This one was tough. Ryu didn’t have it, and that forced the bullpen to empty the tank. The Rays had to do the same, but in the end it was Toronto who ran out of options first. After a decent first inning of work, Jordan Hicks fell apart in the tenth. The offence, meanwhile, managed only seven hits.
All year the Blue Jays have run hot and cold. The good periods have never been long enough for them to get comfortable, and the bad patches have never quite been enough to bury them. They’re playing that pattern out right to the end of the line.
Go Rangers, go Diamndbacks.
Hyun Jin Ryu struggled early for the second game in a row. Randy Arozarena doubled off the very top of the right field wall, and Harold Ramirez and Isaac Paredes followed with line singles to drive him home. Ryu rallied and struck out Curtis Mead and got a pop up from Brandon Lowe to limit the damage there.
The Rays kept hitting the ball hard in the second, but Ryu managed to work around a Manuel Margot single without giving up a run. He wasn’t as lucky in the third. Ramirez and Paredes again hit a pair of line drive singles. Mead crushed a line drive right at Cavan Biggio for the second out, but Brandon Lowe lined a double off the wall in the right field corner to bring Ramirez home. Ryu got out of the inning after that, but Schneider decided that the Rays had seen enough of him and called on Trevor Richards to open the fourth. Ryu gave up seven hits in three innings, and was lucky that that translated into only two runs.
On the other side, the Rays went with an opener in Shawn Armstrong. He walked two, but the Jays couldn’t get a hit and stranded the runners.
Cooper Criswell was up next. He was clean in the second, but gave up a moonshot to Daulton Varsho to lead off the third to cut Tampa’s lead to one.
Richards worked a 1-2-3 top of the fourth. Things unraveled for Criswell in the home half. Alejandro Kirk chased a slider well off the plate and looped it into centre for a leadoff single. Kevin Kiermaier followed with a walk. After a Matt Chapman pop out, Taylor Walls booted a Whit Merrifield grounder to load the bases. Varsho took advantage, lining a single into right that scored two, putting Toronto out front 3-2. Springer followed with a line single of his own to cash Merrifield.
Trevor Richards was unable to hold the newfound lead, though. He walked Arozarena, and Ramirez lined a ball into the Blue Jays bullpen to tie it. He got the next two hitters before Schneider called on Genesis Cabrera to face Lowe. Lowe doubled to left, and Manuel Margot hit a deep fly, but Kiermaier caught it on the warning track.
The game settled into a bit of a stalemate at that point. Andrew Kitteridge retired the Jays in order in the bottom of the fifth. In the top of the sixth, Erik Swanson worked around a single, a walk, and a combination passed ball and throwing error by Kirk to hold the Rays scoreless. Jake Diekman, Yimi Garcia, and Robert Stephenson traded 1-2-3 innings.
In the top of the eighth, the Jays went to Jordan Romano. I’m not sure why they used their closer to face the 6-7-8 hitters in the eighth inning. Maybe, after a couple of tough outings in a row, they wanted to give him a lower stress outing to try to get back on track. He gave up a double to Bethancourt but got out of the inning. The Rays also went to their closer, Pete Fairbanks, early. He walked Bichette and gave up a ground ball single to Kiermaier, but escaped with the help of a Kirk double play.
The scoring drought continued in the ninth. The Jays did threaten when Springer hit a two out double, but Biggio lined out to send it to extras.
Jordan Hicks, after allowing just a single in the ninth, got into some trouble in the tenth. After retiring the leadoff man, Toronto intentionally walked Lowe. Hicks then walked pinch hitter Raimel Tapia to load the bases. He bounced back to strike out pinch hitter Yandy Diaz, but Taylor Walls lined a two run single to put the Rays in front 6-4. A Junior Caminero infield single scored Tapia to extend the lead to three.
Fangraphs is down, so no awards today. Quite a lot of suck to go around, though.
Once more unto the breach. Game 162 is tomorrow at 3:07pm. Starters haven’t been announced. If the Jays don’t backdoor their way in with a Mariners or Astros loss tonight, they’ll have to burn Kevin Gausman. If they get the help they need, they’ll save him.