It is hard to win a baseball game when you spot a team runs in the 1st inning. When you allow 5 runs in the 1st inning, it makes it nearly impossible. That is exactly what happened to the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday afternoon. Jonny Venters only recorded 1 out in his 1st career start as the Washington Nationals scored 5 runs in the 1st inning. The Rays tried to fight back and get into the ballgame, but Washington got hot again in the 6th and ended the Rays’ road trip on a sour note with a 11-2 loss.
The Rays experiment of starting relief pitchers in the 1st inning of games had gone fairly well before Wednesday. Fairly well was the exact opposite of how Wednesday went. Jonny Venters couldn’t get through the opening inning and his stellar ERA was obliterated as he was charged with allowing 5 runs while only recording 1 out. The way the Nats scored their final runs of the inning illustrated just how bad it was. The opposing pitcher, Tanner Roark tripled his RBI total for the year with a 2-RBI single to give himself a huge lead before heading out for his second inning of work.
Ryan Yarbrough did his best to calm things down and keep his team in the ballgame after that. He allowed a run in the 2nd inning to make it a 6-0 ball game, but after that Tampa Bay started to dig themselves out of their hole. An RBI double by Carlos Gomez drove in Brad Miller to get the Rays on the board and then CJ Cron’s homer in the 5th inning made it a 6-2 game and had you thinking a rally might be coming.
That rally didn’t come for the Rays. The wheels fell off in the 6th inning for Yarbrough as the Nationals scored 4 runs in the bottom half of that inning thanks to Anthony Rendon and Michael A. Taylor. An error with 2 outs allowed the 10th run of the game to cross the plate for the Nationals. The Rays got a bit of a bright spot in the top of the 7th inning as right handed pitcher, Diego Castillo made his big league debut. He recorded his 1st strikeout in his 1st inning of work even though it wasn’t in a high-leverage situation.
The Rays now have to hope that a bit of home cooking will help halt this 6-game losing streak. Tampa Bay will have to do that against a team that swept them last weekend in the Seattle Mariners. Game 1 of the 4-game set is tomorrow night at Tropicana Field. 1st pitch is scheduled for 7:10 pm and neither team has announced their starters yet. Tampa Bay also has not announced their starter for Friday either due to the injury to Chris Archer. Blake Snell will get the ball Saturday and Nathan Eovaldi will start the finale on Sunday. You will hear all 4 games right here on WDAE with pregame coverage beginning an hour prior to 1st pitch with Steve Carney and the inside pitch.