Tampa Bay Rays Game 105: Souza Back To DL, Moore Demoted

By Robbie Knopf

The Tampa Bay Rays have seen enough from Matt Moore for now. In a move that we have discussed for a while, the Rays have optioned Matt Moore to Triple-A Durham after his latest disastrous start, a 3-inning effort on Saturday in which he allowed 6 runs on 9 hits. We also don’t have nearly enough information to say that Moore’s future is in serious trouble, but it is clear that he isn’t getting the job done now and needs to get back in track on a lower-pressure environment before he can help this team again.

The other player who is going off the roster leaves under more unfortunate circumstances. Steven Souza Jr. fractured his left hand after getting hit by a Joe Kelly pitch, and Mikie Mahtook will join the team to take his place. Grady Sizemore had replaced Mahtook on the roster today, but with the DL move, the Rays can call him back nonetheless. Souza had been showing signs of life lately–his 1-for-2 effort in this game gave him a 5-game hitting streak–but now he is out with his second bad-luck injury of the year, and the Rays will need to consider alternatives.

To finish off the negatives, the Rays’ bullpen behind Moore was also atrocious to lead to the 11-7 final. Alex Colome got help from Kevin Kiermaier to allow only 1 run in his 2 innings despite giving up 3 hits and 2 walks while striking out 2. Kiermaier unleashed a tremendous throw from centerfield to gun down a Red Sox runner. Steve Geltz then allowed 2 more runs in his inning and Kirby Yates gave up 2 more in the bottom of the eighth. At least Xavier Cedeno looked good, allowing just a hit while striking out 1 in the seventh, and that brings us to the positives.

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The Tampa Bay Rays offense looked great again in this game, falling behind 6-0 but getting as close as 7-6. Logan Forsythe went 2 for 5 with 3 RBI, adding a ninth-inning homer, while John Jaso went 3 for 4 with a walk and 2 runs scored, Kiermaier complemented his defense by going 2 for 4 with an RBI, and James Loney went 2 for 5 with a run batted in of his own. The Rays went 5 for 13 (.385) with runners in scoring position, and seven runs versus eight men left on is a great ratio. Seven of the nine Rays in the lineup–plus Brandon Guyer, who replaced Souza–all came up with at least one hit.

The Rays have now averaged 5.6 runs per game in their last five contests, and it is just terrible luck that they are only 2-3 in that stretch. The refrain has to keep being “If the Rays’ offense can come remotely close to keeping this up, great things will be ahead,” although it would be nice to see the pitching and defense that are assumed to be there always but have been lacking of late. The Rays hope to salvage the third game of their three-game series with the Boston Red Sox tomorrow at 1:35 PM as Jake Odorizzi takes on ex-Rays draft pick Wade Miley.

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