Brandon Lowe busts out of massive slump, helps the Rays even the Series
By: Ian Blum
We. Are. Back. I would be a liar if I said I wasn’t a little nervous coming into Game 2. The Rays had to find some sort of offensive production to have a chance in this series and we were gifted 6 runs on 10 hits to get back in it.
Blake Snell set the tone for the Rays from the jump. He pitched 4 hitless innings and struck out 9 batters over his 4.2 innings pitched. Having a dominate start like that helped get the Rays off to an early lead.
A key for the Rays has been and always will be Brandon Lowe. After basically carrying the offensive load in the regular season he has struggled to find his footing in October. With Randy Arozarena transforming into a super hero it hasn’t really mattered until now. It was something that could not be sustained in a series vs a loaded team like the Dodgers. Others had to step up and tonight they did.
Lowe sending a ball out his first time up was a beautiful sight to see.
Then my favorite Ray, Joey Wendle got in on the fun, scoring Ji-Man Choi with a double in the top of the 4th. A 3-0 lead with a pitching staff like the Rays had to have Kevin Cash feeling good. But Brandon Lowe wasn’t satisfied. He was out for blood and sent Rays Fan Ian into a frenzy after a 2 run shot made it 5-0.
The Dodgers would not go down quietly. A Chris Taylor 2 run homer put the Dodgers on the board. If you look at the numbers Snell has trouble staying in games beyond 5 innings. It was discussed in the broadcast that injuries from last season probably play a roll in that. Either way the score was now 5-2 and the Dodgers looked poised to comeback.
After another Wendle RBI for the Rays made it 6-2, Will Smith (no not that Will Smith) and Corey Seager both homered for the Dodgers. I wasn’t having as much fun anymore.
A quick shoutout to Corey Seager who has been a monster in the postseason. Even after winning MVP of the NLCS he can still get lost in the shuffle on a team with Kershaw, Buehler, Bellinger and Betts. Per ESPN Stats and Info Corey Seager is the all time home run leader by a shortstop in the postseason. So here is his postseason spray chart for the heck of it:
With his lead starting to slip in the 8th Kevin Cash listened to math nerds in his brain. Now I am not lucky enough to have former Ivy Leaguers that studied economics in my head but I assume it looks something like this:
The nerds told him they needed 4 outfielders, so they used 4 outfielders. Pete Fairbanks was on the mound with Justin Turner on 2nd base and Will Smith (no not that Will Smith) at the plate. A high leverage moment in the game to say the least. And when Smith hit a ball 102.6 mph right at Wendle playing third my heart dropped.
If he hit that ball at a mortal man that glove would’ve exploded. But Joey ballgame is not like the rest of us. You don’t go barehanded to the plate in the World Series and not snag this ball. It was at this moment I knew the Rays were winning the game.
The final score read 6-4, Nick Anderson picked up the win for the Rays while Tony Gonsolin is credited with the loss. Diego Castillo has been great coming into this series and he kept it up, locking things down to get the save.
This win was a massive one for the Rays. The perception among fans is that despite both teams being the 1 seeds they are not equals. The Dodgers were to bully the poor Rays. After getting punched in the mouth in Game 1 the Rays came out swinging tonight. They showed that they can hang with the big bad Dodgers and that we do have a series.
As for what’s to come in Game 3 Friday night I have two names for you, Walker Buehler and Charlie Morton. Need I say more? Two of the absolute best in the game going toe to toe, pound for pound, winner gets a 2-1 lead in the World Series. Inject it straight into my veins.
Walker Buehler has appeared in 4 games and has a 1-0 record with a 1.89 ERA. Charlie Morton has been just a hair better in one less game. Over his 3 games he hasn’t suffered a loss and has a 0.57 ERA.