Rivalry Roundup: Rays continue to slide, Jays pour it on

Atlanta Braves v Tampa Bay Rays
Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Only a few of the Yankees’ rivals followed them into the loss column on Friday.

The Yankees were of no help to themselves on Friday — despite getting Carlos Rodón back for his season debut, the offense contributed absolutely nothing against former Yankee Jameson Taillon. Add to the frustration Taillon’s ballooned ERA on the year, and you’ve got the recipe for another wasted opportunity for this offense to jumpstart itself.

Oh, and did I mention that with this loss, the team’s third in a row, the Yankees currently don’t possess a playoff ticket? Yep, let’s get into how the rest of the league shoved them a spot down the ladder yesterday:

Atlanta Braves (59-28) 2, Tampa Bay Rays (57-34) 1

Well okay, first let’s go over one of the few positive notes for today’s roundup — the battle of the best in the East going Atlanta’s way. Charlie Morton spared no thoughts for his former team, allowing a solo home run to Wander Franco in the first before going the rest of the way without allowing any runs. His 6.1 innings paved the way for the Braves to take the lead in the fourth on a Sean Murphy two-run blast and then coast the rest of the way even after handing the game over to their bullpen.

Baltimore Orioles (52-35) 3, Minnesota Twins (45-44) 1 (10 innings)

Bailey Ober could be reasonably relied on to get into a pitcher’s duel with his 2.61 ERA, but you’d be surprised to find Cole Irvin and his 5.50 ERA matching him step-for-step. And yet that was the case, as both starters went at least six and allowed just a single run, propelling this game into the later innings with plenty of tension.

Naturally, this nail-biter went into extras, and the Orioles capitalized immediately once it did. Ramon Urias doubled home the ghost runner and then James McCann and Aaron Hicks were able to sacrifice him to third and home respectively. Minnesota was helpless in their second frame versing Felix Bautista, going down in order in the bottom of the 10th.

Toronto Blue Jays (49-40) 12, Detroit Tigers (38-49) 2

I regret to inform you that Alek Manoah shoved in his first start back since getting briefly demoted, tossing six innings of one-run ball with five hits and no walks to go against eight strikeouts. Blowup in the Florida Coast League aside, it seems he figured something out with his mechanics and has looked much more like the guy who went to the All-Star Game last year.

Manoah’s offense didn’t leave it up to him alone, however. They took Alex Faedo to task early and often, putting up seven runs on the former first-round pick. Faedo has struggled massively with the long ball this year and George Springer chased him from the game with one, a two-run blast in the fourth. Things calmed down until the ninth inning, when José Cisnero couldn’t record an out and allowed five baserunners to get aboard and score. The Tigers got a pity run right before this outburst in the eighth, but if the game wasn’t already sealed by this point this rally all but assured it.

Seattle Mariners (44-43) 10, Houston Astros (49-40) 1

A single inning decided this contest, and it happened to be the top of the fourth. Hunter Brown had danced around some jams in previous innings, but a chain of four singles and a walk broke that dam open for good. Phil Maton came in to do damage control, and succeeded in getting a strikeout on top of a groundout at the expense of one more run.

Four runs had crossed the plate at this point, but with two outs the Astros were nearly out of it without too big of an implosion. Naturally, that’s what came next — Maton plunked a batter to re-load the bases and then walked in a run, and then old friend Mike Ford unloaded the bases with a double. Kolten Wong drove Ford in on a double of his own, but got thrown out trying to extend it to a triple to mercifully end the frame before the Mariners put up double-digit runs. They’d save that for the ninth, when Ford stepped up with a solo shot (Mike ford is OPS’ing .965 in 2023, by the way) to add that stinger in at the end.

Other Games:

Boston Red Sox (46-43) 7, Oakland Athletics (25-65) 3: Boston got all the offense they’d need right away in the second inning, slapping together five hits to go with a walk and a wild pitch, producing five runs in the frame. They added two more in the seventh for fun after Oakland did the same in the top half and briefly held hope, which is a bit cruel if you ask me.

Texas Rangers (52-37) 7, Washington Nationals (34-54) 2: The Rangers did what they do best — score early and score often. Two runs came in the first inning on a single and a groundout, Josh Jung singled home a pair in the fifth, Corey Seager and Adolis Garcia added solo shots in the seventh, and Ezequiel Duran contribued a sac fly in the eighth. For Washington, Joey Meneses was all of the offense, smashing two homers off of Cody Bradford and Glenn Otto.

Los Angeles Dodgers (50-38) 11, Los Angeles Angels (45-45) 4: The Vibes are not great with the Angels after losing Mike Trout, though the offense wasn’t the problem in this one. The Dodgers lineup was all over the combination of Griffin Canning, Tyler Anderson, and Aaron Loup, scoring at least three runs off of each of them. Mickey Moniak tried to keep the Angels in it with a three-run blast in the fourth, but it was a futile effort.

AL Central Rock Fight

Cleveland Guardians (44-44) 3, Kansas City Royals (25-64) 0

Aaron Civale had a gem for the Guardians, tossing seven innings of shutout ball before handing things over to the self-appointed best bullpen in baseball who continued their noted success at home. The Guardians close to within half a game of the Twins after their loss to the O’s.

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