The Tampa Bay Rays somehow lost their game against the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday afternoon. Two pitchers who had yet to pitch above A-ball turned an 8-2 lead into an 11-8 deficit as the Rays found their way into what would have been a heartbreaking loss. Yet at least for me personally, the game concluded and all I could do was smile. That was how impressive Daniel Robertson was earlier in the game.
Robertson wasn’t initially supposed to be in the Rays’ lineup. Apparently he found out just before the game began. But there he was, a player who had never played regular season game above A-ball, in a batting order where everyone else had seen big league time. In the second inning, he came up to the plate against Red Sox setup man Junichi Tazawa and saw a first-pitch breaking ball for a strike. How many times had he seen such a good secondary pitch in the California League?
Tazawa, clearly working on his breaking ball as pitchers often do in the spring, decided to double up on the pitch to Daniel Robertson. The second one did not have the element of surprise, but it wasn’t a terrible pitch, ending up on the inside part of the plate and just above Robertson’s knee. However, Robertson was ready and put a charge into it. It went over the left field wall for a three-run homer as the Rays took a 4-0 lead.
Robertson made a nice catch on a popup to shallow center by Brock Holt before he was hit by a pitch in his next plate appearance. He had quite a productive day, and no one would have complained had it concluded that way. Heck, Robertson still may have been the headliner for this game at Rays Colored Glasses and many other places. But luckily for us, the Rays did leave in their top shortstop prospect for one more at-bat.
Keith Couch is no Junichi Tazawa as a pitcher with just one Triple-A game under his belt. But after Robertson’s blast off of Tazawa, even the unknown Couch couldn’t take away from his accomplishments in this game. Robertson drilled a fastball off Couch, and once again, it left the yard. There was Daniel Robertson, one of the first two cuts from Rays camp, showing what might be in store for him in the future. After his 2 for 2 day with 2 homers and 5 RBI, it’s impossible not to be excited.
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Elsewhere in the game, Jim Miller tossed 2 shutout innings and Brandon Gomes delivered 2.2 more. Brandon Guyer and Kevin Kiermaier both went 2 for 4, and Steven Souza aggressively swiped third base. And before those two young pitchers came apart, lefty Jordan Harrison tossed a pair of shutout innings, showing off a solid fastball and a tight breaking ball. There were highlights for the Rays all around in this contest. However, nobody shined brighter than Daniel Robertson.
Click below for the recap of the Rays’ game versus Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday and their schedule for tomorrow.