Reliever JT Chargois raised a few eyebrows in the Pacific Northwest last week based on comments he made to the Tampa Bay media after being acquired by the Rays in a trade with the Seattle Mariners.
“To be in this moment right now where it’s like, dude, this is the AL East, and it’s a contender,” Chargois said, “this is the big leagues right here. Yeah, this is the real deal. … I’m pretty pumped to see what this place brings.”
At the time, his previous team, Seattle, was only a couple of games out in the chase for the American League’s second and final wild-card playoff berth.
By Monday, with Chargois’ with the Mariners in St. Petersburg, Fla, for a three-game series, his tune changed somewhat as he called it an “emotional tug-of-war.”
“I loved playing with every single one of those guys. Like (Seattle catcher Tom Murphy) just told me, we were jelling. And it’s hard to see that go away,” Chargois said. “But (this is a) new opportunity, and it’s a great opportunity, so I’m also excited to be here.”
The right-hander pitched a scoreless inning of relief Tuesday, but the Rays took a 4-2 defeat to the Mariners. Tampa Bay, which lost 8-2 in the series opener, will attempt to avoid not only a sweep of the current set but also the season series when the teams meet Wednesday afternoon in St. Petersburg, Fla.
The Mariners are 6-0 in 2021 against the Rays.
“Look, they’ve got our number, I don’t know what else to say,” Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said. “We’re just not playing very good baseball and they are.”
The Mariners got six strong innings Tuesday from left-hander Yusei Kikuchi and home runs from Abraham Toro and Jarred Kelenic.
Right-hander Diego Castillo, sent to Seattle for Chargois and minor league third baseman Austin Shenton, got the final three outs for his first save as a Mariner and his 15th of the season.
Castillo said through an interpreter that it was “a little bit strange” being back in Tampa Bay so soon.
“It’s a little sad, just because this is the first team that gave me an opportunity,” Castillo said. “I was with the (organization) for eight years. We were doing so well. I didn’t think I was going to get traded.”
The Mariners are scheduled to start rookie Logan Gilbert (5-2, 4.04 ERA) on Wednesday. After losing Gilbert’s first two starts, Seattle has won 11 in a row when the right-hander takes the mound.
Gilbert didn’t get a decision in a 6-5 victory against the Rays on June 19, his only previous appearance against them, when he allowed four runs on six hits in 5 2/3 innings with no walks and seven strikeouts. He surrendered homers to Mike Zunino and Manuel Margot.
The Rays are set to counter with left-hander Josh Fleming (8-5, 4.15 ERA). Fleming also got a no-decision in the June 19 game. He gave up five runs on seven hits in 6 1/3 innings, with two walks and five strikeouts. One of the hits was a grand slam by J.P. Crawford.
Fleming will try to boost a Rays rotation that is missing ace Tyler Glasnow, who will undergo Tommy John surgery on Wednesday. Glasnow, out since mid-June, ends the year 5-2 with a 2.66 ERA.
–Field Level Media