Sometimes in baseball you face red hot teams, and despite all your efforts there is little you can do to beat them. That is what the Tampa Bay Rays experienced on Tuesday night. The Rays have sent their top two performing pitchers in Erik Bedard and Alex Cobb against the Toronto Blue Jays, and both were unable to stop the Jays’ offensive juggernaut. This time, it was a 9-6 loss in game 2 of the series, with the Jays hitting 3 home runs and the Rays pitching staff doing nothing to stop the bleeding.
Alex Cobb seemed his usual dominant self through three innings. He gave up a pair of runs in the 4th, but that was the product of a couple of well placed groundballs and Cobb seemed to still have everything together. Then in the 5th, he lost it. Cobb would give up 4 runs in the inning including home runs to Adam Lind and Edwin Encarnacion to finish off the night with 6 runs allowed. Cobb’s stuff and command was on-point, and then all of a sudden his stuff flattened out and he left the ball up in the zone too often. Let’s hope Cobb can regain his form next time around.
Behind Cobb, the Rays called upon Cesar Ramos hoping to receive a couple of innings out of the lefty. But, Ramos let up a run and gave over a bases loaded jam to Brad Boxberger while only getting 2 outs. Boxberger would get out of the inning, but a bases loaded balk allowed an inherited runner to score to charge a second run to Ramos. Josh Lueke came on for the 7th and 8th and allowed a run of his own. His ERA now sits at 5.22, which is on top of allowing 8 inherited runners to scored, tied for most in the big leagues. Lueke might have potential in his fastball and curveball, but at some point you have to say enough is enough, especially with the Rays having so many relievers dominating in Triple-A. It was an ugly day overall for the Rays pitching staff, whose 9 runs allowed cost the Rays the game.
The Rays offense would jump out to a 2-0 lead in the 4th thanks to a Sean Rodriguez RBI double and a Wil Myers RBI fielder’s choice. The Rays would add two more runs on a Rodriguez sac fly in the 6th and a Matt Joyce groundout in the 7th. Rodriguez then added another RBI with a triple in the 8th, and he would later score on a Myers sacrifice fly. Rodriguez finished the day with going 2-3 with the trio of RBIs and a run scored. He continues his hot hitting for the Rays against left-handed pitching, and is now up to a solid .821 OPS on the season. James Loney and Jose Molina would both add 2-4 performances to also add to the offense. It is a welcome sight to see Molina finally hitting a bit, and hopefully this is a sign that the .104 average he brought into the game can become at least passable.
6 runs scored and 12 hits is plenty, but there very well could have been more runs scored by the Rays in this one. There were a number of balls hit to the warning track, and if one or two of them had carried just a few more feet it could have been a whole different ball game. Regardless, it was hardly the offense’s fault that the Rays lost this one.
Also of note is that after his last at-bat, Myers seemed to be suffering pain in his hand. He stayed in the game, so it doesn’t appear to be serious, but it is something worth keeping an eye on.
The Rays will take on the Blue Jays again tomorrow at 7:07 ET. Chris Archer will be hoping to salvage something in this series against Liam Hendricks.