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Tampa Bay Rays Game 76: Andriese, Homers Enough To Win

By Robbie Knopf

The Tampa Bay Rays picked some way to rebound from consecutive extra-inning losses. Matt Andriese looked incredible and three home runs led the offense as the Rays beat the Boston Red Sox 4-1 and remained in first place in the American League East.

Andriese started and tossed 6 shutout innings allowing just 1 hit and no walks while striking out 5. He exited after just 70 pitches, with the Rays deciding to ensure that he left his outing with confidence and hand the ball off to their top relievers. Andriese’s two-seam fastball looked especially good, forcing 5 whiffs among the 19 times he threw it including a few swings where the Boston hitters looked completely out of it. Andriese now has a 1.71 ERA and a 14-2 strikeout to walk ratio in 21 innings since returning to the Rays after a stint at Triple-A.

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There was reason to question what Andriese could do for the Rays for a long time. His stuff didn’t seem to match his strong ERA in spring training, and his results were iffy as a starting pitcher to begin the season. However, his time at Triple-A to build up his pitch count and get him back in a routine has loomed large and he is showing the ability to be a solid starting pitcher for the Rays when they need him most. It will be interesting to see what the Rays do with Andriese once Matt Moore and Jake Odorizzi are back, but he has proven himself to be an excellent depth piece for this team.

Wade Miley matched Andriese’s output through 4 innings before the Rays finally got to him in the fifth. Jake Elmore, back in his role as lefty-mashing utility man with Marc Krauss on the team, drilled a 2-run home run over by 162 Landing down the left field line, and the homers were just started for the Rays. Rene Rivera drilled a long homer off Red Sox rookie Matt Barnes in the seventh inning before Evan Longoria added an insurance run in the eighth on a blast of his own.

Longoria is starting to heat up, also drilling a double to cap a 2-for-4 game and extend his hitting streak to 5, but the same is even truer of Asdrubal Cabrera. He went 2 for 4 with at triple and a run scored as he now has a .343/.361/.600 line in his last 36 plate appearances. Cabrera has a lot more work to do to erase his rough start to the season, but he has been excellent defensively the whole way through and we know that he has the ability to be a more productive hitter than how he looked previously.

Kevin Jepsen did allow an Alejandro De Aza home run in the eighth inning, but he joined Jake McGee and Brad Boxberger to pitch shutout ball otherwise as the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Red Sox 4-1. Tomorrow, Chris Archer will look to lead the Rays to a series win as he opposes Justin Masterson in a 1:10 PM game.

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