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Tampa Bay Rays Game 124: Steve Geltz Collapses in 7th Inning

By Robbie Knopf

Once again, the Tampa Bay Rays struggled offensively on the whole, but they were able to seize one critical opportunity to take the lead. In the seventh inning, Asdrubal Cabrera‘s single was hit too hard for Kevin Kiermaier to score from second base, giving the Rays first and third with one out. It was a classic situation where the offense has seemingly found ways not to score. Instead, Desmond Jennings immediately brought Kiermaier home on a sac fly, and after a Brandon Guyer walk, Rene Rivera delivered a huge RBI single to give the Rays a 2-1 lead.

Jake Odorizzi had pitched extremely well, allowing just 1 run on 3 hits in 6 innings, striking out 4 without a walk, and the Rays had gotten him enough runs to win the game. A bigger cushion would have been nice, but they entrusted their bullpen to finish off the game. That did not go so well this time around. Odorizzi departed after walking the leadoff batter in the seventh inning before Steve Geltz had one of the worst outings of his life.

Geltz finished with 4 runs given up on 4 hits and a walk in just a third of an inning. Even that one out took an excellent throw from Kevin Kiermaier to nab Stephen Vogt at home on a hard base hit. This has been a breakout season for Geltz, but for whatever reason, he had absolutely no command at all of his fastball in this one and paid the price. He departed with the Rays trailing 3-2, but Matt Andriese allowed both runners he inherited from him to score. Andriese was put into a tough spot as a usual starting pitcher entering with two runners on, but whatever the case, the results were not good. By the time the inning had concluded, the A’s were ahead 8-2.

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What do we make of the Rays’ bullpen issues of late? Honestly, that isn’t the right discussion for right now. Brad Boxberger has had his issues, but several relievers have stepped up to fill the void left by Kevin Jepsen and now Jake McGee. This was simply a matter of Geltz having a horrific outing, and we will worry more if it doesn’t look like an aberration in a few days’ time. Bad games and horrific losses happen to everyone–the question is about the average relief appearance and how reliable guys can be from day to day. If it happens once, ask “What can you do?” – only when it happens twice or three times can we start wondering whether there is a serious issue. Boxberger is a concern, but don’t go off on everyone else just yet.

The Tampa Bay Rays will be off tomorrow before starting a series with the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday at 7:10 PM EST. Nate Karns will take the mound against Ervin Santana in the series opener.

Next: Tampa Bay Rays: Why Brad Boxberger Has Fallen Off