Sunday, April 22, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays outfielders rob Padres of extra bases

ST. PETERSBURG — CF Sam Fuld is known for making highlight-reel catches the past few years, helping him earn the moniker, "The Legend of Sam Fuld."

But Fuld admitted that Sunday's leaping catch at the wall in the first inning of Sunday's 4-2 win over the Padres was "up there" with his best.

With one out, Padres RF Will Venable hit a long drive to deep right-center, but Fuld raced through the gap to the track, timed his jump perfectly and snagged the ball at the top of the wall.

"It was fun," Fuld said. "I knew it was going to be close right off the bat. I knew I had a long way to go. … It's nice to get a good (catch), probably, the first really good one I've had all year."

The Rays had other ways to describe the play.

"That was unbelievable," OF Matt Joyce said. "Everybody knows Sam's a legend out there with the glove and flashing some leather."

RF Sean Rodriguez, who had a "front-row seat," called the catch "sick."

"It was awesome," Rodriguez said.

Fuld was making his third straight start in center, taking the place of injured CF Desmond Jennings (sore groin), whom manager Joe Maddon said is "almost 100 percent sure" will return Tuesday against the Red Sox. Jennings said they're just being cautious.

"My game is my legs," he said. "And I don't want to do something that could affect me for two months instead of for two days."

Fuld grew up playing center — in high school, college and the minors — and said it was "sort of nostalgic" being out there a few days in a row.

"He's a fearless guy," Maddon said. "He goes to the wall as well as anybody that I've ever had as a manager, as a coach. He's got the propensity for making the big play on defense."

MAYS STYLE: Maddon said Joyce's over-the-shoulder grab in right in the ninth was equally as good as Fuld's.

Joyce, who entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the eighth, said that with CF Chris Denorfia up against closer Fernando Rodney, he wasn't expecting a ball over his head. Joyce moved in a little bit, and Denorfia's fly ball carried over his head.

Joyce said he has had a couple of similar grabs in the past.

"I think that's, for me, my favorite play," Joyce said. "It's fun. It kind of reminds you of a football player catching a touchdown in the end zone. The crowd gets into it and enjoys it. Obviously I don't plan to catch it that way, but it just worked out that way."

CALLING OUT: Maddon, the eternal optimist, rarely calls out a player publicly. But Maddon believes it's always better to do so after a win, and following Saturday's 8-7 walkoff victory over the Padres, he was critical of RHP Jeremy Hellickson for his struggles in holding a lead.

Maddon said he was "way too emotional" to address the issue with Hellickson after Saturday night's game, but they chatted Sunday morning. Maddon said Hellickson took it "tremendously."

"Moving forward, it's all part of the accountability component," Maddon said. "Everybody has got to understand, sometimes you can paint a rosy picture. Other times you just got to paint a picture."

IN A GROOVE: RHP Roberto Hernandez, who picked up the win Sunday, has pitched to a 2.25 ERA over his last two starts, and likes where he's at. "I feel very, very comfortable," Hernandez said. "Keeping the ball down, throwing strikes, ground balls. I'm very, very happy."

miscellany: 1B James Loney, who hit a solo homer in the eighth, has homered in consecutive games for the 10th time in his career. … 3B/DH Evan Longoria has reached base safely at least twice in each of his last seven games, the first time he has done that in his career.

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: 5 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: 5 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: 10 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...
Updated: 11 hours ago
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: 5 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