If you are in the Tampa Bay area, it is presumably safe to once again look upward. Hopefully, the Tampa Bay Rays have completed their freefall back to earth. What week it has been!
The Tampa Bay Rays came home to Tropicana Field on July 27 for an eight-game homestand, but did not get off to a very propitious beginning. The Tampa Bay Rays lost the first two games of the opening series to the New York Yankees but reversed the equation on Thursday, July 29.
The Rays hammered Yankees’ ace Gerrit Cole for eight runs in five and a third innings en route to a 14-0 thrashing of New York. It was one of the most lopsided wins in Rays history and included homers from Austin Meadows, Brett Phillips and Ji-Man Choi.
The division-leading Boston Red Sox then came to the Trop with a one-and-a-half game lead over the Rays in the AL East. A three-game sweep by the Tampa Bay Rays saw Boston leave town trailing the Rays by a game-and-a-half.
Sadly for the Rays, the Seattle Mariners then came to town for a three-game series. In the same way that people constantly wonder “how the Rays keep doing it,” the same question has been asked of the Mariners’ mastery over the Rays.
The Mariners have swept the Rays eight times in their history, including earlier this year in Seattle. The Rays had lost eight of 9 games to them since Aug 19, 2019, before Wednesday’s contest.
Randy Arozarena, who has recently come to life at bat, was five-for-nine in the first two games of the Seattle series, with a homer in each game. On Wednesday, he continued with the hot bat as he had a double and a triple, scored a run and drove in two.
The Rays still lead the Red Sox by one-and-a-half games, thanks to Boston’s inability to beat Detroit.
Starting pitcher Josh Fleming increased his record to 9-5 with the win after allowing five hits and two runs in five innings. Ryan Sherriff picked up his first save by pitching a perfect ninth inning, with one strikeout. Sherriff got through the inning with only eight pitches, six of them for strikes.
The Rays now hope to gain some ground this weekend when they go to Baltimore. The Boston Red Sox visit the Toronto Blue Jays, and the Yankees host the Mariners. From the first-place Rays to the fourth-place Blue Jays, only six-and-a-half games separate them.