Rays Can’t Hold Late Lead, Drop Opener To Mets


The Tampa Bay Rays dropped what might of been their most exciting back-and-forth game of the season against the New York Mets Friday night by a final of 4-3.

Both teams fought back on multiple occassions, as a lead was either taken or the game was tied six times in the final three innings of play.

For the Rays, the loss drops their record to two games under .500, at 54-56 on the year. They are slowly slipping out of the AL Wildcard race and need to improve their play and become more consistent in the field if they want to keep their playoff hopes alive.

Arguably the craziest moment of the game was during Brandon Guyer’s at-bat in the bottom of the ninth. With Asdrubal Cabrera at first, he grounded into a 5-4-3 double play, followed by a 5-4 fielder’s choice only to have home plate umpire Tim Timmons overturn both calls and rule the balls foul.

In the third attempt, though, Guyer would once again ground into a 5-4 fielder’s choice, ending a confusing and frustrating period for everyone watching.

Odorizzi Strong Over Six-Plus:

Jake Odorizzi came into his start against the Mets coming off of a no-decision at Boston on Sunday, and he would receive the same in a much better performance Friday.

He worked 6 2/3 innings and gave up just a solo home run among his four hits allowed, his longest start since he pitched seven full innings at home against the Seattle Mariners on May 25. Since returning from the disabled list, Odorizzi has averaged just over six innings pitched in his six starts.

After being given a lead in the bottom of the fourth inning, Odorizzi almost gave it up leading off the top of the sixth. However, it was Grady Sizemore’s night to be in the spotlight early:

Odorizzi continued to shine at home, though. With just the one run allowed, Odorizii lowered his ERA at Tropicana Field to 1.40, the fourth-best mark in the majors this year.

Here are some other notes on Odorizzi’s outing:

– Five of six strikeouts came via fastball

– Threw 16 of 25 first pitch strikes (64 percent)

– Induced eight flyouts, three groundouts, two lineouts, and one popout

– Walked a batter for the 10th straight start after just three times in first eight starts

– LHB’s went 2-for-14 with two singles and two strikeouts

– RHB’s went 2-for-10 with a single, a home run, a walk and two strikeouts

Offense Smashes Three Longballs:

On a night where both teams seemed to match each other’s home runs after a lead was taken or the game was tied, the Rays got the last laugh.

Grady Sizemore homered on a 1-0 changeup from Jacob deGrom in the bottom of the fourth to give the Rays a 1-0 lead. It was his fourth home run in a Rays uniform in 20 games played. He did not hit a single home run in a 39-game stint with Philadelphia earlier this season.

The Mets would tie the game in the top of the seventh on a solo shot by Juan Uribe, but then James Loney got into the fun for the first time in exactly one month. His solo home run gave the Rays the lead once again in the bottom of the seventh, coming off a 1-1 fastball from deGrom.

After the Mets came back to tie the game again in the top of the eighth on a solo home run by Daniel Murphy, Evan Longoria continued his hot hitting of late with his 15th home run of the season on a 1-1 fastball off reliever Tyler Clippard.

For Longoria, he has now homered in back-to-back games and has four in his last 11 games played. During that span, he is batting .409/.469/.773.

A couple of hitting streaks were extended in Friday’s game as well, as the aforementioned Longoria and Asdrubal Cabrera extended their streaks to seven and ten games, respectively.

Longoria extended his hitting streak with a single in the bottom of the first. He is hitting .414 (13-for-29) over that span. Cabrera extended his on a double off the right field wall in the bottom of the seventh. He is hitting .500 (18-for-36) over that span.

In the game, Brandon Guyer was also hit by a pitch for the league-leading 16th time in the bottom of the eighth inning. No Rays player has ever lead the league in hit by pitches in a season. The closest to do so was Sean Rodriguez, when he finished second in the AL with 18 hit by pitches, the most in franchise history.

Bullpen Report:

Steve Geltz, Jake McGee, Brad Boxberger, and Alex Colome worked the remainder of the game after Odorizzi’s 6 2/3 innings pitched, and it didn’t go quite as planned.

Geltz came on and got Kelly Johnson to pop out to Longoria at third after taking over for Odorizzi, stranding Travis d’Arnaud at first base. For Geltz, he has stranded 19-of-21 inherited runners this season.

McGee came on to preserve a fresh 2-1 lead, but he surrendered a solo home run to Daniel Murphy to bring the game back tied. The home run broke a string of three consecutive scoreless outings for McGee, and was his second home run allowed to a left-handed hitter this season.

Boxberger came on to close out what was once again a new 3-2 lead for the Rays, but he gave up two runs on three hits for his third blown save and major-league leading eighth loss of the season among relievers. He has now three runs in his last two appearances, spanning one inning pitched.

Colome came on to take over for Boxberger with two runs already in in the ninth and runners on the corners and two outs and struck out the only batter he faced in Curtis Granderson.


The Rays drew a new season-high 23,145 fans during Friday’s contest against the New York Mets. Of course, this was only a new season-high for games played on a Friday night at Tropicana Field.

The previous high of the season for a Friday night occured on July 24 vs. Baltimore (their last Friday night home game), when there were 17,838 fans in attendance. The least amount of fans drawn out to a Friday night game this season was 11,704 on May 8 vs. Texas.

Kevin Cash’s Postgame Press Conference:

Saturday’s Matchup:

The Rays will look to even the series at a game a piece Saturday afternoon when they send Nathan Karns (6-5) to face off against Noah Syndergaard (6-5, 2.66).

Karns will take a 3.37 ERA into Saturday’s game, which is easily the best among AL rookie starting pitchers with at least 15 games started this season. Though he has never faced the Mets, he is 2-0 with a 0.75 ERA in two interleague starts this season.

Matt Stein is a season-credentialed media member covering the Tampa Bay Rays and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, also assisting with coverage of USF Athletics. He attended the University of Tampa and graduated with a Bachelor's of Science in Sport Management.