Things looked good for the Rays going into today’s game against the Philadelphia Phillies. The Rays were sending Jake Odorizzi to the mound against a soft-tossing left-hander by the name of Adam Morgan who had won exactly one game for the entire year. The Rays also had the third best record in baseball against lefty pitchers. That’s the good news. The bad news is that five batters in their lineup were hitting below .220 and the 3-4-5 hitters had gone 1 for 22 in the first two games of the series.
Things did not start out well for the Rays. In the second inning, Philadelphia loaded the bases with a bloop single by Ben Revere, a pop double by Freddy Galvis and a walk to Cesar Hernandez. Ryan Howard and Andres Blanco drove in runs and the Phillies led 2-0. Odorizzi was not sharp in the early going but the Phillies weren’t pounding him either. Combine lack of sharpness with bad luck, and you get results like that.
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The Rays had plenty of chances to get back in the game in the next three innings. Singles by Joey Butler, Tim Beckham and Jake Elmore loaded the bases in the 2nd, but no one scored as Rene Rivera and (unsurprisingly) Odorizzi failed to deliver the big hit. In the third, Brandon Guyer singled and got to second only to be picked off. Steven Souza Jr. singled and advanced to second on a wild pitch but was stranded. In the 4th, Joey Butler singled and Tim Beckham doubled and once again, nobody scored as Rivera and Odorizzi couldn’t come through.
By that time, Odorizzi had settled down on the mound and was holding the Phillies in check. He looked much better on the whole, finishing with 5 innings allowing 2 runs on 5 hits, striking out 4 while walking 2. He got past the rough beginning and survived a scare after he was hit by a Morgan line drive but remained in the game. He was then somewhat controversially pinch-hit for in the top of the sixth.
In the fifth, the Rays offense finally got going. Guyer opened with a single. Evan Longoria broke out of a 0-18 slump to double him home. Logan Forsythe followed with a double and James Loney, pinch-hitting for Beckham, singled. The Rays were up 3-2. Unfortunately, Brandon Gomes relieved Ordozzi in the 6th and gave up two more runs to the Phillies before Xavier Cedeno bailed him out. An unusual error by James Loney on a double play ball didn’t help at all. Phillies were up 4-3.
Forsythe, perhaps the Rays only dependable hitter at this point, homered in the seventh and the game was tied at 4-4. The Rays tried to add runs in the 8th and 9th innings. but again left men in scoring position. The Phillies had their missed chances as well, particularly in the eighth inning, when they nearly took the lead only to see what could have been the go-ahead run taken away after replay.
This took the game to the 10th inning when Brad Boxberger, working his second inning, allowed a runner to get to second and, after working a deep count to Phillies pinch-hitter Odubel Herrera, gave up a single to end the game.
It was a frustrating loss for Tampa Bay Rays fans and players alike. The Rays’ pitching was not crisp, the defense made errors and mental mistakes, and the offense couldn’t capitalize enough on their numerous chances. The team is in a bad place right now and hopefully a return to Tropicana Field (and an off-day tomorrow) will change things for the better.