The Cincinnati Reds have gone through more than their fair share of struggles in the 2022 season as they hold a 32-54 record. On the second weekend of July, they welcomed in the Tampa Bay Rays (45-40) for the first series between these two since 2017. It is also only the sixth matchup between these two since 2003.
With the way the Reds have played this season, there has not been much to make the headlines, except for their historically bad start to the season. Following a series win over the Arizona Diamondbacks from June 13-15, the Reds only won one of their previous seven series coming into these games against the Rays.
The Rays have a winning record, but they have constantly found themselves without reliable offense and pitching. After four straight series losses in middle to late June, they finally got back to winning ways. Prioir to this series they won three of their last four series and won five of their last six games. They aimed to take advantage of one of the worst teams in baseball.
Let’s break down how this interesting series went in Cincinnati.
On Friday, July 8, these two went to battle in a pitchers duel. Both teams scored a run in the 3rd inning, but for the remainder of regulation, neither team was able to get anything going.
The MLB American League ERA leader Shane McClanahan did excellent work on the mound. He went six innings where he allowed one run and struck out eight. For the Reds, Luis Castillo went seven strong innings where he also allowed one run and struck out eight.
The game went into the 10th inning which featured some unusual plays.
The Rays started the top of the 10th with runners on the corners and no outs. The Reds threw out Francisco Meji at home for the first out and then got Wander Franco to line into a double play to keep the game tied.
In the bottom of the 10th, the Reds had first and third with one out. With Tyler Naquin at the plate and waiting for a 1-2 pitch, Rays pitcher Matt Wisler committed a balk to bring home the game-winning run.
Game two was dominated for the majority of the game by the Rays. A Francisco Meji RBI single in the 5th and a two-run double from Harold Ramirez in the 8th put the Rays up 3-0.
In the bottom of the 8th, the Reds finally got at it with some offense. Nick Senzel drew a bases-loaded walk for their first run and then with two outs Brandon Drury hit a two-run single to tie the game at three.
For a second straight night, the game went into extra innings.
This time the Rays did do some damage as Ramierez hit another double to drive home a run and put the Rays up 4-3.
The Reds answered back. They put runners on the corners with nobody out for Donovan Solano. The first pitch to Solano was thrown to the backstop to bring home the game-tying run. Solano singled to put runners on the corners again for Senzel. On a 2-1 pitch, Senzel hit a single to walk off the Rays on back-to-back days.
Unlike the first two games, the Reds made sure they would not go to extra innings again.
The Rays had several opportunities to put up runs early on, but a lack of timely hitting and bad baserunning kept the Rays off the board early. On the other hand, the Reds capitalized on some poor pitching.
In the bottom of the 3rd, the Reds took part in their own home run derby. After a lead off single by Matt Reynolds, Jonathan India hit a two-run homer to put the Reds up 2-0. A few batters later, Tyler Stephenson stepped to the plate with a 3-0 lead and a man on second. Stephenson swung away on a 3-0 pitching and hit a two-run homer. Solano followed with a single and Mike Moustakas hit the first pitch for a two-run homer, his 200th career homer.
The Rays finally put up a few runs, but it was not enough as the Reds came away with a series sweep as they won 10-5.
This series featured some highly unusual moments. Here is the history that was made in this series.
As stated earlier, the Rays and Reds have not matchup up often. In the 2003 and 2005 seasons, the Reds swept the Rays, but since then the Rays were a combined 5-4 in the 2011, 2014 and 2017 series.
The last time the Reds swept an interleague opponent in a three-game series was the Houston Astros in 2013, the Astros’ first season in the American League.
The balk was highly peculiar. It was only the 23rd time this has happened in MLB history. The last time it happened was when Seattle Mariners walked off the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2018. For the Rays, It was the first time in franchise history they lost on a walk-off balk.
The last time the Reds won back-to-back games that went to extra-innings was September 18 and 20, 2013 against the Astros and Pittsburgh Pirates. It has been since September 10 and 11, 2010 against the Pirates that they had two walk-offs in back-to-back extra innings games.
For the Rays, it has been since June 19-21, 2021 when they lost three straight extra-innings games against the Mariners and Boston Red Sox. The first two saw the Mariners walk off the Rays in 10 innings.
The Reds are not playing for much besides a little pride at this point as they hold the second-worst record in the National League. The Rays are in an extremely competitive American League East and getting swept by a non-contender hurts a lot. It is a long season, but if the Rays keep losing games to bad teams then their playoff hopes may slip away quickly.
Follow our Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook!
Go check out our Shop!