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Tampa Bay Rays Game 9: Erasmo Ramirez Struggles In First Start

By RobKillette
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After recently compiling a four-game win streak on the road, the Tampa Bay Rays’ pitching completely fell apart on Wednesday night in their 12-7 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.

Erasmo Ramirez started his first game of the season, and everything went wrong for him right out of the gate. Ramirez allowed a two-run home run to Jose Bautista just one out into the first inning. Things didn’t get better for Ramirez as he went on to allow nine runs, seven earned, in 3.1 innings pitched.

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Ramirez had times where you could tell he was really struggling, but he also had a few bright moments.  After allowing the home run in the first, he forced two quick outs by striking out Edwin Encarnacion and getting ex-Ray Dioner Navarro to ground out. He can also take solace in the fact that a lot of the hits he allowed were simply groundballs in the right spots. Even so, he allowed two or three runs in every inning he pitched in, and that won’t cut it.

On the other hand, the Rays had their strongest game of the series when it came to hitting. The Rays scored seven runs while leaving only eight men on base and were 4-10 (obviously .400) with RISP in the game.  They did take a while to score as their first run came on a Steven Souza home run in the fifth inning. Sadly, no matter how far the ball traveled or how impressive the hit was, it still only counts for one run.

The Rays’ ninth inning made this game seem a lot more competitive than it actually was. Coming into the inning, the score was 12-3 in favor of Toronto. The rally began with a Souza double that brought in two runs before Asdrubal Cabrera drove in a run on a groundout and Bobby Wilson drove in the seventh and final run of the night for the Rays with a single.

The play of the game came in the seventh inning when Tim Beckham made solid contact and hit a shot over the left field wall only to be robbed by Jays left fielder Kevin Pillar. Pillar timed his leap perfectly, climbing up the wall just in time to snag the ball. It was nice to see Beckham make hard contact, but Pillar prevented us from remembering Beckham’s hit at something more.

One of the brightest points of the game was Mikie Mahtook’s first major league hit. Mahtook replaced Kevin Kiermaier in the outfield during the bottom of the fifth inning and had a memorable appearance thereafter. After being down 1-2 in the count, Mahtook took Buehrle’s fourth pitch deep, driving in Logan Forsythe along with himself. It was a huge moment for him and hopefully a sign of things to come for him the big leagues.

The Tampa Bay Rays MVP of the game has to be Steven Souza Jr. The rookie was excellent and now has two home runs and five RBI in this series with Toronto. Souza started this season off slowly, but he has picked it up recently and is showing that he is capable of being an everyday player for the Rays. He is looking like the player the Rays pictured when they acquired him from the Washington Nationals.

The Rays will wrap up their four-game series with the Jays tomorrow at 7:07 PM EST. Chris Archer will be on the mound for the Rays against Toronto’s Aaron Sanchez. Archer will attempt to get his second win on the season and lead to the Rays to their second straight series victory.

Next: Tampa Bay Rays: Jose Dominguez Gets His Chance

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