Rays Hang On To Defeat Tigers, Preserve Faria’s Gem

Faria’s Gem, Late Homers, Alvarado Closes Win

Tampa Bay Rays, Detroit Tigers,
AP Photo/Carlos Osorio

Journalist Earl Wilson once said that a baseball game is simply a nervous breakdown divided into nine innings.

This simple statement would be a great slogan for the 2018 Rays. The Rays have played a major league-most 13 games decided by one run.  They are just 5-8 in those games and are tied with the Washington Nationals for the most losses in one-run games this season.

The Rays took part in another nail biter entering the ninth inning against the Tigers locked in a scoreless battle. Tigers starter Jordan Zimmerman went the first seven for the Tigers. Jake Faria did him an inning better going eight scoreless.

The Homers:

Denard Span opened the ninth off Tigers closer Shane Greene with a 9-pitch walk. C.J. Cron followed with an opposite field 2-run homer. One out later, Brad Miller hit an opposite field homer to put the Rays on top 3-0.

It was Cron’s seventh homer and he has now hit safely in 16 of his last 17 games. He has six homers and 17 RBI in that span while batting .319 (23-for-72). Miller’s homer was his second of the season and extended his batting streak to six games. He’s batting .304 (7-for-23) in that span.

The Anxiety Returns:

Rays closer Alex Colome had worked in four of the teams last five games and was not available in the pen. Manager Kevin Cash turned to Chaz Roe, giving him the opportunity to pick up his first save. He put the Rays fans back in anxiety mode by retiring just one batter, hitting a pair, and allowing a single.

Jose Alvarado was summoned from the ‘pen to clean up Roe’s mess and lock down the victory for Tampa Bay.  Victor Martinez greeted Alvarado with a 2-RBI single. James McCann worked the count full before flying out to left. John Hicks walked to load the bases. Dixon Machado grounded out to short to end the game.

Jake Faria (2-1, 4.60 ERA) picks up the win and Jose Alvarado gets his first career save. With the victory the Rays again climb to within one game of .500 at 13-14. The Rays have now won nine of their last 10 games.

Shane Greene (1-2, 5.73 ERA) takes the loss for the Tigers who fall to 11-16 on the year.

Faria Twirls A Gem:

Rays starters have struggled to give innings. As a group, they have totaled just 27-innings pitched over the last 6 starts. (4.2, 4.1, 5.1, 7.1, 2.0 and 3.1 IP).  Rays starters have failed to finish at least 5 IP in11 starts, tied with the Minnesota Twins for most in the majors. Rays pitchers have recorded 6 “quality starts,” tied for the fewest in the majors.

Before the game Manager Kevin Cash expressed his hope that Jake Faria would provide quality and efficiency.

“We’re going to need Jake to step it up tonight given where we are at from a bullpen standpoint. I think it’s fairly obvious we’ve used a lot of guys in the Boston series. We’ve got to find a way to give some of those guys a day off and Jake going deep will provide that.”

Faria gave Manager Kevin Cash exactly the kind of outing he was looking for. He worked a career high 8-innings allowing just three hits while striking out six and walking one. He made a career high 112 pitches with 74 for strikes.

“It was a really impressive start by Jake [Faria], we needed that.” said Cash. “We talked about it before the game knowing that we were going to count on him heavily based on how the bullpen unfolded last series in Boston.”

Stay Tuned:

Catcher Jesus Sucre got hit in the thumb by one pitch from Jose Alvarado and later took another in the wrist, just above the thumb. According to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, Sucre was sent for X-Rays after the game which were negative.

With Wilson Ramos battling a sore groin himself, the Rays may need to bring up a catcher from Triple-A.  The Rays do not have a third catcher on their 40-man roster and would most likely turn to Adam Moore or Curt Casali. Both are currently playing for the Triple-A affiliate Durham Bulls.

Up Next For Rays:

Tampa Bay and Detroit continue their three game series tomorrow night at 7:10. Chris Archer (2-1, 6.61 ERA) takes the mound for the Rays. The Tigers counter with left-hander Matt Boyd (0-2, 4.74 ERA).

After his start against the Minnesota Twins on April 20th, Chris Archer spoke about being comfortable with Wilson Ramos behind the plate and being aggressive in getting ahead in counts. The status of Wilson Ramos will be an unknown for Tuesday night, but Archer controls the aggressiveness in the strikezone.