Reviewing the Series: #14 Detroit Tigers
After traversing a couple of the greatest of lakes the Rays rolled into Detroit like a runaway locomotive. Pleasant results in the first game made it a four game winning streak, but it was all downhill from there. Adding injury to insult the Rays also lost their best player in Kevin Kiermaier for at least a month and probably two to a wrist injury on a ball that just about every other centerfielder plays on a hop, because they never came close to a play. Kiermaier’s injury means the Rays have now lost two of their four true everyday players with only Evan Longoria and Steven Souza Jr. left to tow the rope.
Tampa Bay played with the Tigers in the first game before emerging victorious. The second game wasn’t quite as close and it looks like the Rays deserved their loss, but that can’t hold a candle to the beating they received in the final game. While Detroit was a decently sized favorite in each of the games they played well enough to earn the sweep so the Rays are lucky they were able to get one before heading down to Miami.
Miggy Cabrera is a one man offense, and he got plenty of help from guys like Cameron Maybe, who is scorching since coming off of the disabled list, and James McCann who contributed a big two-run homer in the second game that tipped the scales in the Tigs favor. Victor Martinez had a better than expected series, but otherwise the Rays did an ok job keeping the other fearsome hitters mostly in check.
Detroit got an excellent start from the rookie Michael Fulmer who pairs a mid-90s-and-up fastball with a premier slidepiece and a split that is tough when it is rarely on. Tampa Bay feasted on Anibal Sanchez, who gave them a bit of length after an awful first inning, and the team was able to get to a couple of the relievers, but couldn’t sustain that damage versus K-Rod and Mark Lowe.
The Rays hitters weren’t bereft of good production, but the offense was very boom or bust, and the pitching just wasn’t good enough to prop up that style of offense. Pearce continued to crush, and it is becoming a welcoming sight to see Logan Morrison atop these leaderboards the past few weeks as he churns his way out of the doldrums. Evan stayed hot, while both Guyer and Souza had nice bouncebacks from a down prior series. Unfortunately, the Rays have to bat nine guys every game. The bottom of the order of Jennings, Dickerson, the catchers, and our fallen hero, Kiermaier, did very little to support the cause leading to easy innings for the opposition just when they could use a breather.
Geltz finally played his way off of the team with another dinger to go with a lackluster series, but he was a giant among men compared to our ace Chris Archer. In my preview for his start I mentioned that he has been walking a tightrope of late and at some point he was going to test the net. Well, he damn near went through that thing on his way down. He needs to get it figured out, because he has gone from a two-pitch guy to a one-pitch guy as the fastball control is just not major league acceptable right now. A bright spot was Ryan Webb who came in to give up two singles, but then little else afterward. He’s going to get grounders and it seemed like the longer leash allowed him to really get a feel for that weapon. Hopefully, this is a series he can look back upon as one that lent him confidence to show his competence.