Sunday, April 22, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Mahtook ends 0-for-34 slump with key hit for Rays

ST. PETERSBURG — LF Mikie Mahtook took early batting practice every day this week, hoping to shake his career-long slump that was getting closer by the game to Luke Scott's Rays-record 0-for-41 slide in 2012.

Mahtook wasn't aware of that mark and didn't want to know how close he'd come Thursday afternoon, after he snapped his 0-for-34 skid with an RBI double in the seventh inning for what proved to be the winning run in the Rays' 2-1 victory against the Red Sox.

"It's nice that I don't have that record on the books," Mahtook said.

Mahtook's last hit had been Aug. 9 at Toronto. He was 0-for-21 during the homestand when he stepped in against Red Sox starter Drew Pomeranz after Steven Souza Jr. singled to start the seventh. Mahtook hit a sinking line drive to left-center and Souza hustled all the way home. A relieved Mahtook clapped and looked toward the heavens after sliding into second.

"You go in every day expecting to get hits and expecting to do well," he said. "Day after day it just kind of gets on you. Finally, to break through like that was nice. It was a relief, but it was more of me feeling good about all the work that I put in leading up to it to finally see the results."

Mahtook's slump was the fourth longest in team history. Jose Cruz Jr. was 0-for-37 in 2004 and Josh Wilson was 0-for-35 in 2007.

Mahtook also contributed defensively when he threw out RF Mookie Betts at second to end the eighth. Betts tried to stretch a single down the leftfield line into a double.

"Mikie's been wearing it pretty tough lately," manager Kevin Cash said. "It was good to see a big smile on his face today."

ODO BEING ODO: RHP Jake Odorizzi won for the sixth time in eight starts since the All-Star Break and lowered his second half ERA to an AL-low 1.59 after Thursday's win.

His six-game winning streak matches RHP Matt Andriese for the longest this season by a Rays starter.

Odorizzi allowed a run in the sixth inning on a sacrifice fly by Betts. He walked DH Hanley Ramirez to load the bases with one out then, after a visit by pitching coach Jim Hickey, got Jackie Bradley Jr. to hit into a double play.

"I have to give credit to Hick," Odorizzi said. "He said 'First-pitch change-up, double play.' And that's exactly what we did."

30 FOR LONGORIA: 3B Evan Longoria was pleased to reach 30 home runs for the fourth time in his career, doing so Wednesday with an eighth-inning homer.

"There's a lot more home runs being hit this year but I don't think there is going to be a huge list of players that will hit 30," Longoria said. "It's a cool number. It's a number I'm very proud of at this point and something that I can go and build on and see what kind of special year I can end up having."

NOTEWORTHY: 1B Brad Miller had 11 RBIs during the 10-game homestand. His batting .304/.382/.644 with 31 RBI since the All-Star break. … SS Matt Duffy's fourth inning double was his first extra-base hit since joining the team. … The Rays were 7-3 on the homestand, their best mark during a 10-game homestand since going 9-1 in July 2013. … They improved 10-19 in one-run games. … The bullpen ended the series with 11 scoreless innings. It has a 2.69 ERA since the All-Star break. … UTL Nick Franklin (concussion) is scheduled to play tonight for Charlotte and is expected to join the Rays on Saturday in Houston.

 
Comments
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays’ 10-1 Saturday win over Twins

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays’ 10-1 Saturday win over Twins

* Is it time to take the leap and believe this is the real Blake Snell? He talked a good game this spring and pitched well in his debut, but that rough second outing raised old doubts. But a good outing in Chicago and two dominant ones on the homesta...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Rays Tales: How low can this team go compared to those Devil Rays days?

Rays Tales: How low can this team go compared to those Devil Rays days?

When the Rays, in the opening weekend of their 20th anniversary celebration season, brought back and honored the inaugural 1998 Devil Rays squad, it got us thinking unexpected thoughts, such as which was a better team:The first one, or the current on...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Rays Journal: Team effort pays off in 10-1 win over Twins

Rays Journal: Team effort pays off in 10-1 win over Twins

ST. PETERSBURG – Let's be clear here, the Rays still have a long way to go, and a lot of ground to make up.But seeing them play like they did Saturday in beating the Twins 10-1, putting on a solid all-around show in cobbling their first three-g...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Rays will go forth with four starters

Rays will go forth with four starters

ST. PETERSBURG — Three weeks was enough for the Rays to officially ditch their three-man rotation plan.Starting Sunday, they will go forth with Yonny Chirinos as their fourth starter.Which is a five-star idea.The flaws in the three-man plan ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
For starters: Rays vs. Twins, with a familiar look

For starters: Rays vs. Twins, with a familiar look

UPDATE, 4:17: CF Kevin Kiermaier was back at the Trop, and at one point on the field with a glove on his left hand and protective wrapping on his right, the day after surgery to repair a torn UCL in his right thumb. He said the surgery went "as good ...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Rays will go forth with Chirinos as fourth starter

Rays will go forth with Chirinos as fourth starter

The Rays have made it official – or as official as things can be with them – in naming RHP Yonny Chirinos as the fourth starter in their rotation.The Rays had been using three, and two "Bullpen Day" slots when playing five straight days.B...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Archer’s sparkling start precedes surreal finish

Archer’s sparkling start precedes surreal finish

By now, we presume you've had a few hours to digest the Rays' improbable 10-inning triumph Friday night.So instead of rehashing the whole bizarre body of work, how 'bout a closer look at the workmanship. Specifically, Chris Archer's.Partially lost in...
Published: 04/21/18
Now Batting in Double A: Biggio, Bichette and Guerrero

Now Batting in Double A: Biggio, Bichette and Guerrero

HARTFORD, Conn. — Craig Breslow is 37 years old, with a dozen years of experience as a left-handed reliever in the major leagues. He is pitching now for the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats, just getting to know his teammates. In their openin...
Published: 04/21/18
Span, Rays top Twins in 10 innings

Span, Rays top Twins in 10 innings

ST. PETERSBURG — Roughly four hours before taking the field against his former team Friday, Rays outfielder Denard Span spoke admirably about the Minnesota Twins, their organization in general, even hometown icon Joe Mauer.But business is busin...
Published: 04/20/18
Rays journal: Miller back from DL, KK surgery successful

Rays journal: Miller back from DL, KK surgery successful

ST. PETERSBURG — For a change, the physically snake-bitten Rays got some vigor, versatility and even a veteran presence back in their lineup  when INF Brad Miller was reinstated from the 10-day disabled list.To make room, they DFA'd INF/OF...
Published: 04/20/18