Last night, a trio of struggling Tampa Bay Rays delivered strong games. Nick Franklin drilled a two-run home run for his first hit since his 2015 debut, Kevin Kiermaier went 2 for 3 with a double and a run scored, and Rene Rivera even went 1 for 2 with a walk. The Rays came up with a few big hits and were able to hang with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim most of the way. However, combine a poor outing from Alex Colome with hard-hit balls that end up in opposing fielder’s gloves, and you have a bad combination.
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Mike Trout and Albert Pujols were too much for Colome, with Trout drilling a three-run homer and Pujols adding a solo shot. David Freese also drilled a home run, and Pujols added a second blast against Andrew Bellatti later in the game. Colome finished with 6 innings allowing 5 runs on 9 hits, striking out 5 while walking 3. He flashed dominance with his fastball, slider, and changeup, but he hung sliders to Trout and Pujols and consistently got in trouble when he got behind in counts and everyone knew his fastball was coming.
Colome finished relatively strong, allowing only one run in his final three innings after allowing three in his first three frames. Kevin Cash trusted him even after he got into a jam in the sixth inning, and he managed to escape unscathed. We saw Colome and Rene Rivera refine their pitch selection later in the game, more often throwing fastballs up and tossing a 2-0 changeup to David Freese. Hopefully Colome will take some positives from this game, but those gains happened too late in this particular outing.
The Rays also have to hope that Franklin is beginning to find his form. His home run came on a hanging slider by Garrett Richards as he finally showed us a glimpse the power that was a big reason why he emerged as one of the top 50 prospects in baseball. Franklin’s struggles to begin this season started with bad luck and continued as he lost his focus. He let his slump get to him, and maybe even took his problems into the field. However, now he has a big hit under his belt and that better be enough for him to relax.
The loss takes the Tampa Bay Rays back to .500 at 26-26, and they will hope to rebound against the Angels tomorrow night. Chris Archer will take the mound against C.J. Wilson beginning at 10:05 PM EST.