The Tampa Bay Rays offense has been disappointing this year, but they have been heating up lately. Individuals like Evan Longoria, Logan Forsythe, and Matt Joyce are finding their groove, and the offense as a whole is beginning to click. Everything was firing on all cylinders for the lineup on Sunday, as the Rays broke out to score 12 runs in their 12-7 win over the Baltimore Orioles.
After trading runs back and forth with the Orioles, the Rays were down 4-3 heading into the 6th. But then, the offense broke out. The Rays would send 11 hitters to the plate in the 6th, and would smack 7 hits en route to 7 runs. In the inning, Kevin Kiermaier and Logan Forsythe would both homer, and James Loney and Brandon Guyer doubled. That wasn’t the only long ball action for the Rays in the game though, as Matt Joyce and Ben Zobrist added solo shots in the 3rd and 5th innings respectively. Joyce would add yet another home run, a monster 2-run shot off of left-hander Brian Matuz in the 7th to make the score 12-4. Overall the team would smack 18 hits, 5 of them homers and 6 of them doubles, en route to 12 runs. Also, every Rays starter smacked at least one hit.
As far as individual performances, it was Matt Joyce who led the day. Joyce would go 5-6 with 2 homers, a double, 4 RBIs, and 3 runs scored, tying Rays records with most hits in a single game (5) and most total bases in a single game (12). Ben Zobrist also had a great day, going 3-6 with a homer, 2 doubles, 2 runs scored, and 2 RBIs. Zobrist game into this game hitting just .238 in the month of June, but maybe this performance is a sign that he is going to get into a hot streak in the month of June. Logan Forsythe also had a nice day, going 2-4 with a homer, 2 RBIs, and a run scored. Forsythe is hitting just .236 on the season, but since June 16th he is hitting .466, maybe a sign that he too is going to get hot. Kevin Kiermaier joined the fun with a 2-4 performance that included a homer, and even Jose Molina, he of the .179 average, had a multi-hit day. It was a great day from the offense-let’s just hope they can use it to build some momentum.
Alex Cobb had a so-so start, but that was more than enough given the offense’s great day. Cobb would go 5.0 innings, allowing 4 runs (3 earned) while striking out 3 and walking none. His main problem was leaving his pitches, and particularly his split-changeup, high in the zone, which led to him allowing 8 hits. That needs to improve moving forward, but in the end Cobb did what was needed to earn the win in this game. Brad Boxberger threw a perfect inning in relief, striking out 1. Kirby Yates would then go 1.1 shutout innings, ceding the game to Cesar Ramos in the 8th with a runner on second. Ramos was able to get out of the jam unscathed, but in the 9th he would allow 3 runs and only get 2 outs. Despite carrying an 8 run lead into the 9th, the Rays would have to call on Joel Peralta to mop up for Ramos and secure the win. The pitching staff as a whole gave up 7 runs, which is disappointing, but the offense more than made up for it.