The bullpen woes continue for the struggling Rays as they give up three runs in 3.1 innings of work.
ST. PETERSBURG — The comeback falls just short as the Rays rallied for two runs in the ninth inning and leave the bases loaded to lose by one run.
This is now their seventh loss in the past eight games and the Rays are now in third place in the AL East behind the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox. They’re behind the Red Sox by .001 of a percentage point.
As an opposing hitter, tonight is not the night you wanted to face Chris Sale. Outside of a two-run Travis d’Arnaud homer, Sale was dominant. In his six innings of work, Sale allowed only the two runs on four hits while striking out ten Rays. This was the 12th time Sale has recorded double-digit strikeouts this season, tying Houston Astros ace, Gerrit Cole for the league lead. Sale now owns a 2.01 ERA at Tropicana Field.
As for the Rays side of things, Yonny Chirinos pitched well himself. He struggled in the first inning, allowing two runs on 25 pitches, but really settled down after that, including two innings where he only needed eight pitches each to retire the side.
“I felt good,” Chirinos said through a translator. “Sometimes at the beginning of the game, the body reacts a little bit differently, but I was still there to attack hitters and compete.”
Chirinos was rolling through the fifth with a pitch count of 88, but with three lefties due up, Rays manager Kevin Cash decided to go to the pen.
“All the lefties,” Cash replied when asked why he took Chirinos out of the game. ” It was a 2-2 ballgame. We got the matchups we liked with the lefties the way they stack their lineup. We felt like ‘let’s get somebody in there who maybe is a tick better matchup after those guys had already seen him [Chirinos] two times through.”
d’Arnaud Does it Again
As mentioned previously, d’Arnaud took Sale deep in the third inning. It was his 11th long ball of the season and his sixth in the month of July. He owns a .333 average to go along with his six homers and has also accumulated 16 RBI in 14 games this month.
Matt Duffy made his season debut tonight and did so in a big way, reaching base three times on the evening. Duffy ended the evening going 2-for-3 including a single, double and a walk.
According to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, the Rays have checked in on Tigers OF Nicholas Castellanos. Castellanos, 27, is in the last year of his contract and is slashing .284/.342/.480 in 93 games this season.
The Rays have also been linked to Rangers OF Hunter Pence, according to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Pence, who’s now 36, is arguably having the best year of his career. He’s owed significantly less money than Castellanos, which might make him a more likely target. In 61 games this year, Pence is slashing .290/.347./575 while slugging 15 home runs. Castellanos has only hit 11 long balls.
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