The Tampa Bay Rays lost 1-0 to the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday night. That’s obviously disappointing–every team wants to win as much as possible–but it also represented a return to normalcy. For at least one game, we could forget that the Rays’ rotation is hurting and that their bullpen is a work in progress and get back to the usual complaints about the team’s offense.
Chris Archer labored, tossing 106 pitches in just 5.2 innings after he had needed just 109 to deliver 7 innings in his previous outing. However, the increased effort wasn’t indicative of poor results by him in any way. Archer allowed 7 hits but only an unearned run, striking out 9 while walking 1. Each hit he allowed was a single and he managed to work around the baserunners with his usual excellent slider. Archer wasn’t quite at his best, but the Rays could hardly complain about his performance.
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Given that Archer departed somewhat early from the game, there was some question as to whether the Tampa Bay Rays’ bullpen could hold down the Red Sox and give its offense a chance. The bats never came around, but the relief corps certainly did its part. Brandon Gomes stranded the two runners he inherited from Archer as he went 1.1 perfect innings with a strikeout. Though he threw 10 secondary pitches versus just 3 fastballs, that certainly worked in this game.
Ernesto Frieri followed with a scoreless inning working around walk before Jose Dominguez worked around a leadoff double to toss a shutout frame of his own. Frieri has gotten off to an iffy start, but it was nice to see him send down Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval after walking David Ortiz. Dominguez, meanwhile, showed the type of composure he will need if he is going to reach his upside of a late-inning reliever.
We also need to talk about the saga of Ryan Brett. Brett ranks among the Rays’ top prospects and recorded his second big league hit in this game, but he would like to forget everything else that happened. Archer’s unearned run came after Brett couldn’t complete a double play with Mookie Betts baring down on him at second base. Then, after Brett reached on an infield single, he was picked off and dislocated his shoulder on the play. Brett will head to the DL and the Rays need to figure out who will replace him.
Brett’s hit was one of just four by the Rays in the contest as they were held down by ex-Rays draft pick Wade Miley and the Boston bullpen. The team got a runner into scoring position in just one inning, the sixth, and also grounded into a pair of double plays. Obviously the Rays need more offense than that if they want to win games, and luckily James Loney is set to return soon to help matters.