Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Fennelly: David Price confirms that Rays' victory is impressive

ST. PETERSBURG — I hurried to the Boston Red Sox clubhouse Sunday afternoon. Former Rays ace, current Sox upset person David Price, who pitched well, was speaking with media, which he now only does on days he starts.

Great to hear your voice, David!

Here's one thing Price said:

"They threw the ball well. They played unbelievable defense. They had the big hits when they needed them. That's what you need to win baseball games, and that's what they were able to do."

The Rays spoke up heading into the All-Star break. Brad Miller's bat, silenced most of this season by injuries and lousy, made real noise with his first home run in two months for a 5-3 win to take three out of four from first-place Boston.

Some Rays jumped the dugout fencing when Miller's shot cleared the wall in dead center at the Trop. Rays manager and All-Star coach Kevin Cash might have tried that but for his broken foot. His team did anything but limp into the break.

"That was exciting, man," Cash said.

Yeah, we're just at the All-Star break, but this was a good week for the Rays. A statement week. They followed a split at raucous Wrigley Field by winning the series from Boston before semi-raucous and semi-large crowds (for the Rays) at the Trop. The Rays beat the best Sox starter, Chris Sale, on Thursday. Alex Cobb was lights out Saturday.

And Sunday, after Dustin Pedroia punched a hole in the weekend by taking a 96 mph Chris Archer fastball out for a two-run homer and 3-2 Boston lead in the seventh, the Rays punched back with the kind of rally that said they want to be for real.

"Hell, yeah, we're for real," Miller said.

The Rays are tied with the Yankees for second place in the AL East, just 31/2 games behind the Sox.

More to the point, they broke out of that win-lose-win-lose deal by following a big win with another big win.

"It's huge," Cash said. "We hadn't been that great at doing that. Everybody talks about .500. It feels like we've lingered around there, up, down, up, down, the entire time. You try not to overhype this series, but for us to come out of it to win the series says a lot."

Archer, bound for Miami as an All-Star fill-in, battled his former mentor Price for hegemony for six innings for a 2-1 Rays lead. Still, Archer handed over the lead with that Pedroia homer. Put that in your All-Star duffel bag.

But Sunday was a Rays day.

In the fourth inning, with runners on second and third, Boston's Christian Vazquez lifted a foul ball to right, near the Rays bullpen. Cash went to the corner of his dugout and picked up … the SOUZA PHONE. Next thing we knew, there was Steven Jr., diving headlong to make a spectacular grab for the second out. I can't wait for the movie.

In the sixth inning, All-Star Corey Dickerson made a leaping catch against the wall in left and relayed to Miller, who threw to Logan Morrison at first for an inning-ending double play.

And there was the bottom of the seventh after Boston grabbed the lead.

That man Mallex.

Pinch-hitter Mallex Smith worked a walk, moved to second base on a Peter Bourjos sacrifice and to third on a Souza single — and scored to tie it at 3 when Dickerson lifted a shallow foul ball near the Red Sox bullpen. Boston's Andrew Benintendi should have seriously considered dropping that ball. He caught it.

"All I know is that when it hit his glove, I was gone," Smith said. "I didn't have a care in the world what he did."

Nor did Miller, or the Rays bench, when he hit his two-run shot off Boston reliever Joe Kelly, who had gone 23 consecutive scoreless appearances.

"Today was a huge win," Miller said. "It kind of showed our character a little bit."

A 4-2 week for the Rays. A statement week? It doesn't mean anything if they don't come roaring on a six-game Western trip to Anaheim and Oakland after the break. But it was good stuff.

The Rays made real noise.

Hey, David Price said so.

Comments
As Kevin Kiermaier blasts changes, Rays see empowered Kevin Cash as stabilizer

As Kevin Kiermaier blasts changes, Rays see empowered Kevin Cash as stabilizer

PORT CHARLOTTE — The list of those no longer with the team was going to be noteworthy no matter what Monday as the holdovers, newcomers and wannabes gathered for the first full-squad workout in Camp Dis-A-Ray.Then even before Rays manager Kevin...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Ray Tank: Fans have fun with name of team’s new blog

Ray Tank: Fans have fun with name of team’s new blog

Rays fans upset about the team's recent moves found the perfect target for their ridicule Monday when the team announced the name of its new blog.The Ray Tank.Announcing... The Ray Tank!Our new blog will have behind-the-scenes stories, photos, and mo...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Rays journal: Matt Andriese not mad (but not happy either) with move to bullpen

Rays journal: Matt Andriese not mad (but not happy either) with move to bullpen

PORT CHARLOTTE — Having spent the offseason preparing for a spot in the rotation, RHP Matt Andriese said he was initially "shocked" when told Sunday that he will begin the season in the bullpen."Ultimately, I'm not happy with the decision," And...
Updated: 12 hours ago
The Yankees’ show of shows is off and homering

The Yankees’ show of shows is off and homering

TAMPA — Move over, Hamilton.The show of shows began Monday at Steinbrenner Field. The Boss would have loved it. Yankees shock and awe began during the first full workout. Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton took batting practice. The mere sight o...
Published: 02/19/18
On deck in Rays ballpark quest: Tampa Bay’s business community

On deck in Rays ballpark quest: Tampa Bay’s business community

TAMPA — Columbia Restaurant owner Richard Gonzmart says he’s ready to put his checkbook where his heart is when it comes to supporting a Tampa Bay Rays move to Ybor City.So is the investment fund for the founding family of Ashley Furniture. So, it ap...
Published: 02/19/18
Live from Port Charlotte: First full squad workout

Live from Port Charlotte: First full squad workout

The Rays held their first full squad workout today, though RF Steven Souza Jr., did not work out because of a family matter. He had already reported to camp.More fallout from Saturday's Jake Odorizzi trade and DFA'ing of Corey Dickerson. This time fr...
Published: 02/19/18
Kevin Kiermaier sounds off on Rays’ weekend moves: ‘I am 100 percent frustrated and very upset’

Kevin Kiermaier sounds off on Rays’ weekend moves: ‘I am 100 percent frustrated and very upset’

Standout CF Kevin Kiermaier made very clear Monday what he thought of the Rays' weekend decisions to part ways with veteran OF/DH Corey Dickerson and RHP Jake Odorizzi:"I am 100 percent frustrated and very upset with the moves. No beating around the ...
Published: 02/19/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Goodbye, Jake Odorizzi and Corey Dickerson

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Goodbye, Jake Odorizzi and Corey Dickerson

The Rays continue their salary dump as they trade Jake Odorizzi to the Twins for a Single-A shortstop and designate All-Star Corey Dickerson for assignment, saving about $10 million in the process.In his latest podcast, Rick Stroud breaks down the mo...
Published: 02/19/18
As Odorizzi bids goodbye to Rays, Archer says he’ll be missed many ways

As Odorizzi bids goodbye to Rays, Archer says he’ll be missed many ways

RHP Jake Odorizzi was up early Sunday, driving over to the Rays training complex in Port Charlotte to pack his stuff and say his goodbyes after being traded Saturday night to the Twins.RELATED: Rays make a deal, three actually, to trade Odorizzi, DFA...
Published: 02/19/18
What were Rays thinking in ditching Odorizzi, Dickerson, adding Cron?

What were Rays thinking in ditching Odorizzi, Dickerson, adding Cron?

PORT CHARLOTTE – Rays officials insisted Sunday they made the best deals they could in a bad market, trading No. 2 starter Jake Odorizzi for an unheralded Class A shortstop prospect and DFA-ing 2017 All-Star Corey Dickerson in essentially a swa...
Published: 02/18/18