Tampa Bay Rays: Charlie Morton pitches well in loss to Braves
By Seth Carter
The Tampa Bay Rays suffered their first loss in four games in last night’s battle of the aces with the Atlanta Braves.
The Tampa Bay Rays sent out their Opening Day starter Charlie Morton to face off against the Atlanta Braves’ ace Mike Soroka on Wednesday night. The Rays had taken two straight from the Braves and three straight after their Opening Day defeat at the hands of the Blue Jays.
This would be the home opener for the Braves after playing the previous two days at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, FL.
Tampa Bay Rays – Charlie Morton vs. Mike Soroka
Charlie Morton hopes to improve upon his rough first day on the job in 2020. On Opening Day, Morton pitched four innings, giving up six earned runs on seven hits and one walk. He took the loss and looked to move forward.
Last night he and Soroka lived up to the hype after the Braves have suffered through starting pitching woes early in the season. Soroka is not a part of that problem. In his 5.1 innings last night, he surrendered two earned runs on four hits and five strikeouts. He uncharacteristically walked three batters but dropped his ERA to 1.59 on the season.
Morton made it 5.0 innings, also allowing just two earned runs on six hits and one walk. Charlie tacked on seven strikeouts. The starters did their part but the game would be decided in the bullpens. Normally, that’s a battle the Rays will win, but that didn’t happen last night.
Andrew Kittredge, who has had some trouble locating pitches early in this season, relieved Morton in the fifth and gave up two earned runs while getting just one out. Then, the team-leader in saves entered the game in relief and promptly walked Ender Inciarte. After striking out Ronald Acuna Jr., Drake gave up a single to Ozzie Albies, allowing Dansby Swanson to score and tie the game. Freddie Freeman then lined a shot to centerfield and the Braves took a 5-4 lead, of which they would not relinquish.
Drake was tagged with a blown save and the loss.
Tampa Bay Rays Notes
Former Rays’ catcher Travis d’Arnaud made his Braves’ debut last night and went 1-3 with an RBI and a double to get things started off of Kittredge in the sixth.
Willy Adames went 1-3 and raised his average to .333 on the season.
Despite going 0-5 with three strikeouts, Brandon Lowe still has a .318 average, .400 on-base percentage and a .636 slugging percentage.
Kevin Kiermaier had two great outfield assists, nailing Acuna at home and Albies at third.
Kevin Kiermaier appeared to have misjudged the distance of a Johan Camargo rocket to center field that bounced off the wall and to the right of his glove. Camargo also appeared to have misjudged the ball as he flipped his bat and watched it for a while before he started running. It was interesting to see two major-leaguers misjudge the same ball like that.
Please speculate on that in the comments.