Tampa Bay Rays MLB/MiLB Recap: Better News in Durham

By Robbie Knopf

The Tampa Bay Rays had another rough game. Richie Shaffer and the Durham Bulls did not, providing just a tiny bit of consolation.

Houston Astros 3, Tampa Bay Rays 2

Brad Boxberger is really struggling, blowing the save in this game. If I have time (I’m on vacation), I’ll discuss him later today. Matt Andriese let in the go-ahead run in the 13th in his second inning of work, but he won’t be chastised for that until it happens a few more times. All of the other pitchers looked great, with Nate Karns allowing 1 run on 6 hits in 6 innings, striking out 8 while walking 1, while Xavier Cedeno, Alex Colome, and Brandon Gomes combined for 4 perfect innings with 8 strikeouts.

On the offensive side, the Rays stranded multiple baserunners in the first inning before finally breaking through against Dallas Keuchel in the seventh, scoring when Tim Beckham drove in Logan Forsythe on a triple and James Loney got him home on a sac fly. Both on Monday and in this game, Beckham provided a spark to lead the Rays to victory. But the Rays failed to score despite 3 hits in the eighth and stranded Loney at second base in the 12th as the bullpen let the game get away.

The Tampa Bay rays desperately need Chris Archer to find himself after a pair of rough starts as they hope to stop the bleeding and earn a split with the Astros. Archer will be opposed by Collin McHugh in a game set to begin at 8:10 PM EST.

Durham Bulls 17, Toledo Mud Hens (DET) 2

This game was better. Richie Shaffer went 3 for 5 with 2 homers, a walk, 4 RBI, and 4 runs scored, Taylor Motter had a 2-for-5 day with a walk, a homer, 2 RBI, and 2 runs scored, Nick Franklin went 2 for 6 with a homer, a double, 3 RBI, and 2 runs, and Boog Powell went 2 for 5 with a triple, a hit-by-pitch, 2 RBI, and 2 runs scored. That’s a lot of offense, and that’s without mentioning 3-hit performances from J.P. Arencibia and Ryan Brett plus 2-hit games from Mikie Mahtook and Corey Brown. Wow.

It is great to see Shaffer taking his demotion the right way–either that or wiping away his frustration by destroying baseballs, which also works. On the pitching side, meanwhile, Blake Snell continues to pitch excellently, allowing 1 run on 1 hit in 5 innings, striking out 7 while walking 1. He won’t be called up until at least September 1st because the Rays want to manage his innings, but it would be fun if he does get the chance to make his MLB debut. C.J. Riefenhauser also tossed 2 shutout innings, striking out 2 while getting past a hit.

Double-A Southern League Game 1: Tennessee Smokies (CHC) 7, Montgomery Biscuits 6

In the mood for more heartbreak? The Biscuits led this one 6-5 entering the bottom of the ninth before usually effective closer Brad Schreiber let it slip away. Jaime Schultz allowed 5 runs in 5 innings, but Parker Markel and Ryan Garton combined for 3 shutout innings and the Biscuits offense was pretty good. Jake DePew had an extremely surprising huge day, going 1 for 2 with a 3-run homer and 2 walks while Tyler Goeddel drilled a solo shot and Johnny Field went 1 for 3 with a double and an RBI, but a bad ninth inning can wipe away the positives in any close game.

Game 2: Montgomery 4, Tennessee 2 (5 inning)

One way to avoid a ninth-inning collapse is to have rain end your game in the fifth inning. Austin Pruitt tossed the shortened complete game, allowing 2 runs, 1 earned, on 3 hits, striking out 3 while walking none. In terms of the run support, Cameron Seitzer slammed a solo homer, Dayron Varona contributed a 2-run single, and Juniel Querecuto went 2 for 2 with an RBI and a run scored.

Next: Tampa Bay Rays: What We Learned From Richie Shaffer’s Call-Up