Sunday, September 23, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays' Corey Dickerson looks forward to Fenway

ST. PETERSBURG — Corey Dickerson spent his first three major-league seasons in the National League with the Rockies, and despite interleague play, he'll get a chance to play in a few new ballparks as an AL newcomer with the Rays this season.

As the Rays open a three-game series at Fenway Park, Dickerson has played there before — just one game, the second of his MLB career as a rookie in June 2013, as a DH. He had a walk and a line-drive double to center in an 11-4 loss to the Red Sox.

"I remember walking in, water dripping from the stadium. I remember the smell of the locker rooms," Dickerson said. "It kind of felt more historical then when I got there. I remember getting my first at-bat, and it felt like I was in a video game."

Dickerson, 26, has never played at Yankee Stadium or at Rogers Centre. He'll get a chance to play in New York on Friday and in Toronto next month. He said Nationals Park — where he got his first career hit, three days before Fenway — will always be special, but he appreciates the history of games at Fenway and Yankee Stadium this week.

"That will be something I can always tell my kids and grandkids," he said.

WELCOME BACK: LHP Drew Smyly, starting today's game at Boston, knows Fenway Park well, going back to three relief appearances as a rookie for Detroit in the 2012 ALCS. Last year, he pitched twice at Fenway, allowing just one earned run in 12 1/3 innings for a 0.73 ERA, with 13 strikeouts.

"It's always an exciting game, always a pretty electric atmosphere," Smyly said. "It's a really cool environment. I look forward to it. I enjoy pitching there."

Smyly gave up three home runs in his first start of the season against the Blue Jays, and though he also lost Wednesday to the Indians, he pitched much better, allowing only three hits in seven innings while striking out 11.

"A bunch of big, veteran hitters," he said of Boston. "It's a pretty complete lineup up and down. It's going to be tough, but if I make my pitches, I've had success against them before, so I have to go out there and compete."

STREAK ENDS: The Rays pitching staff has the best strikeout-to-walk ratio in baseball, with 4.71 strikeouts for every walk. Last year, by comparison, the staff ratio was 2.84.

When RH reliever Alex Colome walked a White Sox batter in the ninth inning Sunday, it ended a staff streak of 26 strikeouts between walks. For the three-game series against Chicago, the Rays had 28 strikeouts against two walks.

MINOR MATTERS: Rays RHP Damion Carroll was suspended for 50 games under baseball's minor-league drug program after a second positive test for a drug of abuse. Carroll, 22, a sixth-round pick in 2012, is 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA in two games this year for advanced Class A Charlotte.

THIS AND THAT: New Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel has struck out 14 of the first 28 batters he has faced while walking five. … Keep an eye out for Boston on the basepaths, especially against Rays C Hank Conger. The Red Sox are 9-for-10 on stolen-base attempts, among the best success rates in baseball. … Challenge for Rays pitchers? Boston hasn't been shut out at home in 63 straight games, the longest active streak in the majors.

Contact Greg Auman at [email protected] and (813) 310-2690. Follow @gregauman.

Comments
Snell wins No. 21 as Rays beat Blue Jays 5-2

Snell wins No. 21 as Rays beat Blue Jays 5-2

TORONTO – Blake Snell earned his team record and majors-most 21st win on Sunday as the Rays beat the Blue Jays 5-2.The victory improved the Rays to 87-68 and kept alive their slimmest chances to make the playoffs, though perhaps for only a few ...
Updated: 23 minutes ago
For starters: Rays at Jays, with Snell seeking No. 21

For starters: Rays at Jays, with Snell seeking No. 21

UPDATE, 12:14: Snell takes the mound today leading the AL in wins, ERA (1.97) and opponents average (.179). … Cash noted that Snell "is in elite company now with the Rays, and he has the chance to stand alone." …  The Rays note that ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Rays journal: Blue Jays spoil wild-card bid

Rays journal: Blue Jays spoil wild-card bid

TORONTO — There was no drama, no emotional rescues after Saturday's game.After feeling, appropriately, crushed after they gave away Thursday's game, blowing a six-run lead in the ninth, then bouncing back Friday, the Rays on Saturday faced a st...
Published: 09/22/18
Updated: 09/23/18
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Saturday’s Rays-Blue Jays game

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Saturday’s Rays-Blue Jays game

OF Tommy Pham insists he doesn't feel locked in at the plate. Interesting, since it's hard to imagine he could get much hotter: 345 in 31 games since coming to the Rays and .402 while reaching base in 24 straight games, a career best and current AL h...
Published: 09/22/18
20 things about Mr. 20 Blake Snell, including, yes, blocking his mom on his phone

20 things about Mr. 20 Blake Snell, including, yes, blocking his mom on his phone

TORONTO — Twenty things about Blake Snell as he takes the mound Sunday for the first time as a 20-game winner.Snell …• Is the first 20-game winner in the majors since 2016.• Will have the fewest innings of any 20-game winner i...
Published: 09/22/18
Rays Tales: And the winners are …

Rays Tales: And the winners are …

This season won't end up among the most successful in the Rays' 21-year franchise history, but I'd make the case it might be the most interesting.From the winter/spring purge of the veterans, dire predictions for 100-plus losses, frigid 1-8/4-13 star...
Published: 09/22/18
Rays lose again to Jays, 5-2, end is in sight

Rays lose again to Jays, 5-2, end is in sight

TORONTO – Friday's bounce back didn't carry over for the Rays, and after a 5-2 loss to the Blue Jays on Saturday, they are close to being officially bounced from the race for the final American League playoff spot.The Rays opened the series in ...
Published: 09/22/18
For starters: Rays at Blue Jays, with Meadows in the lineup

For starters: Rays at Blue Jays, with Meadows in the lineup

UPDATE, 2:41: Cash said Kiermaier was "a little banged up" from a slide on Thursday so he gave him the day off vs. the lefty but is available, and that allowed Meadows to be in the lineup. … Cash also said Ji-Man Choi, who left Friday's game wi...
Published: 09/22/18
Rays bounce back big after a debacle

Rays bounce back big after a debacle

TORONTO — The way the Rays played Friday — all nine innings, lesson learned — in beating the Jays 11-3 provided the best answer on how, or even if, they could rebound from the crushing loss the night before that all but ended their ...
Published: 09/21/18
Updated: 09/22/18
Rays journal: Carlos Gomez says ump should’ve been ejected

Rays journal: Carlos Gomez says ump should’ve been ejected

TORONTO — After unleashing a Twitter rant criticizing umpire Andy Fletcher's work behind the plate Thursday, Rays OF Carlos Gomez doubled down on his comments, saying he was even more upset about how Fletcher treated him when questioning a thir...
Published: 09/21/18