In a bit of irony, the Tampa Bay Rays called up Nate Karns on Sunday in attempt to give the bullpen some rest, however they wouldn’t even need to use Karns in the game. The Rays were hardly complaining though, as Erik Bedard delivered a 6+ innings while allowing just one run on six hits to lead the Rays to a 5-1 victory. With the win the Rays move to 15-17 on the season, and they have now 4 of their last 5 games.
Bedard received criticism after being put in the rotation and having two poor starts. But now, Bedard has given up just two runs in his last 11 innings, and is rewarding the Rays for having faith in him. Jake McGee relieved Bedard and threw a scoreless inning, lowering his ERA on the season to 1.88. McGee’s fastball was in its normal high 90’s range, even touching 99 MPH one time. Joel Peralta threw the 8th inning, and managed to lock it down. Peralta has been inconsistent this season, even blowing the Rays’ lead in Friday night’s game, but it took him just seven pitches to get through this outing, and hopefully he can maintain that sharpness moving forward. Grant Balfour came on to throw a scoreless 9th inning despite it being a non-save situation. Balfour once again was not aggressive enough with his pitches despite having a four run lead. Because of his lack of aggressiveness, he has been inconsistent this year, but despite decreased fastball velocity he needs to regain trust in the stuff that has made him one of baseball’s best relievers over the past few years.
Offensively, the Rays stayed hot, smacking 13 hits, though they did draw just 1 walk and struck out 8 times. The Rays got things going quickly in the top of the 1st, when Logan Forsythe led things off with a double. Desmond Jennings then moved him over with a sac bunt, and Evan Longoria drove him in with a ground rule double to make it 1-0. The Yankees tied things up in the bottom of the 2nd, but the Rays responded by putting up three runs in the top of the 3rd in magical fashion. Jennings hit a double with one out, and then Longoria walked to put two runners on with Wil Myers up to the plate. Myers responded by hitting a shot deep to right-center field. Jacoby Ellsbury made a valiant effort to attempt to catch the ball at the wall, but the ball hit off the wall, then off Ellsbury himself and ricocheted well away from any Yankees defender. Myers ended up with an inside the park home run, which is funny considering he jogged the whole way to first thinking he had hit the ball out of the park. Myers would come through yet again in the 4th when he doubled in Logan Forsythe, and that would be all the scoring that would occur in the game.
Myers was the top performer, going 2-5 with 4 RBIs. He started off the season cold, but is heating up now, something that will make the Rays lineup that much scarier for opposing pitchers to face. Jennings also stayed hot by going 3-4 with a double. Also encouraging to see was Forsythe, Yunel Escobar, and Brandon Guyer adding two hit performances. All three of them have struggled to hit so far this year, but if the Rays can get all of them going then their offense is going to be a force to be reckoned with.
The Rays have the day off tomorrow, which will give the pitching staff as a whole some much needed rest. They will begin their third divisional series in a row on Tuesday, this one at Tropicana Field against the Orioles. The game will start at 7:10, with Chris Archer and Chris Tillman the scheduled pitchers. Be sure to come back to Rays Colored Glasses throughout the day tomorrow to help get you through the off day.