Saturday, February 24, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays hold on to beat McCullers, Astros (w/ video)

ST. PETERSBURG — They won't all be easy for Alex Colome, even as he climbs up the Rays' record book one save at a time.

Exhibit A: He pitched into and out of a bases-loaded jam Wednesday to preserve a three-run victory.

Exhibit B: Colome did the same thing Friday to nail down the Rays' 4-3 victory against the Astros in front of 13,075 at Tropicana Field.

The game ended on a ground ball in the hole between shortstop and third base that Brad Miller had to charge to field, which forced him to make an offbalance throw to first base. That required first baseman Steve Pearce to catch the ball on a short hop, which he did for the final out.

"Oof," Colome said. "I was waiting for (Pearce) to catch the ball because, you know, a bad throw, but he did a great job. Great catch."

"Awesome win," manager Kevin Cash said.

The Rays returned home from a .500 road trip hoping to carry the momentum into a nine-game homestand. Home has not been kind to the Rays. It was almost cruel again Friday when a 4-0, second-inning lead built against Astros starter Lance McCullers of Tampa Jesuit was trimmed to one run when the Astros scored three in the third against Rays starter Matt Andriese.

That forced the bullpen to pick up the final 10 outs, which it did, beginning with Erasmo Ramirez's four-out outing. Xavier Cedeno had the eighth, and Colome, looking for his 18th save in as many tries, had the ninth.

It was the ninth that was hairy: A leadoff walk. A one-out double that stood after a replay challenge by the Rays on the safe call at second base. And an intentional walk to Jose Altuve that loaded the bases.

But Colome is nothing if not confident, despite this being his first year closing games at any level.

"Like 100 percent," he said. "I take the ball, throw down. Be strong on the mound."

It's that mentality that endears Colome to his team.

"We're pretty confident when he's on the mound," Cash said. "He's going to be able to calm the situation, make some big pitches and get some big outs for us. We probably didn't help him a ton. There were guys all over the bases, but to Alex's credit, he didn't let anything bother him except who was at the plate. That's what the good closers do. We feel like we have a very good closer."

Colome threw six straight strikes after walking Altuve. He got Colby Rasmus swinging, then got Evan Gattis to hit a ground to the left side of the infield.

"Brad Miller, tremendous play," Cash said, "and Steve Pearce probably as good to pick it out right there, because they put all kind of pressure on us and they made an awesome play together."

Colome's 18 straight saves is the longest stretch by a Rays closer to begin a season and tied for the longest run of saves at any point since Fernando Rodney saved 18 in a row in the middle of the 2012 season.

Though Colome has been perfect all season, he seems to pitch better when he's in a jam.

"In that situation you have to be calm, make great pitches," he said. "Because if we miss, we lose."

     
                         
Comments
Inside the Raysí plan to prove the tanking truthers wrong

Inside the Raysí plan to prove the tanking truthers wrong

PORT CHARLOTTE – The Rays know tanking."We tanked in 2006 and '07, if you want to call it that," principal owner Stuart Sternberg said. "We were the original tankers. Or tankees. It seems to be all the fad now."In losing 101 and 96 games in the...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rays Journal: Duffy not just playing but playing well, Faria struggles, more

Rays Journal: Duffy not just playing but playing well, Faria struggles, more

FORT MYERS – Just playing on back-to-back days was significant for Rays 3B Matt Duffy.Playing well has made the start of spring training even better."Really liked the way Duffy has continued to play," manager Kevin Cash said after a 4-3 loss to...
Updated: 6 hours ago
That guy standing by Cash in the dugout? All part of Raysí plan

That guy standing by Cash in the dugout? All part of Raysí plan

Jonathan ErlichmanFor a moment Friday, it looked as if a young businessman, accountant or computer guy had won one of those charity auctions to spend a game in uniform in the Rays dugout.Actually, it was Rays analytics director Jonathan Erlichman, a ...
Updated: 7 hours ago
For starters: Back to back starts for Duffy as Rays face Red Sox, 1:05

For starters: Back to back starts for Duffy as Rays face Red Sox, 1:05

UPDATE, 11:36: Manager Kevin Cash said the plan is to play Duffy on back to back days a couple times early in spring, believing the short bursts of activity will best help him build up after missing all of 2017. … Matt Andriese will come out of...
Published: 02/24/18
The truth about the Tampa Bay Raysí reset

The truth about the Tampa Bay Raysí reset

The Tampa Bay Rays are not going to be very good this year.We already knew that.They have gutted a team that won 80 games last season. Among those sent packing: Evan Longoria, Corey Dickerson, Jake Odorizzi and team MVP Steven Souza Jr.Yeah, this thi...
Published: 02/24/18
Rays spring training info: Saturday at Red Sox, 1:05

Rays spring training info: Saturday at Red Sox, 1:05

Rays Saturday scheduleAt Red Sox1:05, JetBlue Park, 11500 Fenway South Drive, Fort MyersPitchers: Rays – RH Jake Faria, RH Matt Andriese, RH Dustin McGowan, LH Ryan Yarbrough, RF Chaz Roe, LH Jose Alvarado, RH Evan Scribner, RH Jose Mujica; Red...
Published: 02/24/18
Impact of Tommy John surgery cuts deeply for Brent Honeywell, Rays

Impact of Tommy John surgery cuts deeply for Brent Honeywell, Rays

PORT CHARLOTTE – Two things that tell you a lot about Rays cocksure top prospect Brent Honeywell given Friday's crushing news that he indeed tore a ligament in his prized right arm and is headed for Tommy John surgery that will sideline him wel...
Published: 02/23/18
Rasmus says he ditched Rays to spend time with family

Rasmus says he ditched Rays to spend time with family

SARASOTA — Colby Rasmus is making a new start with the Baltimore Orioles after taking an eight-month break from baseball.Rasmus signed a minor-league contract with the Orioles this week, after abruptly leaving the Rays in midseason. The contrac...
Published: 02/23/18
Rays open exhibition season with 6-3 win over Pirates

Rays open exhibition season with 6-3 win over Pirates

The Rays won the home game of their opening-day, split-squad set, beating the Pirates, 6-3.1B Brad Miller, with an opposite-field double off the wall, and CF Kevin Kiermaier, with a bloop single to shallow center, provided the early offense.2B Daniel...
Published: 02/23/18
Rays journal: Miller time could be a good time, and more from openers

Rays journal: Miller time could be a good time, and more from openers

PORT CHARLOTTE — One of the key story lines in Rays camp is seeing what kind of bounce-back season they can get out of a healthy Brad Miller, coming off October core muscle repair surgery.And while Miller isn't feeling 100 percent — he st...
Published: 02/23/18