Offense Stifled By Red Sox Pitching
The Tampa Bay Rays were defeated by the Boston Red Sox by a final score of 2-1. It was another nail-biter. They put runners on first and third in the bottom of the ninth inning but were unable to push the tying run across as Denard Span struckout swinging to end the game.
Hector Velazquez (1-0, 1.59 ERA) picks up the win for Boston who take 3-of-4 from the Rays and improve to 3-1 on the year. Joe Kelly worked the ninth inning to pick up his first save of the season. It was also his first save of his career in his 100th relief appearance of the year.
Jose Alvarado (0-1, 4.50 ERA) takes the loss for the Rays who fall to 1-3 on the year. Boston pitching held the Rays offense to just 3-for-17 with runners in scoring position for the series and allowed just nine runs. The Rays held a lead for just three innings through the four game series. They were held scoreless in 31 of 35 trips to the plate.
The Ray have lost three consecutive games, all by 1-run margins, after winning the season opener. Only twice in teh Rays era (since 2008) has the team played three consecutive 1-run games and lost them all. It happened on July 21-23, 2017 (TEX) and July 22-26, 2016 (OAK/LAD)
Velazquez continued the string performances by Red Sox starters delivering 5 2/3-innings allowing one earned run on five hits while striking out five and walking one. He made 79-pitches with 58 for strikes.
In the four game series, Chris Sale, David Price, Rick Porcello, and Hector Velazquez combined to deliver 24 innings allowing just two earned runs. The quartet struck out 23 batters and walked just five.
Faria Struggles With Command:
Jake Faria worked into the fourth inning (3 batters) allowing one earned run on four hits while walking three, hitting a batter, and striking out a pair.
Alvarado Gets Rays Out Of Jam:
Jose Alvarado replaced Faria with 2-on and nobody out. He struck out Xander Bogaerts, retired Mitch Moreland on a fly out to center, and Joey Wendle made a diving stop on a hard hit grounder by Christian Vazquez to keep the game tied. He allowed a leadoff single to Jackie Bradley Jr. in the sixth before departing.
Chirinos Makes Major League Debut:
Yonny Chirinos made his Major League debut entering the game in the sixth inning with Jackie Bradley at first and nobody out. He struckout Blake Swihart, the first batter he faced, for his first major league out but soon found trouble.
He walked number nine hitter Brock Holt, hit Mookie Betts with a pitch, and gave up a broken bat RBI single to Rafael Devers. Holt attempted to score on the play but was easily thrown out at the plate. J.D. Martinez followed with a sinking line drive to left that Mallex Smith made a diving catch to end the inning.
When asked what led to the decision to bring Chrinos into a tie game to make his major league debut, Manager Kevin Cash chuckled and said, “probably me being a moron.”
“He threw the ball really really well, I was happy for him” said Cash. “I knew coming into the season with Yarbs [Ryan Yarbrough], Chirinos, those guys, eventually, they’re going to have to pitch in those situations. You don’t draw it up to where that’s there debut but that’s kind of at the mercy of the style of games that we’ve played.”
Chirinos worked four innings allowing no earned runs on one hit striking out three, walking one, and hitting a batter.
Miller Hits First Dinger In Of The Year:
Brad Miller hit 30-homers for the Rays in 2016 but that number dropped to 9 in 2017. A lot of the power seemed to have been zapped by an oblique injury in May that required surgery at the end of the season. He led off the second inning belting a homer to give the Rays an early lead.
90.8mph Four-seam Fastball
RHP Hector Velazquez (1)
— Home Run Tracker (@DingerTracker) April 1, 2018
Rays Head To New York:
The Rays will head to New York to take on the Yankees starting Monday at 1:05. They will go with Johnny Bullpen for the second time this season. Austin Pruitt will open the game for the Rays with most everyone available in the pen. The Yankees counter with left-hander Jordan Montgomery.
The Rays were 7-12 against the Yankees last year including dropping 8-of-10 at Yankee Stadium. They have lost three consecutive season series to New York and are just 8-23 (.258) at Yankee Stadium dating back to September 10, 2014. They have been outscored 150-118 over that span.
It will mark the second consecutive season and fourth time in franchise history that the Rays play in the Bronx for the Yankees home opener. They are 0-3 in the previous games. Last season, the Rays were no-hit through 6 2/3 innings by Michael Pineda until Evan Longoria‘s 7th inning double.