Sunday, May 20, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays Tales: Looking back at memorable September moments for the Tampa Bay Rays

Among the stock phrases and cliched answers going into each recent season, Rays officials say their primary goal is to play meaningful games in September. • Well, here they go again. • As the Rays return home to open an important — though not quite yet critical — series with the Yankees on Monday afternoon, they are set up for another September to remember, or to quickly forget.

Five September moments

Dan Johnson Game

Sept. 9, 2008: Dan Johnson came off the plane, out of the cab, onto the bench and into Rays history, with a two-run ninth-inning pinch-hit homer that staggered the Red Sox, allowing the Rays to go on to a critical win that propelled them to their first division title.

Into October

Sept. 20, 2008: Anyone who was there can still see Evan Longoria drifting over toward the seats and clutching Joe Mauer's foul popup, clinching the first playoff berth in Rays franchise history and setting off a party 11 years in the making. (Trivia question: Who was on the mound for the Rays? Answer below)

Walking Off

Sept. 13, 2010: With Carl Crawford ejected for arguing a ninth-inning strike call, rookie INF Reid Brignac takes his spot in the order and leads off the ninth with a walkoff homer that gives the Rays a 1-0 win over the Yankees and pushes them back into first place.

Threes Are Wild

Sept. 27, 2011: Game 162 would never have mattered if the Rays didn't win Game 161, and all it took was a sixth-inning triple play started by Evan Longoria to keep the Yankees' lead at one then a three-run homer by Matt Joyce in the seventh, off ex-Ray Rafael Soriano, to give them a 5-3 win.

(Trivia answer: Trever Miller)

Wanna make a date?

Sept. 3-5: Yankees at Rays

6-9: Rangers at Rays; Yankees at Orioles

11-13: Rays at Orioles; Tigers at White Sox

14-16: Rays at Yankees

17-20: Red Sox at Rays

21-23: Blue Jays at Rays; A's at Yanks

25-26: Rays at Red Sox

27-30: Rays at White Sox

Oct. 1-3: Orioles at Rays*

* Adopted as part of September.

For comparison's sake

Where the Rays stand, and have stood, at this point over the past five seasons, and where they finished in the standings:

On Sept. 2 Finish

Year W-L GB W-L GB

2008 84-51 +5 97-65 +2*

2009 71-60 -12 84-78 -19

2010 82-51 -1 96-66 +1*

2011 74-62 -9 91-71 -6

2012 72-61 -41/2??-?? ?

* won AL East; won AL wild card

Rays rumblings

Clubhouse chatter is that Sean Rodriguez's hand-breaking locker punch in Durham was indeed over something frivolous: the song being played after the game in the locker room. … A positive of the new ESPN TV deal is the potential of an extra $10 million per team; a negative is an increase in how often they can show the Yankees and Red Sox (okay, or whomever) on Sunday nights. … Suspended 2010 top pick Josh Sale's statement explaining his positive drug test (methamphetamine, amphetamine) was a bit convoluted and contradictory: He "did not take any banned substance" but dropped his appeal because he "was unable to uncover enough evidence" of his innocence but now will try to "regain the trust of the Rays' organization and their fans." … Double-A Montgomery radio man Joe Davis is headed to ESPN. … The manager of the Cardinals' Palm Beach team that threw a perfect game last week against the Rays' Class A Charlotte team is Johnny Rodriguez, Sean's father.

Got a minute? Desmond Jennings

Something you're scared of? Snakes. All of 'em.

Late-night snack? Bright Crawlers candy, Nutter Butter (cookies), Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Cap'n Crunch (cereal).

Karaoke song if you had to? I dunno. I've tried that before and I haven't made it through a whole song yet.

Favorite TV show? Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

Celebrity crush? Zoe Saldana (Avatar, Star Trek).

