The Tampa Bay Rays took two out of three games against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park opening weekend to open the season with a 2-1 record.
The Rays won the first two games of the series before falling 12-7 in the series finale.
Austin Meadows homered, and Tyler Glasnow pitched six innings of one-hit ball, and that helped the Rays earn a 1-0 win in the season opener on Thursday.
Again, Friday night, it was a solo shot off the bat of Austin Meadows, and a solo home run from Manuel Margot in the seventh gave the Rays a 2-0 lead.
Joey Wendle proved to be the hero as he smacked a three-run homer in the ninth with the Rays trailing 3-2 that ultimately gave them the 6–4 win.
After the game, Ray’s manager Kevin Cash anointed Wendle as the “Big Bopper.”
Wendle, not known for his power, said he felt like the “Big Bopper” after crushing that three-run homer. “Tonight I did, yeah.’ Endless went on to talk about the win against Miami. “Got that team win. I felt like with the pitching performances that we’ve had the first two nights, it’s almost like everybody kind of wanted to be the guy to break out of our little hitting funk there to start the season. It was good to be that guy tonight.”
Wendle has just 17 career homers in five seasons in the Major Leagues.
Ryan Yarbrough was outstanding in his starting role on Friday night as he shut down the Marlins through 5 2/3 innings, giving up four hits and striking out three.
The Rays then went to the bullpen, and it got ugly in a hurry. Chaz Roe, Ryan Sherriff, and Andrew Kittredge were not sharp as they allowed four runs and allowed the Marlins back in the game.
Pete Fairbanks and Diego Castillo pitched well for the second day in a row. With Nick Anderson out till after the All-Star break, you can’t throw Fairbanks and Castillo every night.
Luis Patino is a guy that has good stuff that could help out this Ray’s pen should they continue to struggle.
Patino gives up a ton of walks, but his fastball averages 97 MPH, and he offsets that fastball with his changeup and slider.
If Patino doesn’t get the call, the Rays have Shane McClanahan, Shane Baz, and Josh Fleming ready to get the call to Tampa.
The Rays defense was horrid on Saturday night as Austin Meadows was charged with an error and misplaced another ball that led to Miami scoring as the Marlins won the season finale 12-7.
Rich Hill gave up four runs in four innings, and Chris Archer was walloped in two innings of work, giving up four runs.
The bullpen again was hit hard in the series finale as Collin McHugh gave up three runs in the eighth inning as the Marlins took control of the game.
The Rays will head to Boston for a three-game series before coming home for a seven-game homestand against the Yankees and the Texas Rangers.
-In other Rays news, the team has started preliminary talks on a contract extension with outfielder Randy Arozarena. The Rays do have some time, as Arozarena will not be eligible for arbitration until the off-season following the 2022 season.