Starting pitching? Check.
A little offense? Check.
Good work out of the bullpen? Check.
Gee, you think, why can’t the Tampa Bay Rays be this good all of the time?
The Rays had their way with the Detroit Tigers in a 5-2 victory Monday night. It was one of those pick-your-stars games. Starting pitcher Nathan Karns gave up one run and three hits over six innings. Catcher Curt Casali, pushing for more playing time, hit two home runs. Third baseman Evan Longoria had two hits and made a dazzling play in the fourth, driving and stopping a ball, scrambling for it in foul territory and throwing from his knees.
For Casali, who had three hits and drove in three runs, it was the third straight start in place of regular Rene Rivera, who is hitting only .176.
Tampa Bay then turned the game over to its three-headed bullpen again in Kevin Jepson, Jake McGee (who gave up a run for the first time since May), and closer Brad Boxberger, who got his 25th save.
Both teams are questioning just how the looming trade deadline (July 31) will affect the look of their teams. For the Tigers, tonight’s starter (David Price) is the subject of rumors. For the Rays, it is their bullpen arms. Jake Odorizzi pitches tonight for the Rays.
The Rays won for only the 10th time in 31 games.