Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays split doubleheader with Orioles

BALTIMORE — The Rays officially crossed the midway point of their disappointing season Friday in between beating the Orioles 5-2 in the opener of a split doubleheader and losing the second game 4-1.

Overall, the day wasn't half-bad.

"You will always take a split in a day-night doubleheader," manager Joe Maddon said. "But after you win the first one, you get a little greedy."

With a majors-worst 33-49 record that puts them on a pace for 97 losses, the Rays' focus eventually will shift to determining which young players can help them most going forward.

And the small samples from Friday provided some results as different as, well, day and night.

In the matinee, outfielder Brandon Guyer continued his impressive run with three doubles, Alex Colome made the most of his one-day promotion by working into the sixth and Jake McGee once again looked like a future closer.

But in the nightcap, Jake Odo­rizzi had to battle just to get through five innings in using 106 pitches, veteran relievers Juan Carlos Oviedo and Joel Peralta allowed a home run, and Desmond Jennings went hitless to cap an 0-for-9, four-strikeout day that dropped his average to .235.

Starting with the positive, Maddon — referencing his five-stage scale to evaluate players — said Guyer is emerging in several ways.

"The bat head's quick. He's running really well. He's playing a very good leftfield," Maddon said. "We've talked about him turning into a Stage 3 guy — I belong here; I can do this. Right now, he's exuding confidence. When we speak in the dugout, he's just a different cat."

Guyer said he felt for a while he was a big-leaguer but hadn't had the opportunity — either because he was at Triple-A Durham or injured — to show it.

"I knew all along it was just a matter of getting at-bats, getting comfortable," he said. "I knew I belonged here. It's just I never had the results to show for it."

He got the opportunity because he was out of options and Tampa Bay didn't want to risk losing him. He finally started to produce in May when he got hurt again — fracturing his left thumb — but returned last week and resumed his impressive work. On Friday, he scored two runs and knocked in a third.

Colome was ticketed for Triple A with the idea he could bolster the rotation if needed. But he wasn't available when injuries struck because he failed a PED test and was suspended 50 games.

He returned in late May to make one relief outing for the Rays, then five starts for Durham (four good, then one bad). Given the chance Friday when Jeremy Hellickson wasn't deemed ready to come off the disabled list, Colome used a mid 90s fastball and worked well with catcher Jose Molina.

Colome escaped a messy first inning, allowing only one run, and cruised from there, allowing a baserunner in each inning but nothing else.

"I'm very motivated to do the right things," he said, with bench coach Dave Martinez interpreting. "I want to come up here and show everybody I belong here and that I want to pitch here."

The nightcap didn't go as well. Odo­rizzi was coming off one of his most impressive starts — 7⅓ innings, one hit, no runs — but had nothing close in terms of stuff or command, allowing six hits and four walks.

"It went from the best to the worst very quickly," he said. "It was just an all-around bad, bad experience out there. I couldn't get comfortable, couldn't find my spot, couldn't get back in the swing of things. It was a battle from Pitch 1 to Pitch 106."

His only solace was in allowing just one run, pitching out of two bases-loaded jams.

"He did have to work through some stuff. He was off-kilter with some of them, walking a couple guys," Maddon said. "Just not as sharp as he had been overall."

Still, with James Loney homering in the second inning, the game was 1-1 in the sixth.

Oviedo gave up a go-ahead homer on his second pitch to Nick Hundley. Peralta served up a two-run shot in the seventh to Nelson Cruz, his 25th of the season to tie for the majors lead.

It didn't help that the Rays were limi­ted to five hits total.

 
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