Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays lose odd game to Blue Jays to fall to 0-2

ST. PETERSBURG — There was plenty to talk about during Monday's game, what with two odd plays requiring replay review, Kevin Kiermaier just missing on a home-run robbing grab, Toronto's Kevin Pillar making a highlight catch of his own and the Rays leaving a squad of men on base.

And it was the five-plus minutes the umpires and replay review crew in New York spent discussing the fourth-inning sequence that led directly to the Rays' 5-3 demise.

After waiting obviously impatiently through the extended delay — on whether rightfielder Steven Souza Jr. made a catch, and if it was a fair or foul ball — Rays starter Drew Smyly gave up a two-run homer to Michael Saunders. Worse, it was the second of the night Smyly, a left-hander, allowed to a lefty: Josh Thole took him deep, with the benefit of replay as well as a fan reached over, the inning before.

While Smyly first said the break in rhythm wasn't to blame, he then said it kind of was.

"Um, I don't know," Smyly said. "I'm not going to make excuses. Saunders hit a 410-foot home run off me, so I can't let that happen. I can't give up two home runs to two different lefties in that lineup. They have enough hard-hitting righties to where I can't let those lefties beat me. And that's how I got beat today.

"But it is a little ridiculous that they spend 5-10 minutes on the replay. I don't agree with that."

Rays manager Kevin Cash also said the delay, of probably close to 10 minutes of idle time, was a factor.

"Whatever it was, it certainly didn't help," Cash said. "I know there was a lot of commotion, confusion there. But any pitcher, you don't want to take him out of any rhythm at all."

That the Rays had the convoluted decision go in their favor — the verdict was a catch, and fair or foul a moot question — didn't make it much better.

And no less confusing, as the umpiring crew thought both teams had challenged the call, Cash on the catch, Toronto's John Gibbons on fair or foul, since Souza had thrown to first in case it was in play. After the game, the umpires said that once it was — finally — determined Souza made the catch, that was the end of the issue.

The third-inning replay review took much less time but cost the Rays as well.

Thole hit a ball to right that a fan appeared to reach over the wall to catch, and the umps called interference and a double. But then the replay crew determined the ball would have cleared the fence and awarded a home run. (The Rays said the fan was "relocated" to another seat but not ejected.)

Cash diplomatically said he hadn't seen the replay yet, and it probably could have gone either way. Smyly said it was clear to him. "From all our angles, we don't know how that you can overturn Thole's home run as well," he said. "But it is what it is. And we lost 5-3."

Smyly also allowed a fifth-inning homer to right-handed Josh Donaldson, but it was the two to the lefties that gnawed at him. He had allowed only nine career homers in 447 at-bats against lefties, and none since Sept. 6, 2014.

"I take pride in getting those guys out," he said. "I'm usually pretty effective against them. Tonight I missed my spots and they connected."

That wasn't the only reason the Rays lost again and go into tonight with the chance to start a season 0-3 for just the second time in their 19 seasons. Failing to take advantage of the opportunities they had against Jays knuckleballer R.A. Dickey hurt, too, as they left nine men on base overall and went 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position. So did Kiermaier just missing catching Saunders' home run, while Pillar made the dazzling diving grab to rob Steve Pearce of a double in the seventh.

Marc Topkin can be reached at [email protected]. Follow @TBTimes_Rays.

     
         
Comments
Brent Honeywell, Willy Adames lead Rays prospects in Baseball Americaís top 100

Brent Honeywell, Willy Adames lead Rays prospects in Baseball Americaís top 100

The Rays had two players in the top 20 and six overall in Baseball America's annual ranking of the game's top 100 prospects.RHP Brent Honeywell heads the Rays contingent at No. 14 with shortstop Willy Adames at No. 19.The other ranked Rays are 1B/LHP...
Published: 01/22/18
Why free agency hasnít turned out fun (yet) for ex-Rays pitcher Alex Cobb

Why free agency hasnít turned out fun (yet) for ex-Rays pitcher Alex Cobb

RHP Alex Cobb never expected to be going into late January without knowing where he was going for spring training.The longtime Ray's first foray into free agency hasn't gone as planned, much like the 150-plus others waiting for something to give in a...
Published: 01/20/18
Updated: 01/21/18
Rays infielder Daniel Robertson lends a hand to help families dealing with cancer

Rays infielder Daniel Robertson lends a hand to help families dealing with cancer

Rays infielder Daniel Robertson has much to be excited about heading into his second season in the majors.But before packing for spring training, he took some time last weekend to provide help for families needing assistance in dealing with cancer.Hi...
Published: 01/19/18
Ex-Rays star Longoria dons Giants jersey, looks forward to full-stadium environment in San Francisco

Ex-Rays star Longoria dons Giants jersey, looks forward to full-stadium environment in San Francisco

Longtime Rays star Evan Longoria was formally introduced in San Francisco today, adding the visual of him pulling on his new Giants jersey, switching to No. 10 since 3 is retired.Longoria said he welcomed the chance to play on a contending team stock...
Published: 01/19/18
What do Rays look like now? What will they look like March 29?

What do Rays look like now? What will they look like March 29?

ST. PETERSBURG — Since entering an off-season planning major change and pledging to be open to "anything and everything,'' the Rays have made a few minor moves and one massive one in trading franchise cornerstone Evan Longoria to San Francisco....
Published: 01/19/18
Reminder: Rays spring tickets go on sale today at 10 a.m.

Reminder: Rays spring tickets go on sale today at 10 a.m.

The Rays will put single game tickets for spring training home games on sale today at 10 a.m. via raysbaseball.com.The Rays are playing 14 home games in Port Charlotte, starting with the Feb. 23 opener vs. Pittsburgh. Tickets will be available at the...
Published: 01/19/18
Tampa Bay Rays 2018 spring training schedule

Tampa Bay Rays 2018 spring training schedule

Charlotte Sports Park, 2300 El Jobean Rd., Port Charlotte, 33948Get tickets here: (941) 206-4487Pitchers report: Feb. 13. Squad reports: Feb. 19TEAM SCHEDULE(games at 1:05 unless noted)(ss - split squad)Feb 23 at Orioles (ss) (Sarasota)Feb 23 PIRATE...
Published: 01/19/18
Ex-Phillies, Indians manager Charlie Manuel to get Ted Williams Museum award

Ex-Phillies, Indians manager Charlie Manuel to get Ted Williams Museum award

Former Phillies and Indians manager Charlie Manuel will receive the Ted Williams Lifetime Achievement Award on Feb. 10 in Clearwater.The honor is bestowed by the Ted Williams Museum at its annual Hitters Hall of Fame induction, moving this year from ...
Published: 01/19/18
Former Rays OF Matt Joyce to hold annual charity baseball camp at North Brandon complex

Former Rays OF Matt Joyce to hold annual charity baseball camp at North Brandon complex

Armwood High product Matt Joyce, the current A's and former Rays outfielder, hosts his ninth annual Sweet Swingin' charity baseball camp for kids 6-12 on Sunday at the North Brandon youth baseball complex (2929 S Kingsway Rd, Seffner).Registration st...
Published: 01/18/18
Rays spring tickets go on sale Friday

Rays spring tickets go on sale Friday

The Rays will put single game tickets for spring training home games on sale Friday at 10 a.m. via raysbaseball.com.The Rays are playing 14 home games in Port Charlotte, starting with the Feb. 23 opener vs. Pittsburgh. Tickets will be available at th...
Published: 01/17/18