Monday, May 21, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays' double play against Tigers through the eyes of the players and managers

ST. PETERSBURG— Let's set the scene: The Tigers have runners on first and second Wednesday with no outs in the top of the sixth inning, trailing the Rays by a run.

Catcher James McCann is on second base. Left fielder Andrew Romine is on first. At bat is center fielder JaCoby Jones.

The Rays expect a bunt, so third baseman Evan Longoria and first baseman Logan Morrison are going to charge — or crash — home plate. Shortstop Tim Beckham runs to cover second. Second baseman Brad Miller runs to cover first.

Jones squares to bunt, and here's what happened:

Pitcher Danny Farquhar: "He bunts the ball up in the air (toward third base), and I was like, 'Sweet! I'm going to get an out here.' Longoria lets the ball drop."

Longoria: "I knew that I could catch it, but I figured the base runners would have to freeze, anyway. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Jones wasn't running initially out of the (batter's) box, so I knew that we wanted to get the one out at second base and figured we had a pretty good chance if all went well to turn the double play."

Miller: "Probably one of the most heads-up baseball plays you'll see, knowing that he can't touch the ball first or the umpire would call 'dead.' He knew what he was doing right away. He was going to keep it close. He was going to turn two. Pretty incredible."

Tigers manager Brad Ausmus: "It was pretty basic. It was bunted in the air, which I know you don't want. A veteran third baseman took advantage of the opportunity. When the ball was in the air I knew Longoria was going to do it, and then JJ didn't get down the line. As simple as that."

Longoria: "I was a little nervous. That's why I tried to sidesaddle (the ball as it landed) and keep it in front of me, but the turf has actually been playing pretty well. It's been playing pretty true. The reads are pretty true in terms of the way the ball is spinning and how it's going to bounce. I was pretty confident I would be able to keep it close. But even if it went slightly awry we would be able to get the out at second base and keep the double play in order."

Farquhar: "Completely catches me off guard. I talked to Beckham. Completely catches him off guard. And I don't even know what (Longoria is) going to do. Is he going to run and step on third? He throws it to second, and I thought for a second Beckham was going to throw it to me at third to get McCann."

Beckham: "JaCoby wasn't running. I saw him out of my peripheral as I was taking the throw from Evan that he wasn't running, and I thought we had a chance to turn it."

Miller: "I was just trying to catch the ball. Really, just try to keep it from going past me because the run would score."

The Rays turn the double play with Miller stretching for the throw at first, catching the ball just before Jones gets to the bag. That's 5-6-4 if you were scoring at home.

Ausmus: "I don't know whether (Longoria) saw that JJ didn't get out of the box. I actually thought he might do it, let it bounce, run to third and get McCann. They were a little bit fortunate in the fact JJ didn't run."

Farquhar: "It was so heads up. I asked Longoria, 'That's why you make the big bucks, huh?' And he said, 'Yeah.'"

Longoria: "We have put that play on and got the guy at second base plenty of times, but it doesn't always present itself that way. He popped up. I was right there. He was kind of enough in my vision that I could tell that he didn't initially bust it out of the box. It's a tough play as a hitter, because you're so upset at yourself that you popped it up that you know that it could get caught, you get caught in the moment and just freeze. Thankfully it worked out to our benefit at the time, but it's also a lesson to us. If you do pop up, make sure you get down the line."

Ausmus: "The truth is, if Jones is running from the get-go, he doesn't get two. It's as simple as that."

Comments
Rays journal: Christian Arroyo set to play first game at Tropicana Field

Rays journal: Christian Arroyo set to play first game at Tropicana Field

ST. PETERSBURG  — Christian Arroyo has watched more than 50 Rays games at Tropicana Field from the stands. Has been on the turf for his younger sister's gymnastics competitions and once, while it was in football configuration, to take grou...
Updated: 3 hours ago
There’s a swing by Rays CF Kevin Kiermaier …. and a gender reveal for November baby

There’s a swing by Rays CF Kevin Kiermaier …. and a gender reveal for November baby

Tampa Bay Rays OF Kevin Kiermaier and his wife Marisa are having a boy.Kiermaier shared the news on Twitter over the weekend in a most appropriate themed gender reveal event — taking a swing at ball that exploded with blue powder.Looks like im ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
What’s next for the Rays’ new pitching strategy

What’s next for the Rays’ new pitching strategy

ST. PETERSBURG — When Kevin Cash called team president Matt Silverman Sunday morning to wish him happy birthday, he expected to get back some form of an "attaboy" for implementing the Rays' latest unorthodox pitching strategy in using reliever ...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Sunday’s Rays-Angels game

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Sunday’s Rays-Angels game

* It's always interesting to think of how many amazing plays you see made in a game, then often a simple one — such as the fourth-inning comebacker to Rays RHP Matt Andriese — gets messed up and costs teams heavily, as that led to two run...
Published: 05/20/18
Rays journal: Pitching plan works, until Sergio Romo leaves in second inning

Rays journal: Pitching plan works, until Sergio Romo leaves in second inning

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Doubling down on their innovativeness and starting veteran reliever Sergio Romo for a second straight day worked out fine Sunday for the Rays.It was the less-effective pitchers who followed, plus the ineffectiveness of their h...
Published: 05/20/18
What a long, strange and winning road trip it was for Rays

What a long, strange and winning road trip it was for Rays

ANAHEIM, Calif. — The nearly Yanny-vs.-Laurel level national debate over their latest pitching strategy innovation of starting relievers isn't quite as entertaining today. The In-N-Out burgers in the clubhouse after the game weren't as tasty. T...
Published: 05/20/18
Romo not the reason, but Rays streak ends at 6 with 5-2 loss to Angels

Romo not the reason, but Rays streak ends at 6 with 5-2 loss to Angels

ANAHEIM, Calif.  – Doubling down on their innovativeness and starting veteran reliever Sergio Romo for a second straight day worked out fine for the Rays on Sunday.It was the less effective pitchers who followed, and the ineffectiveness of...
Published: 05/20/18
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 ...
Published: 05/20/18
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