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Rays Struggle in the Great White North

Rays Struggles Continue in Toronto

The Rays (11-12, 4th in A.L. East) take a 2-8 road record to the Great White North to take on the Toronto Blue Jays (6-16, 5th in A.L. East).


After a much needed day off, the Rays sent lefty Blake Snell (0-2 3.38 ERA) up against Toronto’s right-handed ace Marcus Stroman (2-2 3.10 ERA).

Slow First Half

After striking out the first two batters in the second, Stroman walked Tim Beckham and gave up a single to Shane Peterson. Derek Norris hit a soft liner to left that drove in Beckham, giving the Rays an early lead.

The Rays held onto that lead until the bottom fifth when the Jays woke up and realized they were playing baseball. Kevin Pillar got his sixth double of the season, and tied the game as he came in on Darwin Barney‘s RBI single. Barney put on the jets and advanced over to third after a single by Jose Bautista to Steven Souza Jr. in right. Kendrys Morales grounded into a double play but still got an RBI as Barney crossed home, giving Toronto the lead.

Snell would manage to get Justin Smoak to groundout and escape the inning. He was done after that, having given up two runs on six hits, and only recording three stirkeouts over 5.0 innings and 96 pitches. His ERA was barely impacted though, only raising to 3.42 from 3.38, which is still pretty solid through five games.

Rays Come Back Late

The Rays went to Austin Pruitt (2-0 6.28 ERA) after pulling Snell. Manager Kevin Cash was hoping his success would continue…and it did. Aside from a solo home run by Pillar in the bottom seventh, Pruitt pitched a three inning gem, allowing only three hits with zero walks, which dropped his ERA to 5.71.

In the top of the eighth, the Rays put on a hitting demonstration for the Toronto fans.

Corey Dickerson took the first pitch he saw from Stroman over the center field wall for his sixth homer of the season. After getting Kiermaier to strikeout, Stroman’s night would end. He finised the day with 10 strikeouts to only five hits, with only two runs and two walks which dropped his ERA to 2.97.

Relief pitcher Jason Grilli (1-2 5.40 ERA) would be greeted by Evan Longoria‘s fourth home run of the season. After walking Brad Miler and striking out Souza Jr., Grilli would be replaced by Dominic Leone, but would still be credited for the loss. Logan Morrison‘s two-run shot drove in Miller and gave the Rays their first lead since the fifth. Grilli (1-3) watched his ERA climb to 7.27 after being credited two earned runs over only 0.1 innings.

Beckham would get his second triple of the year but would be left standing on third base after Peterson popped out to end the inning.

Rays Add Some Insurance

In the top of the ninth, Norris hit the Rays fourth homer of the game and his first of the season. After hitting his ninth double of the year, Dickerson would be brought home on a wild pitch by former Rays pitcher J.P. Howell. That would be all the Rays would need to secure the win.

Although Jumbo Diaz gave up a lone run on a Bautista sacrifice fly, Chase Whitley would come in and get the save (1) with only nine pitches, bringing the Rays back to .500 at 12-12.


For Saturday’s early game, the Rays went to Matt Andriese (1-0 3.86 ERA) to face Francsico Liriano (1-2 4.58 ERA). Liriano last faced the Rays on April 7th, and was pulled after giving up five runs in only 0.1 innings, which left him with a 135.00 ERA!

The Rays were hoping for more of the same in this meeting…no such luck.

Rays Lack Offense of Any Kind

After a lead off single by Souza Jr., the Rays thought the late game magic from the night before would keep on going. Kiermaier, Longoria, and Rickie Weeks Jr. would go down in order, leaving Souza stranded at first base. In the bottom first, Toronto would start their scoring early with Bautista getting home on a throwing error.

In the second, Rays challenged a tag and actually won, while Beckham came across to tie the game. Unfortunately, the only run of the game for the Rays.

Throughout the game, the Rays would get a total of 10 baserunners. Managing five hits and five walks. The downside – they were 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position. And even worse, they were struckout 10 times by Toronto pitchers.

Toronto Takes Control

Toronto would add to the score in the fourth off a Russell Martin double that brought in Smoak, which would ultimately give Andriese the loss taking him to 1-1 on the year but leaving his ERA unchanged. In the sixth, a two-run homer by Smoak that brought in Bautista secured the win for the Jays.

Rays pitchers combined for only four strikeouts, but on the flip side only allowed three walks and six hits. The difference was that the Blue Jays were able to capitalize on their baserunners, only leaving three on base rather than nine.

Liriano would get the win and move to 2-2 on the year, lowering his ERA to 3.97. Roberto Osuna would get the save (2) after retiring the side in order.

Bad News for Souza

Steven Souza Jr. took a pitch off of his hand and had to leave the game early on Saturday. The good news – X-rays were negative and Souza is just listed as day-to-day. This is big for the Rays, as Souza is currently hitting .330 this year, with an OBP of .411.


On Sunday afternoon the Rays sent their number one to the mound as Chris Archer (2-1 3.94 ERA)  faced Aaron Sanchez (0-1 4.38 ERA) in only his third start of the season.

Offensive Struggles Continues for Rays

For the second staight game, the Rays offence was one word- abysmal.

In the first four innings, the Rays sent the minimum number of batters to the plate. Dickerson was the only one to touch first, after a lead off walk. The good news, Archer held it down for the first three innings, giving up just one single. After a hit and a walk, Archer got out of a fourth-inning  jam and kept the game scoreless.

Little offense means impressive defense…

The first hit for the Rays didn’t come until a Miller single in the fifth. A Morrison walk would put two men on with only one out- but still the Rays couldn’t prevail. Norris grounded into a double play to end the half inning for Toronto, who was now on their third pitcher of the game.

Archer would get through six and seven untouched, while the Rays started to show some signs of life.

Finally, Something Happens

In the eighth, the scoreboard operators in Toronto finally got to do some work.

Morrison started things off with a walk, followed by a Norris single. The Rays first baseman then showed awareness on a Peterson pop out – taking off from second while Smoak had his back turned. Morrison would score the first run of the game on a Daniel Robertson sacrifice bunt.

But similar to Saturday, this is all the offense the Rays would produce.


Archer would start out the inning by walking Barney. After a groundout by Pillar, Archer would get the towel after 7.1 innings, giving up just four hits and two walks while striking out five, moving him to 2-1 with a 3.43 ERA. Alex Colome would come in blow the save, giving up a double to Bautista that would drive in Barney, the only run charged to Archer.

Colome would go on as pitcher of record after a Martin single brought in Bautista. Ezequiel Carrera would pick up an RBI after driving in Morales with the insurance run, sending Colome to 0-2 with a 3.00 ERA.

Howell got the win even though he only pitched 0.1 innings. He moved his record to 1-1 this season with a astronomical-high 16.20 ERA. Osuna would get his second straight save for his third of the year.

On to Miami!

The Rays (12-14) want to put this week behind them and hope to do so with a four game set in the Citrus Series against Miami (11-12). The Rays cap off their eight game away stand with the first two at Marlins Park before returning home Wednesday.

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