Final Score: Pirates 2 Rays 4
Why the Pirates Lost: Again, Roansy Contreas was not that sharp walking 5 batters in 5 innings, including 4 in one inning to score the 1st Ray run. He also benefitted from some hard-hit balls going directly to fielders. He still only gave up the one run, so he knows how to bear down when the going gets tough. You have to like the kid. Mainly, the Pirates bats were quiet, and it was another big strike out day with 12 Pirates going down on strikes. Yu Chang played, unfortunately and did get a hit. However, he made the last out of the game in typical Pirate fashion. With 2 out, Jack Suwinski walked and up strode the worthless Chang. Oneil Cruz was on deck. The first pitch was a ball which Chang took. The next pitch was even lower, and yet he swung, even though the Pirates desperately needed another runner on base. The third pitch was another ball, which should have made the count 3-0. Of course, Chang swung and hit a routine flyball to end the game. He did not have a clue on what to do or what was needed at that moment. Chang, you da man.
Key moment of the game: The missed tag by Diego Castillo in the bottom of the 7th proved to be the Pirates undoing. I guess it is ok for Castillo to learn and develop at the big-league level, but not Cruz. Before that, the Shadow wanted to make sure that the Rays had every opportunity to win the game, by bringing a left hander in to face Ji-Man Choi. Choi this year is 12 for 24 against left-handed pitching. Now he is 13 for 25, and the Rays went ahead to stay and then added on 2 more runs. They don’t call Shelton mister analytics for nothing.
Next Game: Tonight, The Nationals in D. C. The competition drops considerably with the Nationals. Shelton will have to burn the midnight oil to try to ensure that we lose to these guys. He may have to pull out all stops, by making sure that Chang plays in all the games, and Vogelbach is in the field. They haven’t announced the starting pitcher, but there is a rumor that it might be Bob Walk.