Game 4 Lineups and Outlook
Of course the first Rays win of the year couldn’t come without the stink of controversy, but this is the world we live in now and a win is still a win. For the third consecutive game the Rays starter got more than ten strikeouts while keeping his team in the game, for the most part. Jake Odorizzi carved up a great lineup with his only blemish coming on a ball that Steven Souza played into a triple and then a rushed throw to the plate scored Edwin Encarnacion. Once again the pen came in and did their job with Colome getting a little sketchy in his second inning of work. It should be noted that he worked around the jam against some of the best hitters in the game.
The key decision for Kevin Cash came in the seventh. For the second time I thought he kept Dana Eveland out there a little too long as he is a poor matchup for a guy like Russell Martin who feasts on pedestrian fastballs. Martin had a very loud out, but Cash kept him out there before pulling Eveland after two more poor matchups yielded consecutive singles to bottom of the order bats in Ryan Goins and Kevin Pillar. With the tying run in scoring position, one out and Josh Donaldson coming to the plate the common sense would have been to turn to ground ball getter Ryan Webb. The thing is, Donaldson is an incredible low-ball hitter so I was very excited to see Cash turn to Steve Geltz, instead. Geltzy used his secondary mix to set up the high fastball, which is a pitch that Donaldson isn’t quite as adept at mashing. After coaxing a pop up from Donaldson he battled the extremely tough Bautista to a walk to load them up. Encarnacion harmlessly flew out to end the threat.
Nice to see Cash thinking outside the box and going with a guy that ultimately proved to be the better tool for the situation. Here is today’s matchup:
While the matchup tool sees this as essentially a 50/50 split the odds are favorable to select the Rays today. Moore et. al. will need to be careful with that impressive two through five, but there are other weapons that also need to be managed. It will be imperative that he takes the easy outs where he can at the bottom of the lineup, because the rest will be work. While the focus may be on Moore the challenge for the day will be the debut of the nearly all-righty lineup mashing lefties as they did a year ago. Cash in the runners that we’ve been getting plentifully and it’s not difficult seeing the Rays evening their record at two wins and two losses. Not shabby against a team that many are picking to win the division.