Rays Bullpen Pitching Like It’s 2007 All Over Again
The Tampa Bay Rays lost to the Cleveland Indians by a final score of 6-3 to extend their home losing streak to six games in a row. The loss drops the Rays record to 16-21 and the Indians improve to 17-19. The win goes to Corey Kluber (3-3, 3.48 ERA) and the loss to Joel Peralta (1-3, 7.07 ERA). Cody Allen came in and worked the ninth inning to pick up his first save of the year.
The story of the game was not Jake Odorizzi‘s struggles to get through the lineup the second or third time, it wasn’t the Rays offense and an inability to score runs, it wasn’t a series of poor defensive plays that cost the Rays the game. It wasn’t the fact that the Rays put the tying and go-ahead runs on base in the ninth only to come up short again. The story of this game was the Rays bullpen, specifically Joel Peralta, and the inability to secure leads.
The Rays broke through first on Corey Kluber in the bottom of the fourth inning on a James Loney sacrifice fly that plated David DeJesus and increased their lead to 2-0 in their half of the fifth inning on a 2-out RBI double by David DeJesus to score Matt Joyce.
Jake Odorizzi worked five scoreless innings allowing just five hits striking out 11 while only walking two. The only downside of his performance was that he required 101 pitches (68 strikes) to get through his five innings and turned the game over to the Rays bullpen with a 2-0 lead.
Brad Boxberger who was so impressive in striking out the side on just nine pitches on Thursday against the Orioles gave up a home run to the first batter he faced in the top of the sixth. It was Asdrubal Cabrera‘s third home run of the year.
Things didn’t get better for Boxberger as he allowed a single to Yan Gomes and hit Lonnie Chisenhall with a pitch. Indians manager Tito Francona did the Rays a favor with the sacrifice bunt to move the runners into scoring position for Michael Bourn who would face the hard throwing Jake McGee.
McGee came in and put the fire out by throwing three fastballs to strike Bourn out and four fastballs ending with a line drive out to Matt Joyce in left field.
The first batter he faced was Michael Brantley who connected with a solo home run to right to tie the game at 2-2. It was Brantley’s seventh home run on the season.
The reprieve was short lived as Mike Aviles launched a 3-run homer to left to give the Indians a commanding 6-2 lead.
Corey Kluber had struggled in his first three road starts in 2014 posting an 0-2 record with an ERA of 5.87 but he was able to right himself at Tropicana Field against a struggling Rays lineup delivering 6.2 innings allowing two runs (earned) on nine hits striking out nine and walking none.
Yunel Escobar left the game in the second inning due to a thumb contusion and is listed as day to day.