Wednesday, December 13, 2017
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
Is Alex Colome telling us something about Rays’ plans with his Instagram account?

Is Alex Colome telling us something about Rays’ plans with his Instagram account?

Closer Alex Colome was not traded by the Rays to the Cardinals on Tuesday night.But he appeared to be either prepping for or having some fun with the possibility.On his alexcolome37 verified Instagram account, Colome started following the Cardinals o...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 2 – with some news

Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 2 – with some news

UPDATE, 8:45: Tommy Hunter parlayed his solid 2017 season with the Rays into a two-year deal with the Phillies.UPDATE, 7:13: Unexpected sighting in the meetings lobby: Luke Scott, who looked in great shape at 39 and is at least talking about playing ...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Winter meetings journal: Rays add more infield depth, claim it isn’t prelude to a trade

LAKE BUENA VISTA — The Rays on Tuesday adding their third infielder in the past two weeks would sure look like a precursor to trading front-liners such as 3B Evan Longoria or 2B Brad Miller.But GM Erik Neander insisted that was not the case and that ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
GMs-turned-pundits believe now may be the time for Rays to sell

GMs-turned-pundits believe now may be the time for Rays to sell

LAKE BUENA VISTA — The Rays have been doing a lot of talking, making another small deal Tuesday while still working toward bigger ones of a still-being-determined degree.And there have been a lot of baseball people at the winter meetings talking abou...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Tampa Bay Rays make another small deal, acquiring INF Ryan Schimpf

Tampa Bay Rays make another small deal, acquiring INF Ryan Schimpf

The Rays made another small move to add infield depth on Tuesday, acquiring Ryan Schimpf from the Padres for minor league infielder Deion Tansel.Schimpf, 29, has played parts of the last two seasons in the majors, posting just a .195 average but with...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Could the Yankees’ new Death Star prompt a Rays surrender?

Could the Yankees’ new Death Star prompt a Rays surrender?

I have a theory that Major League Baseball is always way more interesting when the New York Yankees are good.Well, the Yankees got way better in the past few days.But baseball didn’t get more interesting. It got way worse.And it could get worse in Ta...
Published: 12/12/17
MLB ump Dale Scott retires rather than risk more concussions

MLB ump Dale Scott retires rather than risk more concussions

LAKE BUENA VISTA — As a big league umpire, Dale Scott saw maybe 1 million pitches from the field. His final call, it turned out, was the easiest of all. Rather than risk yet another concussion, Scott has decided to retire at 58. "I’m done," he told T...
Published: 12/12/17

Tampa Bay Rays make a small deal, acquire INF Joey Wendle

While continuing discussions on bigger topics, the Rays made a small deal Monday, acquiring INF Joey Wendle from the A's for a player to be named later or cash.Wendle, 27, spent part of the last two seasons in the majors, hitting .266 over 36 games. ...
Published: 12/11/17
Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 1

Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 1

UPDATE, 6:14: The Rays continued talks with no major moves seemingly close, but did make a small deal, acquiring INF Joey Wendle from the A's. Wendle, 27, has spent parts of the last two seasons in the majors, hitting .266 in 36 games. He is a lefty ...
Published: 12/11/17
Winter meetings journal: Rays closer Alex Colome drawing interest

Winter meetings journal: Rays closer Alex Colome drawing interest

LAKE BUENA VISTA — The Rays made a small deal Monday in acquiring INF Joey Wendle from Oakland while continuing to discuss bigger ones that seem likely to eventually lead to the trade of closer Alex Colome and then others.The Rockies and Mets joined ...
Published: 12/11/17