ST. PETERSBURG — Rays fans will finally get an up-close look at LHP Drew Smyly. After two road starts, the former Detroit pitcher will make his home debut for the Rays today against the Yankees.
"I'm going to try to do the best I can," Smyly said. "You can't put too much pressure on yourself, or it won't go smoothly."
Smyly is coming off of one of the best outings of his career. He set career highs in pitches (116) and innings (72/3) in a shutout win at Texas. He allowed three hits and struck out nine in becoming the eighth Rays starter to collaborate on a shutout this year.
"If you're making it to the eighth, you're doing something right," Smyly said.
Smyly has been part of a Rays staff that has done plenty right recently. The team entered Friday with 87 strikeouts in its previous seven games — one shy of the major-league record (set by last year's Tigers and Indians). The Rays haven't allowed more than three runs in a club-record 11 consecutive games.
Manager Joe Maddon has been impressed with Smyly's ability to throw strikes and his improvement against right-handed hitters. He also has seen how open Smyly has been to new information and new ideas since joining the Rays as part of a July 31 three-team trade that sent David Price to the Tigers. Tampa Bay also got INF Nick Franklin and SS Willy Adames, both prospects.
"He knows himself, and he doesn't know it all," Maddon said. "It's fun to work with a guy like that. His ceiling can be really high as he understands what he's doing out there."
Move: The Rays sent RHP Brandon Gomes to Triple-A Durham after Friday's game. They will announce a corresponding move today to add a position player, with INF Vince Belnome the most likely candidate.
Medical matters: OF Wil Myers continued his rehab assignment with his fourth game for Durham. He started at rightfield and went 0-for-5 with two strikeouts. Maddon said Myers' right hand and wrist feel fine after getting fractured in late May, and he could rejoin the Rays next week.
OF David DeJesus is scheduled to start a rehab assignment this morning as the designated hitter for the Gulf Coast League Rays. He's expected to continue rehab work with the Class A Stone Crabs when they return to Port Charlotte on Monday, but he doesn't have a timetable for how long he might be there before rejoining the Rays.
"I see the end of the tunnel," DeJesus said.
Maddon said C Ryan Hanigan (oblique) is feeling better, but there is no timetable for his return, either.
Price check: The Tigers confirmed that Price will face his former Rays teammates when Detroit comes to town next week. Barring a rainout, Price will start Thursday at Tropicana Field, with RHP Max Scherzer and RHP Rick Porcello starting the first two games for Detroit.
Minor matters: RHP prospect Nate Karns threw six no-hit, shutout innings for Durham. He had 10 strikeouts against Charlotte but walked five batters before being relieved after 103 pitches in Durham's 1-0, 11-inning victory.
Miscellany: Today's game is the Rays' second sellout of the season and the first since opening day. Tickets remain limited for Sunday's game. … OF Kevin Kiermaier will be honored before today's game as the Rays' recipient of the heart and hustle award. … Today's game will air locally and nationally on Fox Sports 1 as well as locally on Sun Sports, and will be on 1250-AM and 97.9-FM because the Bucs play tonight. … 1B James Loney's solo home run in the eighth was his first since July 1. … Opponents fell to 0-for-9 with six strikeouts against RHP Brad Boxberger with the bases loaded.