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Tampa Bay Rays: Ryan Yarbrough stellar amid silence of the bats

By Seth Carter
ATLANTA, GA - JULY 30: Kevin Kiermaier #39 of the Tampa Bay Rays reacts after being tagged out attempting to steal second base in the ninth inning of an MLB game against the Atlanta Braves at Truist Park on July 30, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - JULY 30: Kevin Kiermaier #39 of the Tampa Bay Rays reacts after being tagged out attempting to steal second base in the ninth inning of an MLB game against the Atlanta Braves at Truist Park on July 30, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) /
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The Tampa Bay Rays split the four-game set with the Braves with each team taking the home wins. Last night in the battle of the talented lefties, the Rays bats were silenced by Max Fried.

Tampa Bay Rays SP Tyler Glasnow has been garnering pre-season Cy Young buzz this year but the Braves have their own breakout candidate who has received similar hype. Left-hander Max Fried won 17 games for the Braves last season and is off to a blistering start in 2020. Unfortunately, for the Rays, they were recipients of some of those blisters last night.

Why couldn’t the Tampa Bay Rays hit Max Fried?

The offense had been rolling coming into the game. Despite scoring just one run last night, the Rays are still second in all of baseball in runs scored. Max Fried was dealing last night with his trademark curveball violently thrashing its way through the edges of the zone. Fried mixed in five different pitches last night with 42% of them being his four-seam fastball. That fastball averaged a solid 93.8 mph last season. While the Rays saw one Braves pitcher (Mike Foltynewicz) whose velocity took a drastic turn south from last season, Fried was quite the opposite.

Last night his heater was in excess of 99 mph at times. He was flat out scary. The Rays were being no-hit into the fifth inning until Mike Brosseau singled on a ground ball up the middle. He was promptly picked off at first for messing up the lefty’s no-hit bid.

Finally, in the seventh, Willy Adames doubled with two outs and Braves’ manager decided it was too early in the season to let Fried finish this battle beyond his 85 pitches. He called in reliever Luke Jackson to pitch to Ji-Man Choi who was pinch-hitting for Brosseau.

Everyone’s favorite player (Choi), sat out yesterday’s game with a sore shoulder, singled to right field and drove Adames in for the Rays first run of the game. That would be their only run.

How did Ryan Yarbrough pitch?

Ryan Yarbrough may have been slightly overshadowed by Max Fried and the Braves’ victory, but he has put together a spectacular start to the season in two outings thus far. Last night, he made it 6.1 innings allowing two hits and two earned runs on three walks and six strikeouts on 87 pitches. His season ERA currently sits at 1.54, which is better than Max Fried’s. 

The master of preventing hard contact is up to his old tricks after allowing just two hard-hit balls in his first outing, he allowed only three in this game. Two of them came off the bat of Ronald Acuna Jr. (both resulted in outs) and one was on a groundball by Ozzie Albies.

Yarbrough is once again among league leaders in hard-hit percentage and average exit velocity in 2020.

Scoring just one run in a well-pitched game can be a tough pill to swallow, but Ryan Yarbrough’s pitching should give us plenty to be happy about. It was a masterful pitcher’s duel last night and both starters deserve credit.

Next. Rays Updated Top 10 Pitching Prospects. dark

The Rays look to prevent a three-game skid today when they travel to Baltimore to face the Orioles. Blake Snell will square off against our old friend Alex Cobb at 7:35 p.m. ET.

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