Game 162

Sept. 28, 2011: Evan Longoria's walkoff homer in the 12th inning clinched the wild card for the Rays and capped what many consider the greatest day of regular-season play in MLB history, completing two stunning comebacks, as the Rays were down 7-0 in the eighth inning that night and were nine games out of a playoff spot Sept. 3. Before Longoria hit that, he hit a three-run homer to bring the Rays within one, and then in the ninth, down to his last strike, Dan Johnson delivered a pinch-hit homer to tie it.

Comments
Rays hang on to beat Angels 5-3 behind Robertson slam, get back to .500

Rays hang on to beat Angels 5-3 behind Robertson slam, get back to .500

ANAHEIM, Calif. – Playing .500 ball is obviously no goal, and the Rays certainly know that.But given where they came from, that terrible 1-8 start that oozed into 3-12 and 4-13, climbing back to the respectability of .500 would be an accomplish...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Rays journal: New pitching plan worked so well Romo starts again Sunday

Rays journal: New pitching plan worked so well Romo starts again Sunday

ANAHEIM, Calif. — The first part of the Rays' new and unusual pitching plan worked so well Saturday, as game "opener" RHP Sergio Romo struck out the first three Angels hitters, that the Rays will do it again on Sunday.That's right. Romo will st...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Rays are seeing what itís like to have missed the Sho

Rays are seeing what itís like to have missed the Sho

ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Rays badly wanted Shohei Ohtani for themselves.From execs to interns, they invested extensive time and money preparing their bid in November, touting advantages they figured would play to both his intense desire to re...
Updated: 11 hours ago
For starters: Rays at Angels, with Romo on the mound for all to see

For starters: Rays at Angels, with Romo on the mound for all to see

UPDATE, 6:57: And here is the Angels lineup, with Upton:Cozart 3bTrout cfUpton lfPujols dhSimmons ssKinsler 2bMarte 1bCalhoun rfMaldonado cHeaney pUPDATE, 6:50: Eovaldi came through his Friday rehab start will but will make one more on Wednesday for ...
Published: 05/19/18
Rays Tales: How California dreaminí became reality

Rays Tales: How California dreaminí became reality

ANAHEIM, Calif. —  They're grown men now, making piles of money and getting treated like kings, lavished with top-shelf equipment, designer clothes and first-class accommodations. But it wasn't too long ago that some of the Rays were ...
Published: 05/19/18
Rays put Adeiny Hechavarria on DL, recall RHP Ryne Stanek

Rays put Adeiny Hechavarria on DL, recall RHP Ryne Stanek

The Rays acknowledged what seemed obvious and placed SS Adeiny Hechavarria on the 10-day DL Saturday due to the right hamstring strain he sustained on Thursday.And to take place his place on the roster, they not only didn't call up top prospect INF W...
Published: 05/19/18
Rays make it five in a row as Ramos leads way past Angels

Rays make it five in a row as Ramos leads way past Angels

ANAHEIM, Calif. – A little frustrated by an extended skid that followed his streak of hitting in 18 straight games, and a bit irritated over some of the bad swings he had taken, catcher Wilson Ramos went to the cage before Friday's game seeking...
Published: 05/19/18
Rays journal: Good and bad injury news

Rays journal: Good and bad injury news

ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Rays are planning to have 3B Matt Duffy back in the lineup Saturday for the first time since he left Tuesday's game with right hamstring tightness.Which will be good for them since they seem set to be headed toward pl...
Published: 05/18/18
Updated: 05/19/18
Raysí new pitching plan: Sergio Romoís first career start

Raysí new pitching plan: Sergio Romoís first career start

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Your Rays are at it again.In a plan being hailed as either genius or idiotic, and nary much in between, they are plotting to do yet something else different and unusual with their pitching for Saturday's game against the Angel...
Published: 05/18/18
For starters: Rays at Angels, with Blake Snell starting, Adeiny Hechavarria on bench not DL

For starters: Rays at Angels, with Blake Snell starting, Adeiny Hechavarria on bench not DL

UPDATE, 7:54: 3B Matt Duffy said his sore right hamstring is feeling better and assuming he can run the bases today with no unexpected issues he is on track to return to the lineup on Saturday, though potentially as the DH. … That's helpful for...
Published: 05/18/18