You have to feel for Joe Maddon. Armchair quarterbacks are no doubt giving him advice right and left. Frankly, as the season has worn on, you realize that all he can do is sit and watch. He will continue to try everything in his power to win but, every night, something goes wrong. Tonight was no different. The problem is that when you are going bad, you literally sit and wait for the bad to happen. You expect it, and when it comes, you resign yourself to it. The simple plays become adventures and we saw that again in game 2 of 3 against the Pirates. Gregory Polanco walked to start the game and stole second. The throw from Jose Molina went into centerfield and Polanco scampered to third, with nobody out. One run rarely means much in baseball but, with the way the Rays offense is going, it does.
Since May 16, Chris Archer has an 0.89 ERA, but the Rays have obliged his good performances by not scoring two runs in his last ten starts, until tonight. The Rays scored five but, by the time they got those five, Archer had long since departed, and the result was still the same. A bad third inning and the game got away from Archer. He gave up another lead-off walk, this time to Pedro Alvarez. Jordy Mercer reached on an infield single that Archer misplayed and there were two on and nobody out. Polanco sacrificed them over, and then Starling Marte singled home Alvarez. McCutchen added an RBI single and Neil Walker drove home another with a sacrifice fly, to make it 4-0, Pirates. Archer ended up going seven innings, giving up seven hits and four earned runs. He struck out seven. Overall, he was shaky, but managed to survive.
The offense took time to get started, scoring two runs in the eighth and ninth. It made the game closer than it actually was. Still, there were positives to be had. Logan Forsythe had three hits and Jose Molina had two. Brandon Guyer, back from injury, batted third in the order and collected two, including a hit in the 9th inning that made it a one-run game. If he can avoid the injury bug, it will be interesting to see how he progresses. Evan Longoria also hit his 10th home run of the season.