It isn’t the hottest the Tampa Bay Rays have ever been.
On the other hand, it’s decent. And this season, that’s as good as Tampa Bay has been.
The Rays ran their second-half record to 6-7 on Friday night, winning the first game of a 10-game homestand. Tampa Bay won 5-1 over the New York Yankees with five of the team’s seven hits going for extra bases. Tampa Bay has won six of its last 11 after winning three of its previous 27.
“We’ve played that way since the break,” manager Kevin Cash said. “I know we don’t have the wins to support that, but we’re playing tighter ballgames, our pitching has been tremendous and the timely hits, hopefully they continue to come.”
Jake Odorizzi, who has spent most of the season getting no decisions, evened his record at 5-5. He now has a 14 2/3 inning scoreless streak. Odorizzi has already had 12 no-decisions, becoming only the third pitcher since 1913 to go so often without a decision in his team’s first 100 games.
“Odo was outstanding, really threw the ball well,” Cash said. “He’s been throwing the ball well since the break, but Odo’s last two starts were tremendous. It’s good to see him get a win against the Yankees — probably his toughest loss of the year was a [2-1] ballgame that he lost earlier (May 29) against these guys here at home. Offensively, Logan (Forsythe) gets the big home run in the first and we continued to add on.”
For the Rays, it continued a nice streak of starting pitching. It was the ninth straight quality start. The Rays are 6-7 since the all-star break with six of the losses coming by one run.
“We’d talked about it for a while during the first half and it never came. Basically since the second half started, we all kind of changed our tune, I guess,” Odorizzi said. “Everything is going well for all the starters, just consistent outings back-to-back-to-back. It really takes stress off the bullpen. I think another thing, our defense is playing phenomenal. They’re really backing us up, and it’s a lot easier to pitch when you have great plays being made behind you. It really shortens the game.”
Tampa Bay jumped to a quick lead, getting solo home runs by Forsythe and Corey Dickerson in the first inning. Brad Miller had a double and a triple.
Drew Smyly pitches for the Rays tonight against New York.