What we saw Friday Night from this Rays bullpen is what we feared would happen when we saw how the Rays pen imploded in some games during September.
After some inconsistent performances during September’s stretch run, Questions began to be asked. Was this Ray’s bullpen good enough to help this team make a deep playoff run? I can only go by what I saw last night. What I saw was nowhere near good enough to win a series, let alone make it back to the World Series.
If we analyze game two of the ALDS, in which the Rays lost 14-6, you have to start with the bullpen. That was the overriding factor why the Rays lost this game. The Rays are now tied in the series with the Red Sox at one game apiece.
What a shame it was. The largest crowd in over five years, 37,000 plus, showed up at Tropicana Field to cheer their Rays on and witnessed this debacle by the Rays pen.
Rookie Shane Baz started for the Rays and had the worst outing of his young career. Baz gave up three runs in 2-1/3 innings but left with the Rays leading the Red Sox 5-3.
Collin McHugh was the pitcher called upon, and he resembled nothing of what we saw in the regular season. McHugh gave up two home runs in less than two innings as the Red Sox tied it at five. He gave up just one home run all season.
McHugh acknowledged that he made some mistakes and the Red Sox made him pay.
They took advantage of mistakes. I just made a mistake in the playoffs, and a lot of them you get away with. We didn’t get away with a lot of them Friday, and that’s hats off to them. They put good swings on the ball, but we have to execute better as a staff. I have to execute better personally. And I feel confident in our ability to do so.
Kevin Cash also commented how odd it was to see McHugh give up those runs after being so good all season.
Any time he is giving up runs, he has been so good all season long, you get into that consistency of he is just going to go in and induce weak contact and get his strikeouts. But the Red Sox had other plans.
Manager Kevin Cash called on Matt Wisler next, who has pitched two innings in the last seven weeks. Wisler gave up two runs and two hits in his one inning of work as the Red Sox took a 7-5 lead.
Another curious decision by manager Kevin Cash. In that situation, why go to someone that hasn’t pitched much the last month of the season? The Rays had Pete Fairbanks and Andrew Kittredge in the bullpen and have yet to see any action in the ALDS.
After Matt Wisler, Cash turned to David Robertson. He pitched well as he gave up one hit while striking out one in the seventh inning.
The Rays then turned to Michael Wacha, and he was not good. Wacha was torched for six runs on nine hits in 2-2/3 innings of work. This is the kind of performance that we saw from Wacha throughout the season. Wacha did pitch well down the stretch in September, but it looks as if it may have been a mistake putting him on the ALDS roster.
Offensively the Rays have not had any problems. They are averaging five and a half runs a game through the first two games in the series. Wander Franco is hitting .444, and the Rays Mr. October, Randy Arozarena is hitting .333 with one home run.
Arozarena also now has the distinction of being the only MLB player to hit a home run and steal home in the post-season.
The Rays will now head to Fenway Park for two games against the Red Sox. Drew Rasmussen will start Sunday afternoon. It looks as if the Rays will go with an opener in game four.
If the Rays bullpen has another performance like the one Friday night, It will be very tough for the Rays to win this series.