The Rays scored five runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to come from behind and beat the Marlins 6-4 on Sunday afternoon. The final four runs scored on a grand slam from Daniel Robertson, marking the first walk-off grand slam in Rays history.
Kyle Barraclough started the inning, but gave up hits to the first three hitters he faced: a double to Jake Bauers, a single to C.J. Cron, and an RBI single to Ji-Man Choi. Barraclough struck out Carlos Gomez and got Mallex Smith to ground out, seeming as if he would navigate his way out of trouble. But Willy Adames drew a walk to load the bases and bring up Robertson. After taking a first-pitch ball, Robertson pulled a 94 MPH four-seam fastball into the seats in left field to send the Rays home winners.
Robertson is batting .355/.378/.400 with eight home runs, 30 RBI, and 42 runs scored in 307 plate appearances this season.
Thanks to Robertson’s heroics, the Rays avoided being swept by the Marlins. The club is now 50-49, solidly in third place in the AL East. They’re nine games back of the second Wild Card slot.
Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman might be headed to the disabled list soon, manager John Gibbons told reporters following Friday’s rain-shortened loss to the Yankees. The righty lasted just four innings on the mound before calling it a night, and gave up five runs, six hits and two walks in a performance that Gibbons claimed was at least partially affected by recurring blister issues on his right middle finger. Now, it looks like he might be removed from the rotation for some much-needed rest and rehabilitation; if so, it’ll be his second such stint this year.
Stroman, 27, has struggled to return the kind of winning record and sub-4.00 ERA that characterized his previous seasons with the club, mostly due to the combined seven weeks he missed with blisters on his throwing hand and chronic fatigue in his right shoulder. In a recent start against the Rays, things got even more gruesome when his blister appeared to start bleeding in the middle of his outing and MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm notes that the wound has constantly interfered with the right-hander’s pitch selection and delivery. When healthy, Stroman has managed a 4-8 record through 18 starts in 2018 with a career-worst 5.27 ERA, 3.2 BB/9 and 6.8 SO/9 in 100 2/3 innings. This will be the first year since 2015 in which he has not logged at least 200 innings in a single season.
While Stroman may not need an extended stay on the DL before he returns to the mound, it’s not clear what kind of timetable the Blue Jays expect for his recovery. He’s been the second-most valuable starter (behind the now-traded J.A. Happ) in a rotation that currently ranks 17th in the majors with a combined 4.90 ERA and 6.8 fWAR.