Was Danny Farquhar the right guy to be on the mound for the Rays in the 11th inning Wednesday? …Full Story
Was Danny Farquhar the right guy to be on the mound for the Rays in the 11th inning Wednesday? …Full Story
BALTIMORE - A night that started poorly and then looked promising ended cruelly for the Rays.
After overcoming a sloppy second inning that put them down three, after getting two home runs from Tim Beckham, after watching Alex Cobb battle his way through five innings, after seeing Erasmo Ramirez fight off trouble to post four zeroes, after taking the lead in the top of the 11th, the Rays ended up losing 5-4 Wednesday to the Orioles.
And on a walkoff walk.
"We did a really good job battling back,'' third baseman Evan Longoria said. "Being down like that with (Dylan) Bundy pitching a good game, we chipped away, we had a chance to win the game, we were in position to win. We have to win those games like that, especially on the road in the division. ... We've got to be able to close that one out somehow.''
After the Rays took the lead in the top of the 11th on a broken-bat single by Jesus Sucre, manager Kevin Cash asked Alex Colome to work a second inning, and he was eager to oblige.
But Colome wasn't as sharp, allowing a leadoff single to Chris Davis, a one-out single to Wellington Castillo and a walk to Hyun Soo Kim to load the bases, then a Jonathan Schoop fly ball to score the tying run.
After Colome walked Ryan Flaherty to reload the bases, Cash decided 32 pitches were enough, especially since Colome, their All-Star closer, had thrown 17 on Tuesday.
"I'd asked a lot of him going into that,'' Cash said. "His workload has been fairly heavy.''
Colome said afterward he was surprised to be pulled: "It surprised me. I thought I would get one more hitter.''
But Cash opted for Danny Farquhar, and it didn't go well as he walked lefty Seth Smith on four pitches to force in the winning run, starting with a curveball, then missing with fastballs
"It (stinks),'' Farquhar said. "It's the walk of shame into the clubhouse, and it's a tough night's sleep, tough two nights because we have an off-day. You've just got to learn from it.''
Before all that, the Rays definitely had some things to be pleased about.
Fill-in shortstop Beckham continued his overall impressive play by socking a pair of home runs and a double.
Cobb again overcame a lack of stuff, and a brutal second inning that included five straight singles and two throwing errors - one by him - netting three runs, to battle his way through five innings.
And reliever Ramirez, pitching with no rain in sight, did a tremendous job weaving his way through trouble - including a Beckham error that put the go-ahead run on second to start the eighth - to post four scoreless innings.
And a night that started poorly looked like it was going to end well Sucre's singled with two outs in the 11th that gave the Rays a 4-3 lead.
The rally started innocently, with a one-out walk by Logan Morrison off Alec Asher. With two outs, Shane Peterson was hit by a pitch. Then Sucre, who came in when Derek Norris was pinch-run for the in the eighth, delivered the key hit.
The Rays were in that position, in part, for familiar reasons, as they failed to take advantage of a prime opportunity, this one in the eighth when, down 3-2, they loaded the bases with no outs but got only the tying run.
The Rays dropped to 11-12 as they are off today, then play Friday in Toronto to open a stretch of 33 games in 34 games, with only one day off (May 18) until June 1.
Beckham continued his overall impressive play and sizzling show at the plate as he extended his hitting streak to seven games.
"Probably just finding his rhythm," Cash said before the game.
UPDATE, 5:44: Odorizzi said he threw 65 pitches over 4 innings in his sim game and went well, so he is set to rejoin the rotation on Monday in Miami, and Cash confirmed that is the plan. ... Both OF Colby Rasmus (hip surgery) and Mallex Smith (hamstring) will continue their rehab assignments tonight. ... Cash said he is sticking with Derek Norris, hitting .155 overall and just 1-for-his-last-19, based on the strong work he is doing behind the plate. ... Expect to see RHP Erasmo Ramirez in relief tonight as he ended up not being used yesterday.
UPDATE, 3:17: Here is the Rays lineup, with struggling Derek Norris - 1-for-his-last-19 - behind the plate catching Cobb:
And here is the Orioles lineup:
DEVELOPING: The Rays are looking to take a series from the Orioles tonight and will have Alex Cobb on the mound under what look to be clearing skies with no threat of rain. …Full Story
So what happens when you hit a foul ball with so much spin on the ball that it rolls back fair?
Rays 3B Evan Longoria found out last night, when he rolled a ball down the third-base line that actually hit the grass on the foul side of the basepath and then came back fair, with credit due to Orioles 3B Manny Machado for sticking with the ball to make the play.
