Sunday, May 20, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Observant coach makes a winning call

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — When Eric Hosmer laced a single down the rightfield line Friday night, Lorenzo Cain came flying around second as if late for a job interview. A trip to the World Series was hanging in the balance. It was the moment Mike Jirschele had been waiting for.

Maybe not as long as everyone in this once-again baseball-crazed city thought — not back to Game 7 of the World Series last October when Jirschele, the Royals' third-base coach, threw up a stop sign for Alex Gordon, who stayed anchored at third base as Madison Bumgarner got the final out and the Giants became World Series champions.

But Jirschele had waited long enough.

Having spent 13 years playing in the minors and 22 coaching there before getting to the majors last season, Jirschele understood the value of patience. So when Jirschele observed Jose Bautista, Toronto's strong-armed rightfielder, earlier in the series turn his back to home plate as he wheeled around to throw to second base, he took note.

On that play, it was Kendrys Morales, the DH, running.

There was no need then to make a reckless decision, the same as last October when sending Gordon might have rescued the Royals — but more than likely would have gotten him thrown out by 20 feet.

With Cain in the equation, though, the calculation went from rash to rational.

"We were waiting for that situation where a ball hit down the rightfield line, if I have speed coming into third and I see Bautista come up and make that long throw to second, I'm going to go ahead and wheel him," Jirschele said.

When Cain saw Jirschele furiously windmilling his right arm, his eyes widened and his stride lengthened.

"When I saw him sending me, I was definitely shocked," Cain said. "But I trust him to the fullest."

By the time shortstop Troy Tulowitzki gathered the throw and, with a poor grip, skidded his throw home, there was no chance of getting Cain, who slid across home plate, popping up with what would become the winning run in the 4-3 Royals win that put them back in the World Series.

"It was going to have to be a perfect throw," Jirschele said.

The play was somewhat reminiscent of the 1946 World Series, which the Cardinals won when Enos Slaughter scored from first in Game 7 on a hit-and-run single that Red Sox shortstop Johnny Pesky hesitated for an instant to throw home.

Cain's daring dash and Jirschele's enterprising decision were fitting touchstones for the Royals on their return to the World Series. The team remained largely intact from last season, though the handful of newcomers have loomed large in the playoffs. Former Ray Ben Zobrist hit a solo homer Friday and Johnny Cueto, also acquired at the end of July, was superb in the Division Series winner-take-all Game 5 victory over Houston. Morales has four homers and 10 RBIs during the playoffs.

"We knew it was going to be hard coming into the year," Cain said. "It left a bad taste in everyone's mouth, losing the World Series the way we did. But we stuck together and we're back where we want to be."

METS SET ROTATION: Right-hander Matt Harvey will pitch the World Series opener at Kansas City, followed by right-hander Jacob deGrom in Game 2 then rookie right-hander Noah Syndergaard and left-hander Steven Matz in New York.

World Series

Mets vs. Royals

(TV: All games Ch. 13)

Tuesday: at Kansas City, 8

Wednesday: at Kansas City, 8

Friday: at New York, 8

Saturday: at New York, 8

Nov. 1: at New York, 8 *

Nov. 3: at Kansas City, 8 *

Nov. 4: at Kansas City, 8 *

* If necessary

Comments
For starters: Rays at Angels, with Romo again as “the opener”

For starters: Rays at Angels, with Romo again as “the opener”

UPDATE, 2:27: If the Rays win today, it would be their first four-game sweep since Sept. 20-23, 2013, vs. Baltimore and first on the road since Aug. 16-19 here at Anaheim. … It also would be the first time they swept back to back series on the ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Rays hang on to beat Angels 5-3 behind Robertson slam, get back to .500

Rays hang on to beat Angels 5-3 behind Robertson slam, get back to .500

ANAHEIM, Calif. – Playing .500 ball is obviously no goal, and the Rays certainly know that.But given where they came from, that terrible 1-8 start that oozed into 3-12 and 4-13, climbing back to the respectability of .500 would be an accomplish...
Published: 05/20/18
Rays journal: New pitching plan worked so well Romo starts again Sunday

Rays journal: New pitching plan worked so well Romo starts again Sunday

ANAHEIM, Calif. — The first part of the Rays' new and unusual pitching plan worked so well Saturday, as game "opener" RHP Sergio Romo struck out the first three Angels hitters, that the Rays will do it again on Sunday.That's right. Romo will st...
Published: 05/19/18
Updated: 05/20/18
Rays are seeing what it’s like to have missed the Sho

Rays are seeing what it’s like to have missed the Sho

ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Rays badly wanted Shohei Ohtani for themselves.From execs to interns, they invested extensive time and money preparing their bid in November, touting advantages they figured would play to both his intense desire to re...
Published: 05/19/18
For starters: Rays at Angels, with Romo on the mound for all to see

For starters: Rays at Angels, with Romo on the mound for all to see

UPDATE, 6:57: And here is the Angels lineup, with Upton:Cozart 3bTrout cfUpton lfPujols dhSimmons ssKinsler 2bMarte 1bCalhoun rfMaldonado cHeaney pUPDATE, 6:50: Eovaldi came through his Friday rehab start will but will make one more on Wednesday for ...
Published: 05/19/18
Rays Tales: How California dreamin’ became reality

Rays Tales: How California dreamin’ became reality

ANAHEIM, Calif. —  They're grown men now, making piles of money and getting treated like kings, lavished with top-shelf equipment, designer clothes and first-class accommodations. But it wasn't too long ago that some of the Rays were ...
Published: 05/19/18
Rays put Adeiny Hechavarria on DL, recall RHP Ryne Stanek

Rays put Adeiny Hechavarria on DL, recall RHP Ryne Stanek

The Rays acknowledged what seemed obvious and placed SS Adeiny Hechavarria on the 10-day DL Saturday due to the right hamstring strain he sustained on Thursday.And to take place his place on the roster, they not only didn't call up top prospect INF W...
Published: 05/19/18
Rays make it five in a row as Ramos leads way past Angels

Rays make it five in a row as Ramos leads way past Angels

ANAHEIM, Calif. – A little frustrated by an extended skid that followed his streak of hitting in 18 straight games, and a bit irritated over some of the bad swings he had taken, catcher Wilson Ramos went to the cage before Friday's game seeking...
Published: 05/19/18
Rays journal: Good and bad injury news

Rays journal: Good and bad injury news

ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Rays are planning to have 3B Matt Duffy back in the lineup Saturday for the first time since he left Tuesday's game with right hamstring tightness.Which will be good for them since they seem set to be headed toward pl...
Published: 05/18/18
Updated: 05/19/18
Rays’ new pitching plan: Sergio Romo’s first career start

Rays’ new pitching plan: Sergio Romo’s first career start

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Your Rays are at it again.In a plan being hailed as either genius or idiotic, and nary much in between, they are plotting to do yet something else different and unusual with their pitching for Saturday's game against the Angel...
Published: 05/18/18