BOSTON — LHP Drew Smyly is looking like nothing was ever wrong with his shoulder.
Certainly every other outing.
Continuing a pattern of alternating good and not-so-good starts, Smyly was sharp in taking a shutout into the seventh in the Rays' 6-2 win over Boston on Wednesday, striking out seven. In eight starts after a three-plus months DL stint, Smyly is 4-1 with a 3.47 ERA.
"It takes a little bit of time for a guy that had much time off with an injury," manager Kevin Cash said. "I don't think it's fair to judge him on his first, second start back. Once he got comfortable out there, you definitely see what everybody was talking about at the end of the year last year."
After former Red Sox fan favorite Daniel Nava gave the Rays a 1-0 lead in the seventh, Smyly got into trouble with a walk and a bunt to start the bottom half, but rookie RH reliever Andrew Bellatti rescued him. "Two biggest outs of the game," Smyly said.
Nava, who singled in Kevin Kiermaier after he stole two bases, said: "I wasn't out for revenge or anything like that. I just wanted to come up, a big spot in the game, and give us a lead, and fortunately that happened."
ARCHER-PRICE ON TAP: The Rays made a change to their rotation, inserting RHP Matt Andriese to start Sunday and bumping LHP Matt Moore to Tuesday vs. Miami.
The Blue Jays made a bigger one, setting up a marquee matchup Saturday afternoon in Toronto as current Rays ace Chris Archer will face off with former Rays ace David Price in a pairing of student and mentor. The game is not slated to be televised by Sun Sports.
The Rays had been talking about starting RHP Nathan Karns against Toronto, but when he was shut down with forearm tightness, they turned to Andriese. The shift allows the Rays to throw a third righty at a Blue Jays lineup packed with right-handed sluggers, though Cash said it was more about getting two extra days' rest for Moore, whom Cash said was feeling great.
NO JAKING: LHP Jake McGee is set to rejoin the bullpen Friday after giving his surgically repaired left knee a final test in 30-pitch simulated inning Wednesday. "It took him a little bit to get going with his command, but his last 10 pitches were outstanding," Cash said. "That will be a tremendous addition. We've definitely missed him."
DUGOUT TECH: The Rays are one of the teams taking advantage of an MLB program to experiment with iPads in the dugout during games. The iPads are loaded with the same statistics, matchup histories, spray charts and scouting information the Rays have on paper and in notebooks. To prevent teams from using them to communicate electronically, which is not allowed, the wifi function is disabled and they are in locked metal cases, with a different set at each stadium.
MEDICAL MATTERS: Though Cash said they are going to be very cautious in handling C Curt Casali's return from a strained left hamstring to avoid a setback that could impact offseason workouts, Casali said he is determined to get back. He has been able to catch and hit but has yet to run the bases. "I'm going to keep fighting until the last day of the season to break into the lineup again," he said. … C J.P. Arencibia returned to the lineup despite a painful strain in his left hand, deciding he wasn't going to heal until after the season anyway so he wanted to do what he could to help the team. … Cash said Karns "will be on very much a normal program" with his throwing.
MISCELLANY: RHP Brad Boxberger got the final out for his 37th save. … Cash said he understood the umpires ejecting Red Sox RHP Jean Machi for throwing a pitch near Steven Souza Jr.'s head but did not think it was intentional. … The season series with the Sox is 9-9 heading into tonight's finale. … SS Asdrubal Cabrera logged his 100th career homer. … 2B Logan Forsythe, the team's most consistent offensive player, got the night off as Nick Franklin got a rare start.