Sunday, April 22, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays' Myers stars again out of leadoff spot

SARASOTA — Manager Joe Maddon made it clear that RF Wil Myers batting leadoff is just a "spring training thing."

But Maddon shook his head in the dugout when Myers, in the top spot for the second straight game, led off Wednesday's 7-4 win over the Orioles with a mammoth homer to center.

Myers, who also singled and stole a base, is 5-for-7 with four extra-base hits in two games at leadoff after going 4-for-26 with no extra-base hits prior.

"The ball is in the air a little bit more, and that's really important because he's that kind of a hitter," Maddon said. "He's going to hit the doubles and homers by the ball being in the air more than likely. That first ball was absolutely crushed. But again, he's gaining confidence and feeling better about himself."

LOWE DOWN: Veteran RHP Mark Lowe continued his case for a bullpen spot with Wednesday's start. Lowe allowed two unearned runs on four hits in 21/3 innings and liked how he battled out of jams. "He was really good," Maddon said.

Lowe, 30, on a minor-league deal, said the Rays are a "perfect fit" and he wants to stay. If he doesn't make the team, he'll likely take his first March 28 opt-out instead of heading to Triple A, hoping for another big-league opportunity. He has given up one earned run in six appearances (81/3 innings). "Physically, I'm as strong as I've ever been," he said.

MEDICAL MATTERS: OF Matt Joyce left after the first inning as a precaution due to a stiff neck. "Probably a couple heat packs and a rubdown and he'll be all right," Maddon said.

failure to communicate: The Rays had two errors, but the only thing that bothered Maddon was the bad infield coverage in the first that allowed CF Adam Jones a rare double steal. With Jones on first, the Rays had their usual infield shift on for left-handed hitting 1B Chris Davis. Jones stole second without a throw from C Curt Casali and, noticing third base wasn't covered, kept going. Maddon said there was a communication error: "That should not happen."

GAME DETAILS: After Tuesday's 20 hits — a spring record in the Rays era (since 2008) — Tampa Bay (13-4-2) had 14, eight for extra bases. "Let's not peak too soon," INF Sean Rodriguez quipped. … Rodriguez, who missed a week due to hamstring tightness, hit a two-run homer. INF Jayson Nix had a solo shot. … Ex-Orioles INF Wilson Betemit had two doubles against his former team. … RHP Josh Lueke had a 1-2-3 fourth on 12 pitches while pitching the second of back-to-back days. LHP Jake McGee, also on a back-to-back, said his Wednesday was more of a "game-like situation." He entered in the third to face Davis and was happy he got him to swing and miss on a curveball.

MINOR MATTERS: Rays closer Grant Balfour was pleased with how he felt and how he threw in a 12-pitch 1-2-3 inning in a minor-league game Wednesday, clocking at 90-91 mph. But his performance tonight against the Twins — in his first back-to-back outings of the spring — will be more telling. "There will be a little more intensity and you're bouncing back with no rest," Balfour said. "That's always a good test."… Rays RHP Chris Archer worked into the sixth inning of a minor-league game, though not particularly happy with how he did during the 91-pitch outing. He went 51/3 innings and allowed three runs on six hits, including a two-run homer. "I could've definitely executed some pitches better," he said. "But just simple things I could fix, nothing too overwhelming."

Times staff writer Marc Topkin contributed to this report. Joe Smith can be reached at [email protected]

     
 
Comments
Rays’ Carlos Gomez hits two-run walkoff homer to beat Twins for series sweep

Rays’ Carlos Gomez hits two-run walkoff homer to beat Twins for series sweep

ST. PETERSBURG – Carlos Gomez was in such a horrific slump, after one of his three strikeouts Sunday, he broke his bat over his knee. Then he broke the Twins' hearts.Gomez ripped a long two-run home run to leftfield with no one out in the botto...
Updated: 25 minutes ago
For starters: Rays vs. Twins, going for the first series sweep of the season, 1:10 p.m.

For starters: Rays vs. Twins, going for the first series sweep of the season, 1:10 p.m.

Rays pitcher Yonny Chirinos is no longer just part of a bullpen day, he's the No. 4 starter and who goes to the mound at 1:10 p.m. against Phil Hughes to try to help Tampa Bay attempt to complete a three-game sweep of the Twins.Catcher Wilson Ramos g...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Rays thoughts are with ex-teammate Danny Farquhar

Rays thoughts are with ex-teammate Danny Farquhar

Members of the Rays organization sent their thoughts and prayers to former teammate Danny Farquhar, who was hospitalized Saturday night in Chicago in stable but critical condition after suffering a brain hemorrhage caused by a ruptured aneurysm.Farqu...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Rays on Sunday: 1:10 vs. Twins

Rays on Sunday: 1:10 vs. Twins

Sunday vs. Twins1:10, Tropicana FieldTV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 760-AM (Spanish)Tickets: $20-$300; available at Tropicana Field box office, raysbaseball.com, surcharge of up to $5 within five hours of game.Promotion: Mascot socks for kids 14 a...
Published: 04/22/18
Rays Journal: Team effort pays off in 10-1 win over Twins

Rays Journal: Team effort pays off in 10-1 win over Twins

ST. PETERSBURG – Let's be clear here, the Rays still have a long way to go, and a lot of ground to make up.But seeing them play like they did Saturday in beating the Twins 10-1, putting on a solid all-around show in cobbling their first three-g...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays’ 10-1 Saturday win over Twins

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays’ 10-1 Saturday win over Twins

* Is it time to take the leap and believe this is the real Blake Snell? He talked a good game this spring and pitched well in his debut, but that rough second outing raised old doubts. But a good outing in Chicago and two dominant ones on the homesta...
Published: 04/21/18
Rays Tales: How low can this team go compared to those Devil Rays days?

Rays Tales: How low can this team go compared to those Devil Rays days?

When the Rays, in the opening weekend of their 20th anniversary celebration season, brought back and honored the inaugural 1998 Devil Rays squad, it got us thinking unexpected thoughts, such as which was a better team:The first one, or the current on...
Published: 04/21/18
Rays will go forth with four starters

Rays will go forth with four starters

ST. PETERSBURG — Three weeks was enough for the Rays to officially ditch their three-man rotation plan.Starting Sunday, they will go forth with Yonny Chirinos as their fourth starter.Which is a five-star idea.The flaws in the three-man plan ...
Published: 04/21/18
For starters: Rays vs. Twins, with a familiar look

For starters: Rays vs. Twins, with a familiar look

UPDATE, 4:17: CF Kevin Kiermaier was back at the Trop, and at one point on the field with a glove on his left hand and protective wrapping on his right, the day after surgery to repair a torn UCL in his right thumb. He said the surgery went "as good ...
Published: 04/21/18
Rays will go forth with Chirinos as fourth starter

Rays will go forth with Chirinos as fourth starter

The Rays have made it official – or as official as things can be with them – in naming RHP Yonny Chirinos as the fourth starter in their rotation.The Rays had been using three, and two "Bullpen Day" slots when playing five straight days.B...
Published: 04/21/18