Game #107 Lineups and Outlook
The Rays did everything right yesterday to take a 12-0 game from the (hungover) Royals, and their reward today will be to play a game at 12:30 in the morning. Hooray. You like pitching? Jake Odorizzi was supremely effective against the swing-happy Royals as he pitched deeper than usual while giving up only two hits on the day. The bullpen took over and was incredibly efficient with nice performances throughout. You like scoring runs? The Rays hung huge numbers from the first inning on to the end with everyone chipping in. You like defense? Nick Franklin made a nice play at the wall and there was a cool mic’d up video of Kevin Kiermaier robbing Brad Miller of a homer in pre-game batting practice. Paulo Orlando also did his part by robbing Steven Souza of what looked like an extra base hit off the barrel. It was damn near perfection that most Rays fans have been hoping to see a lot more of this year.
Today will feature their Ian Kennedy, King of the Flyball, and our own Drew Smyly who also has been known to keep it off the ground. In fact, of the 91 qualified starters this year they have the fourth and second lowest ground-ball rates, respectively, in the league. If the blowers are facing out today there could be fireworks. On the other hand, when is the last time you saw the Rays show up for a day game? The model thinks this one should be about as tight as it gets, though the gamblers are a little higher on the Rays making this perhaps an opportunity to scoop value on the enemy for a day. The Rays lefties have the best matchups, while Smyly will need to be careful with Morales, Perez and Cuthbert, though to a lesser extent than the beefy sluggers.
The Rays called up Richie Shaffer yesterday for his 2016 debut at the expense of Taylor Motter. Shaffer is a guy that could use a serious look at the big league level to ascertain if he can be a useful player in the future. I hope he gets that chance as first base is currently a king of the hill competition where the last man standing could see significant playing time down the stretch. The Royals made their own move yesterday of dropping the reliever/amateur porn star Brooks Pounders to make way for Billy Burns on the roster. This gives them the normal full bench, but costs them an arm. Edinson Volquez did well to wear it yesterday as the Royals could have opted to yank him early, which would have crushed their pen in the process. Instead they have both of their very good relievers available and some of the lesser thans, as well.