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Matt Wisler Implodes in Rays' 5-3 Loss to Brewers, Snapping Interleague Win Streak

Tampa Bay's Shane Baz left with a lead in the sixth inning, but reliever Matt Wisler got tagged for two two-run home runs and the Rays lost to the Milwaukee Brewers 5-3 on Tuesday night at Tropicana Field.
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Matt Wisler owned it, because after eight years in the big leagues, he knows that's what needs to be done. 

No excuses.

The Tampa Bay reliever, who had allowed just one earned run in his last 12 outings dating back to May 22, got lit up on Tuesday night, and it wasted a great Shane Baz start and cost the Rays a game. He gave up four hits in the sixth inning — including two two-run homers — and the Rays lost to the Milwaukee Brewers 5-3.

The loss snapped the Rays' 10-game winning streak against National League opponents, and Wisler took full responsibility.

"Obviously, you never want to blow a game,'' said the 29-year-old Wisler, who's been pitching in the big leagues since 2015. "Obviously, too, you know their bullpen is pretty good and those runs are going to be tough to come by against them, Obviously, not giving us a chance to win a game is probably the worst thing we can do, and obviously, it didn't go our way tonight, or my way tonight.''

Obviously.

Tampa Bay reliever Matt Wisler had allowed only one run in his past 12 outings, and hadn't allowed four runs in a game since 2019. He gave up two two-run homers on Tuesday night. (Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports)

Tampa Bay reliever Matt Wisler had allowed only one run in his past 12 outings, and hadn't allowed four runs in a game since 2019. He gave up two two-run homers on Tuesday night. (Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports)

Wisler said nothing was really different for this outing. He said he felt good, but just didn't execute his pitches well enough, especially on the home runs balls by Andrew McCutcheon and Luis Urias. 

"I think the biggest thing for me is I thought I just got a little too much plate on those. The slider felt good today coming out of the hand, everything felt good, just too much plate for those,'' Wisler said. "The 0-0 slider (to Urias), we preach throwing strikes and I was just trying to get ahead on guys, and obviously they put some pretty good swings on the ball today. For me, it's just focusing on finishing the ball up a little better. 

"Yeah (it happened fast). A second-pitch slider,  and a first-pitch homer, it didn't take too long. No, honestly, I felt pretty good today. I just wasn't getting the ball glove-side enough. If I had one thing to focus on, it would be that. The ball was catching a little too much of the plate. I felt decent, I just didn't execute enough.'' 

In Wisler's last 12 outings in the past five weeks, he had allowed only one run and five hits in 13 1/3 innings, good for an 0.66 earned run average. Baz, who was making his fourth start after missing two months following elbow surgery, had throws a career-high 95 pitches with two outs in the sixth, and Rays manager Kevin Cash no problem in relying on Wisler to get out of the inning.

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"Wis has been so good for us certainly this season, and since we acquired him (in 2021),'' Cash said. "It just came together really fast. They handled the breaking ball and got it up in the air and hit a couple of home runs with the double in between.

"We felt confident with Wis on McCutcheon, it just didn't work. It looked like Milwaukee had a good approach. It's not a big secret what he's doing, He's going to throw his breaking ball and he's going to throw it a lot. Generally there's a little more deception and a little extra bite in there that throws hitters off. Sometimes you've got to tip your hat to them. We have a lot of confidence him and we'll get him right back out there.''

Milwaukee Brewers left fielder Andrew McCutchen (24) is congratulated by third base coach Jason Lane (40) after hitting a two-run home run against the Tampa Bay Rays in the sixth inning at Tropicana Field. (Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports)

Milwaukee Brewers left fielder Andrew McCutchen (24) is congratulated by third base coach Jason Lane (40) after hitting a two-run home run against the Tampa Bay Rays in the sixth inning at Tropicana Field. (Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports)

Baz walked off the mound with a 1-0 lead in the sixth. He had never thrown more than 76 pitches this year, and topped out at 82 in his second of three starts last year. 

"I thought Shane threw the ball really well,'' Cash said. ''I was excited to see him bounce back, I still don't think it was coming easy for him early on, just didn't feel like he could find his rhythm, but he'll get there. 

"We've stayed right around 80. He got the big pitch to (Rowdy) Tellez right there for the strikeout, and then we were confidence in turning to Wis. There are still things we are talking about, but 95 pitches and 5 2/3 is still a little high.''

It also didn't help that the Rays' bats were quiet. Milwaukee starter Brandon Woodruff retired the side in order the first three innings, and the Rays finally got to him in the fourth with a lead-off double from Yandy Diaz and a two-out RBI single from Randy Arozarena. 

But that was all they got off of him. Woodruff left after five innings, throwing 76 pitches. The four-run barrage off of Wisler — the most runs he's allowed since Sept. 12, 2019, when he was pitching for the Seattle Mariners — gave the Brewers a 4-1 lead, and then they added one more off of Ralph Garza Jr. in the eighth, his second inning of work.

The Rays battled back in the bottom of the eighth, with Brett Phillips and Yandy Diaz both walking to open the inning, and then advancing on a passed ball. Phillips scored on a Wander Franco sacrifice fly and Diaz scored on a Harold Ramirez groundout to first. Arozarena singled again, and Isaac Paredes walked, but Josh Lowe grounded out to second to end the threat.

Milwaukee closer Josh Hader got his 23rd save of the season — the most in baseball — striking out Taylor Walls, Vidal Brujan and Francisco Mejia in the ninth.

The Rays had been dominant in interleague play this season, going 10-1 before Tuesday night. The two teams will play again on Wednesday, with an early 12:10 p.m. ET matinee. 

  • JUST FOR STARTERS: Shane Baz, the Tampa Bay Rays' 23-year-old right-hander, pitched great against the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday night, but his bullpen let him down. Here's our ''Just For Starters'' story, with Baz's numbers on the night and cumulative totals for the starting rotation this season. CLICK HERE
  • KIERMAIER READY TO RETURN: Veteran Tampa Bay outfielder Kevin Kiermaier said he felt great after playing six innings in a game in Port Charlotte on Tuesday afternoon, and he said his hip is good to go. It's expected that the Rays will activate him at some point this weekend during their trip to Toronto. CLICK HERE
  • PAREDES HONORED: Isaac Paredes' record-setting five-home-run week was enough to earn him American League Player or the Week honors from MLB on Monday. He hit .579 for the week and had homers in four consecutive at-bats, the first Rays player to do that. Freddie Freeman of the Los Angeles Dodgers won the NL award. CLICK HERE
  • RAYS SCHEDULE: Here is the complete 2022 schedule for the Rays, with dates and game times, plus results from all games played so far. CLICK HERE