I’m excited to report that the Tampa Bay Rays have bounced back from a tough loss against the Blue Jays. In this matchup, they managed to pull out a strong 7-3 win. A few key players stood out, including Randy Arozarena who hit a two-run homer to boost the Rays’ lead. Overall, it was a great performance that should give the team some confidence moving forward.
Rays’ Bounce Back in Win Over Blue Jays
On July 29, 2021, the Tampa Bay Rays faced off against the Toronto Blue Jays in a pivotal American League East matchup. The Rays entered the game with a record of 62-41, while the Blue Jays came in at 51-48. With just over two months left in the season, every game counts in the race for the playoffs.
Early Pitching Struggles
The starting pitchers for the game were Robbie Ray for the Blue Jays and Michael Wacha for the Rays. Both pitchers struggled early on, as they each gave up two runs in the first inning. Ray allowed a leadoff home run to Rays’ second baseman Brandon Lowe, who has been red hot at the plate lately. Wacha gave up a two-run homer to Blue Jays’ first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who continues to prove why he is one of the best young players in the game.
Offense Takes Over
After the rocky start for both pitchers, the offenses for both teams took over the game. The Rays’ bats came alive in the fourth inning when they scored three runs to take a 5-2 lead. First baseman Ji-Man Choi hit a two-run homer, and shortstop Wander Franco added an RBI single.
The Blue Jays tried to mount a comeback in the top of the fifth inning when Guerrero Jr. hit his second home run of the game. However, the Rays’ bullpen was able to prevent any further damage and keep the score at 5-3.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, the Rays added two insurance runs to extend their lead to 7-3. Lowe hit his second home run of the game, becoming the first player in Rays’ history to hit two home runs and steal a base in the same game. The Blue Jays were unable to mount a comeback in the ninth inning, and the Rays secured the victory.
Takeaways from the Game
The win for the Rays was important for a few reasons. First, it allowed them to maintain their lead in the American League East. The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees were both idle on July 29, so the Rays had a chance to gain ground on both teams. With the win, they now sit 1.5 games ahead of the Red Sox and 7.5 games ahead of the Yankees.
Second, the win was important for the morale of the team. The Rays had lost four of their last six games heading into the matchup with the Blue Jays. They needed a win to regain some momentum heading into the final stretch of the season.
Finally, the win highlighted the depth of the Rays’ lineup. Lowe has been carrying the team lately, but in the win over the Blue Jays, he got some help from Choi, Franco, and others. The Rays’ offense has been hot lately, and they will need to continue to produce if they want to make a deep run in the playoffs.
Looking Ahead for the Rays
The win over the Blue Jays was just one game, but it was an important one. The Rays have a tough stretch of games coming up, including matchups against the Red Sox, Yankees, and division-leading Chicago White Sox.
One area where the Rays will need to improve is starting pitching. While Wacha was able to go five innings and limit the damage after his shaky start, the Rays’ rotation has been inconsistent lately. They will need their starters to pitch deeper into games and keep the opposing offenses in check if they want to continue their winning ways.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Rays will need to continue to get contributions from all parts of their lineup. Lowe has been outstanding lately, but he cannot carry the team alone. Players like Choi, Franco, outfielder Austin Meadows, and third baseman Yandy Diaz will need to step up and provide some offense if the Rays want to make a deep playoff run.
The Rays’ win over the Blue Jays was an important one for a variety of reasons. The team needed a win to maintain their lead in the American League East and regain some momentum heading into a tough stretch of games. The win highlighted the depth of the Rays’ lineup and showed that they are capable of winning in many different ways.
It will be interesting to see how the Rays perform in their upcoming games against tough opponents. If they can continue to get contributions from their offense and improve their starting pitching, they could be a dangerous team come playoff time. But for now, they will take the win over the Blue Jays and focus on the challenges that lie ahead.