Alex Cobb’s spot in the rotation after he was put on the DL is a bit of a concern but the Rays do have options.
Up next, the Rays travel to Baltimore to take on the Orioles. Chris Archer will oppose Wei-Yin Chen. A 7:05 ET start, stay here with Rays Colored Glasses for a recap of the action and more. If you want to know Tampa Bay Rays, this is where you should be.