Here is the video, courtesy of MLB:
In episode 4 of our Rays Tales podcast, Times beat writer Marc Topkin talks with rehabbing shortstop Matt Duffy about how tough it is to watch and what podcasts he likes to listen to, Chad Mottola about his playing career and how it shaped his philosophies as a hitting coach and longtime Rays TV man Todd Kalas about his return to the Trop.Full Story
Here’s a quick look at how some of the Rays prospects are doing through the first few weeks of the minor league seasons thorugh Tuesday's games:
TRIPLE A DURHAM
RHP Jacob Faria is 2-0 in 4 starts with a 4.12 ERA. He struck out 28 and walked 12 in 19 2/3 innings.
RHP Brent Honeywell, the organization’s 2016 minor league pitcher of the year, is 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA in his 2 starts with the Bulls after starting the season at Double A Montgomery.
After impressive springs in big league camp, RF Jake Bauers and 1B Caey Gillaspie are off to slow starts. Bauers is batting .231 with a team-high 13 run scored and Gillaspie is hitting .179.
3B Patrick Leonard leads the Bulls with a .358 average. He’s driven in 13 runs.
C Curt Casali is batting .294 with 9 RBI, something that might be worth watching since Derek Norris and Jesus Sucre are underwhelming at the major league level.
LF Granden Goetman, from the nearby Palmetto, is batting .323 with 10 RBI.
SS Willy Adames has scored 10 runs and driven in 10 runs but is batting .209.
DOUBLE A MONTGOMERY
CF Nathan Lukes, who came to the Rays from the Indians last summer in the Brandon Guyer trade, leads the Biscuits with a .375 average.
HIGH A CHARLOTTE …Full Story
Manager Kevin Cash's awareness of how fortunate the Rays were that their bold move worked out in scratching starter Erasmo Ramirez 20 minutes before first pitch because of the potential for an extended rain interruption that never came was evident in his post-game comment tagging one of the leading state-based analytical web sites.
"Great win,'' Cash said after the 2-0 victory over the Orioles. "Man, fangraphs is going to have a field day with that.''
The basis of their decision was concern that the forecast rain would cause a long delay that would artificially limit the innings they would get from Ramirez, who was to make his second start filling in for Jake Odorizzi before returning the bullpen.
They had kicked around a similar plan on Monday so as not to burn top starter Chris Archer but decided the forecast was promising, which proved true as there was no delay until the eighth.
But based in part of the information related by Orioles heads groundskeeper Nicole McFadyen plus what they could find on their phones and computers, Rays brass decided they were better off saving Ramirez and going with rookie Austin Pruitt for starters and the rest of their bullpen.
"We had a stronger forecast of rain tonight,'' Cash said. "We were pretty convinced starting the game starting the game we were going to have some sort of a stoppage within the first hour or so, hour and a half. Their groundskeeper did a tremendous job of keeping us informed, but it adjusted.''
The Orioles, obviously, had access to the same information, but gave no thought of similarly scratching starter Wade Miley.
Was there some chicanery in the Rays making such a late switch?
Manager Buck Showalter was understandably surprised when he got word of the change but insisted it didn't leave them unprepared.
"About, I'd say, 20 minutes before game time,'' he said. "Got a call from Kevin that they were going to start Pruitt. We go over all of them in the advance meeting. We have all the information we need."
In having Pruitt work three innings, Danny Farquhar and Jumbo Diaz the next two, Chase Whitley three and then closer Alex Colome the ninth, the Rays held the Orioles to just two hits, and set down 17 straight in one stretch.
"We kind of managed it like a spring training game and just kept giving different looks to everybody,'' Cash said, "and it just worked in our favor."
Showalter gave them some credit, though noting how the weather has forced cancellation of batting practice the last two days.
"They pitched real well,'' Showalter said. "Made a lot of quality pitches in some really tough conditions. There's a lot of excuses there if you want to reach for them, but we're not going to.''
This was actually the second time the Rays scratched Ramirez from a slated start against the Orioles, also doing so in spring training, substituting lefty Xavier Cedeno against a March 29 lineup built to face a righthander.
The Rays made a late switch announced just before game time and opted to have rookie RHP Austin Pruitt start rather than RHP Erasmo Ramirez, a move they said was due to uncertainty in the weather forecast in regards to rain interrupting play.
Pruitt, who has been working as a long reliever, last pitched on Saturday, so he is well rested. Though still sporting a 7.94 ERA, he has been pitching better of late, earning wins in his last two outings.
The Rays were looking for at least six inniings from Ramirez, who is making his second start in place of injured RHP Jake Odorizzi, who is due back Monday.
