Dodgers Defeat Rays 7-3
W: Clayton Kershaw (4-0, 3.33 ERA); L: Hunter Wood (1-1, 0.00 ERA)
Breaking down pitching is often done with the use of analytic terms such as spin rate or pointing at a pitchers velocity as overwhelming the batter. In the case of Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw, it’s easiest to use the old “six ways to retire a batter”, hard, soft, up, down, in, and out.
Against the Rays on Tuesday night, Kershaw’s deliveries danced in and out, up and down, and he effectively changed speed between hard and soft holding Tampa Bay to one run on six hits while striking out eight and walking one.
Jalen Beeks came in and worked 4.2-innings allowing five earned runs on eight hits striking out four and walking two.
Tampa Bay scored three runs in the seventh on five straight hits including RBI singles by Willy Adames, Austin Meadows, and Tommy Pham. The Rays had runners at 2nd and 3rd trailing 6-3 but Ji-Man Choi flew out to shallow left and Avisail Garcia grounded to second to end the threat.
If the Rays were going to make a late rally, Kevin Kiermaier made the king of baserunning mistakes leading off the eighth that seemed to suck the wind out of the Rays for the last time. He was thrown out trying to stretch a double into a triple, making the first out at third base.
The Rays and the Dodgers play the final game of their two game series on Wednesday night. Tampa Bay will use as the opener while the Dodgers will counter with Rich Hill (1-1, 3.00 ERA).
Tomorrow’s game also ends a brief two game home stand for the the Rays which ties their shortest homestand in franchis history. It’s the first time the team has done it since becoming the Rays. The other two occurrences happened when the franchise was still named the Devil Rays. Both series came against the Minnesota Twins (April 13-14, 1998 [1-1]) and May 11-12, 1999 [0-2]). Their 13-12 victory on April 13, 1998 was on a walk-off homer by Bobby Smith, it was the first walk-off win in club history.