Tampa Bay Rays Game 33: Alex Colome Lit Up by Yankees
By Robbie Knopf
Alex Colome‘s strikeout to walk ratio is an outstanding 16-1 in his 16 innings for the Tampa Bay Rays this season. He has pounded the strike zone, and that is especially impressive given the quality of his stuff. However, even as we praise his control, we need to talk about his command. Colome has thrown more strikes as his professional career has progressed, but he still occasionally has issues with missing his spots within the zone and leaving his offerings in hittable spots. That was certainly the case in his start against the New York Yankees on Monday night.
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People have speculated that Colome was tipping pitches in this game, but there is no reason to think that he was. He simply made a few mistakes and the Yankees took advantage. Alex Rodriguez gave New York a 1-0 lead on a fastball belt-high and middle-in. Chase Headley‘s three-run blast came on a changeup right down the middle. Carlos Beltran took advantage of a fastball left in his wheelhouse down-and-in for his second homer in as many days. And Brett Gardner delivered the finishing blow when he sat fastball on 2-0 and was right on it on the outer part of the plate.
Overall, Colome went 6 innings allowing 8 runs on 11 hits, striking out 6 while walking 1. It was a disastrous outing–and maybe he should have been pulled with two runners on in the sixth inning–but hopefully his command will not have as many lapses in his next time out and he will be fine. Colome showed good composure in his first two starts of the season, and if he has what it takes mentally to handle being a big league starting pitcher, this start is already out of his mind and he will start figuring out how to be better next time out beginning tomorrow.
Ernesto Frieri and Erasmo Ramirez also struggled off the mound for the Tampa Bay Rays in their 11-5 loss, but there were some highlights offensively. In particular, Logan Forsythe had a huge game, going 3 for 4 with a homer, a double, and 3 RBI. The double tied the game at 1 after Rodriguez’s homer in the top of the first, although a baserunning gaffe by Steven Souza Jr. caused him to get cut down at the plate. Forsythe’s blast, meanwhile, was the first of back-to-back shots and Joey Butler followed with a homer to the opposite field.
Forsythe has been the biggest surprise for the Rays this season. We knew that he was better than he appeared to be in his disastrous 2014, but suddenly he is hitting righties as well as lefties and looking like one of the better starting second basemen in baseball. Will this last? We honestly don’t know yet. Forsythe has struggled for years hitting right-handed pitching, and he needs more than a month and a half to prove that he is no longer the same hitter. Even if he isn’t quite this good, though, Forsythe certainly looks like a player who will continue to help the Rays this season.
The other player who had a nice game was Asdrubal Cabrera, who went 2 for 4 with a double and a run scored. He was moved down to seventh in the Rays’ batting order after starting at third, a disappointing outcome for a player making $7.5 million, but everyone knows that he is better than this and he is finally starting to demonstrate that. Cabrera has looked very good at shortstop–and defensive metrics agree in the small sample, for what it’s worth–and if he hits like he has in recent years, he can be a valuable player.
The loss takes the Rays to 17-15 and just 1-6 against the Yankees. Tomorrow, they will take on New York once again at 7:10 PM EST, with Chris Archer hoping to get back on track after two disaster outings as he takes on Nathan Eovaldi.