Tampa Bay Rays Game 32: Jake Odorizzi Solid But Offense Lacking
By Joe Saunders
The Tampa Bay Rays lost 2-1 on Sunday afternoon in a close game against the Texas Rangers. Despite being under the weather, Jake Odorizzi had a pretty solid outing but didn’t get much help from his offense.
Adrian Beltre homered off Odorizzi to deep center in the fourth inning to put Texas out in front first. Brandon Guyer then singled home Kevin Kiermaier in the bottom of the sixth to tie the game at 1. Evan Longoria came up later in the inning with bases loaded and only one out, but helined into a double play as Elvis Andrus made a great diving grab to rob the Rays of at least one more run. Beltre singled home Andrus in the eighth to put the Rangers up 2-1, and that would prove to be the final score.
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Jake Odorizzi was sick with the flu but still managed 6.2 innings pitched and only allowed 1 run on 7 hits while striking out 7 and not walking a hitter. Xavier Cedeno came in to get the last out of the seventh and was helped out by an excellent diving stop and throw from Tim Beckham for the out. Kevin Jepsen, however, struggled in the eighth, allowing a run after walking the first two hitters on Beltre’s hit. Jepsen has now struggled mightily in his last four appearances, pitching to an 11.57 ERA with just 1 strikeout against 6 walks in 2.1 innings pitched.
The Rays might have been better off going with Brad Boxberger in that spot with the Andrus, Prince Fielder, and Beltre due up for the Rangers that inning. The good news for the Rays, though, is that their won’t be an controversy about such a decision once Jake McGee returns and gives them two qualified closers. Ernesto Frieri finished the game with 1.1 shutout innings and is trending the exact opposite way of Jepsen, pitching to a 0.93 ERA in his last nine appearance.
The offense didn’t even get a baserunner until the sixth inning when Tim Beckham singled off Wandy Rodriguez. Rodriguez wound up retiring 34 batters in a row between the last 14 outs of his start against the Houston Astros on May 5th and the five perfect innings he threw to start this game against the Rays. The Rays were able to seize the opportunity they received in that sixth to score on Brandon Guyer’s RBI single, but they were so close to taking the lead on Longoria’s aforementioned liner before it turned into an inning-ending double play.
The Tampa Bay Rays encountered more bad luck in the ninth inning. With Logan Forsythe on second base and one out, James Loney hit a single to centerfield, but Forsythe did not get a good read on the ball, and by the time he realized that it would drop, he could only make it to third base. We will never know whether he would have scored if he had recognized that it would drop earlier, but Loney was waving his arms as he ran down the first base line, trying to nudge Forsythe to run sooner. Forsythe was stranded at third base to end the game.
Kevin Cash and Derek Shelton were both thrown out in the fifth inning after a questionable strike three on a check swing was called on Joey Butler. The replay appeared to show that Butler didn’t go but home plate umpire Mike Estabrook called it a swing without asking the first base umpire for help. It had been the latest of a series of questionable strike calls, and both Rays coaches couldn’t take it anymore. It was Cash’s second ejection as manager of the Rays.
The Rays also made three great plays defensively. Forsythe, playing first base, made an excellent running catch on a foul ball in the fifth inning before colliding with the stands. Then Evan Longoria ran towards the other bullpen with two outs in the eighth and made a sliding catch near the Rangers bullpen to get Frieri out of the frame. Add those two plays to the aforementioned dive from Beckham, and Rays infielders had quite a day in the field.
The Rays begin a four-game set with the Yankees on Monday hoping for better results than their four-game split with the Rangers. Alex Colome will get the start and be opposed by CC Sabathia at 7:10 PM EST.
Next: Tampa Bay Rays Game 31: Evan Longoria Shines (And MiLB Recap)