Game 121: Evan Longoria, Logan Forsythe Pull Rays Within 1 Game of .500

By Robbie Knopf

For the Tampa Bay Rays to achieve any of their goals this season, step one was always going to be getting back to .500 for the first time since April 22nd. Now they are within one game of that after beating the Texas Rangers 6-3 on Thursday night.

The Rays’ great starting pitching of late continued as Jake Odorizzi went 7 innings allowing 2 runs on 4 hits, striking out 7 while walking 1. He made one mistake, a two-run homer to Geovany Soto, but that was all as he continued his excellent pitching since May 9th. In his last 18 starts, Odorizzi has an even 3.00 ERA to go along with a 120-32 strikeout to walk ratio in 102 innings pitched. I could be more selective with how far I want to go back and make Odorizzi’s ERA even lower, but I like the look for May 9th because it demonstrates a very interesting point. This isn’t a hot streak by Odorizzi–this has been excellent pitching in the major leagues for over four months.

A little bit different from what we have been seeing lately were the performances of Evan Longoria and Logan Forsythe. Longoria had the type of game that we have to hope is the harbinger of a breakout, going 2 for 5 with a homer, 3 RBI, and 2 runs scored. The homer came on a fastball on the inner part of the plate from Robbie Ross and came at a perfect time as Soto’s blast had pulled Texas within 4-2. Longoria’s blond mohawk is gone, and hopefully the old Evan Longoria is back.

Forsythe, meanwhile, entered the game just 1 for his last 15, but changed that in a hurry, drilling a two-run homer to highlight a 3 for 4 day. Even including that recent cold stretch, Forsythe has a .330/.376/.522 line in his last 127 plate appearances. Luckily, his recent struggles were just a blip on the radar as Forsythe is proving himself a worthwhile acquisition by the Rays. Brandon Guyer also had a nice game in the win, going 2 for 5 with a stolen base and a run scored.

For the Rays, the win marked their 18th straight time allowing three runs or less in road games, extending their American League record. The major league mark is 21 by the 1908 Chicago Cubs (who, as you might know, went on to win the World Series).

The Rays will have little time to celebrate their victory as they will head right home to take on the New York Yankees at 7:10 PM. Alex Cobb will take the hill against Brandon McCarthy.