UPDATE, 5:38: The forecast has improved, and the chances for the game to start on time and be played without interruption have increased, though the temperature seems to be dropping. ... Souza said when he woke up and the elbow didn't hurt too bad he texted Cash and said he was good to go. ... Cash said he went with Morrison in the lineup because Miley is not overly tough on lefty hitters and that he wants to get Morrison, Miller and Weeks going. ... RHP Jake Odorizzi's four-inning sim game was pushed back until Wednesday when the Rays hope to be able to get him on the field and so he is on a five-day schedule to return on Monday.
Here is the Orioles lineup:
UPDATE, 3:05: The weather remains uncertain but there is good news for the Rays regarding one injury issue as Souza is in the lineup and in RF. Also, there appears to be a nod toward better defense as Logan Morrison is starting at 1B against the lefty, with Rickie Weeks at DH. That alos means rookie Daniel Robertson is not playing.
Here is the Rays lineup: …Full Story
Here are updates on severa of the Rays injured players:
* RHP Jake Odorizzi said he is over the left hamstring strain that landed him on the DL and ready to return when eligible Wednesday. But the Rays want him to throw a four-inning simulated game today, which means he likely won't make his return until the next time his slot comes up, on Monday in Miami, where he will have to bat, and run the bases. "I'm back, everything feels normal, I'm just waiting to get the ball,'' he said.
* RHP Tommy Hunter (calf strain) could be sidelined into June.
* LHP Xavier Cedeno (forearm tightness), was seen by team Dr. Koco Eaton and now will get a second opinion this week from noted surgeon Dr. James Andrews.
* OF Mallex Smith (hamstring) did rehab work in extended spring Monday (and took live batting practice off DL-ed prospect RHP Jose De Leon) and will play for the Stone Crabs tonight.
* OF Colby Rasmus (hip surgery), targeting a Friday return in Toronto, continued his rehab at Double-A Montomery, going 0-for-2 with a walk and is now 1-for-12 in his first four games. …
There was good reason to pin Monday's 6-3 loss to the Orioles on Chris Archer, given how he allowed three homers in a five-batter span bridging the sixth and seventh innings, quickly turning a 3-1 advantage into a 5-3 deficit, and didn't have much explanation for it except to say, over and over, that he needs to "execute at a higher level.''
But there was better reason to blame his teammates, who failed repeatedly to expand the early lead they took against Ubaldo Jimenez, with a Corey Dickerson leadoff homer in the first and a two-run double by Shane Peterson in the fourth.
"We definitely let him off the hook, didn't capitalize on some situations,'' OF Steven Souza Jr. said. "We've got to do a better job capitalizing when he's weak and preying on him.''
But this wasn't an isolated incident.
While there has been more attention, understandably, paid to the defensive miscues and bullpen blowups that have cost the Rays, their overall productive offense has shown a lack of killer instinct that surfaced repeatedly. …Full Story
Having gone 1-6 on their first road trip of the season, the Rays are aiming for better as they - weather permitting - open a nine-day, eight-game, three-city roadtrip tonight in Baltimore, with Chris Archer on the mound. It was windy this afternoon, as you can see, and rain is expected tonight:
Here is our video preview:
Rays OF Steven Souza Jr. got a nice present for his 28th birthday on Monday, the American League Player of the Week award.
Souza hit .414 for the week with two homers, 9 RBIs and 1.192 OPS over seven games, from Monday-Sunday.
It was his first AL Player of the Week award.
UPDATE, 6:33: The tarp is off the field and Archer is in the outfield starting to warm up.
Here is the Orioles lineup:
RAYSUpdate: Rays place RHP Tommy Hunter in the 19-day disabled list with right calf strain
RHP Chih-Wei Hu has been recalled from Durham Hi came to the organization from the Teins in the 2015 Kevin Jepsen trade
The Rays will try to beat the Astros in the final game of this homestand without CF Kevin Kiermaier, who is still under the weather.
Kiermaier left Friday’s game after five innings because of an illness. He talked his way in Saturday’s lineup but was pulled after three at-bats – all strikeouts and all on three pitches.
Steven Souza Jr., will make his second start in center as a Ray. Shane Peterson moves to right, and Corey Dickerson will play left.
Logan Morrison moves up to Kiermaier’s No. 2 spot in the order and will serve as the DH.
Matt Andriese is one the mound for the Rays, who are trying to go 4-for-4 in series wins this season at the Trop.
No word yet on what is going on with the bullpen after RHP Tommy Hunter left last night’s game with tightness in his right calf.
Beckham SS …Full Story