Rays Short of Perfection in Win Against O’s

Myworld has witnessed two no hitters, a seven inning minor league game thrown by John Stephens and a nine inning major league game thrown by Max Scherzer. I don’t recall either of those games being perfect. Today Tampa Bay used two pitchers to pitch 8 innings of perfect ball. Ryne Stanek, a fireballing righthander whose fastball lights up the radar guns at 98 pitched the first two innings. Ryan Yarbrough a junk ball throwing lefty who stays in the slow lane at 88 pitched a perfect six. They each spell their first name differently, but they often act as a pair, with Ryne taking the first two innings as the opener before handing it to Ryan to take the next four to seven innings.

The perfect game was ended on the first pitch in the ninth when Hanser Alberto pushed a ground ball through the vacated right field hole, a spot where the second baseman should have been playing if he had not been on the left hand side of the bag in the shift. Stevie Wilkerson punched the second pitch of the ninth into center field for a cleaner hit. Yarbrough struck out pinch hitter Chance Sisco before departing. The Orioles would end the shutout on a Anthony Santander single but Emilio Pagan retired Trey Mancini on a strike out on a 96 mph fastball with two runners on to preserve the 4-1 victory.

Tom Eshelman got the start for the Orioles. Perhaps they should use the lefty fireballer Brandon Kline to pitch the first two innings for him and then bring in the soft tossing righthander Eshelman for the next four to seven innings. Tom’s fastball sits at 86-87 and does not even encroach on the 90 and up velocity meter on the radar. He pitched a decent game, being called up today after the trade of Andrew Cashner left open a roster spot.

The Rays were able to tag on a run in the second. They loaded the bases with no outs on back to back singles from Nate Lowe and Michael Brosseau and a Ji-Man Choi walk. Eshelman struck out Willy Adames looking on a 3-2 pitch. Joey Wendle lined one into right field where Trey Mancini made a diving catch. Nate Lowe was able to score on the out for the first run. A Mike Zunino whiff ended the inning and Eshelman had to feel good about getting out of the jam.

Austin Meadows buried a pitch deep into Eutaw Street to lead off the third. It bounced once and hit off the warehouse. Eshelman left with two outs in the sixth when Michael Brosseau hit a two run shot that just carried the right center field wall. After that homerun Michael had a .405 batting average with a 1.400 OPS in 38 at bats. Michael has a career .300 minor league batting average and was hitting .317 with a .590 slugging percentage and 15 homeruns in 68 games when the Rays called him up from Durham. He was not drafted, signed as a free agent in 2016 after the draft, playing four years at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. The Bulls used him as a utility player and after driving in 57 runs to lead the International League the Rays decided to call him up. He has now hit three homeruns in his last two games.

The Orioles pen was able to shut out the Rays for the last 3.1 innings. Paul Fry even struck out the side in the seventh. But the Orioles could not overcome the perfection of the Rays through the first eight innings.

Game notes: The crowd was announced at 14,802 but it looked sparser than that…In the second Trey Mancini came up short on a diving attempt to rob Brosseau of a single. He did dive to rob Joey Wendle of a hit. Trey is better utilized at first base, but with Renato Nunez more a DH than an infielder and with Chris Davis at first base right field is the only place left for him. He catches what he reaches but his range is not great…Chris Davis is slugging .321. He went 0 for 3 today. Myworld can’t imagine the Orioles protecting Davis on the 40 man next year, not when they are rebuilding. They might as well just eat his $20 million plus salary and give the younger players an opportunity to get playing time…There has not been a combined perfect game in major league history. They have had combined no hitters but no combined perfect games. With the opener now used by more teams that will be the next event to be shattered.

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