Thursday, January 18, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays' Wil Myers enjoys being target of Fenway fans

BOSTON — Wil Myers enjoyed his return to the scene of the crime.

When the Rays were last in Boston, Myers made a name for himself with the fans after his major misplay of a David Ortiz fly ball changed the momentum, and the outcome, of the AL Division Series opener.

"I'm excited to get back here after the playoffs," Myers said. "As bad as it was last year, it was kind of a cool experience having all the Fenway faithful chanting my name. That was kind of cool. (Stinks) that it happened, but having a whole stadium chant my name was pretty cool."

Myers expected, though didn't get much of, a reaction Tuesday, as he had a pretty good day, going 2-for-3 with a single and a double (and a walk) to extend his hit streak to seven games.

The playoff experience, he admitted, stuck with him.

"To be honest it stayed with me most of the offseason, knowing that play kind of turned the series, especially the momentum," he said. "It really helped me work hard this offseason to get better. It's definitely something I learned from."

Rays manager Joe Maddon said he could see the playoff incident evolving into a positive.

"It was a very difficult moment for him last year, but he's going to be playing here for many more years to come," Maddon said. "I'd like to see him make friends with the people out there in rightfield. That would be a great thing, and that's all he needs to do. The fans in Boston are great fans; they have a lot of fun. Wil's a great kid himself. Hopefully it works out in a great way."

THE RY GUY: The Rays are getting the top-notch work behind the plate — in called games and blocking pitches — expected of C Ryan Hanigan when he was acquired from the Reds.

But what he has been doing at the plate — tied for the team lead with 15 RBIs and three home runs — seems like a nice bonus.

"He had a bad wrist last year, and we knew that," Maddon said. "And if you look at some of his previous years he had done some pretty good work. So we thought he's capable of doing that good work again offensively. So not overly surprised right now."

Plus, Hanigan benefits from the American League lineup construction.

"The thing about him hitting nine with a good leadoff hitter behind him, that's going to get him better pitches,'' Maddon said. "And that's what I think has been going on a little bit. The fact that in the NL he was probably hitting eighth a lot, with the pitcher behind him, so you might see a different subtext of pitching right there.''

ARCHED UP: RHP Chris Archer tries to handle each start the same, but he acknowledged that will be a little tougher tonight against the Red Sox.

"I have to consciously control it because I don't want the emotion of the rivalry" to affect his performance, Archer said. "Because they're our biggest rival. I don't know if we're theirs, but that's irrelevant.

"They're ours, so I try to put that on the back burner and treat it like any other game. I know that it's important. But over the course of the season when you're playing wild-card play-in games, Game 163 and all of that, every game is equally important and that's what I constantly remind myself."

DOUBLING UP: CF Desmond Jennings on Monday against the White Sox became the first big-leaguer to tag up and score from second since August 2012, and the third Rays player, joining Carl Crawford (2005) and Ben Zobrist (2010).

MISCELLANY: Though the temperature was warmer (42 degrees at first pitch to 36), Maddon said Tuesday felt much colder than Saturday in Chicago. … Zobrist on Monday logged his 200th career double, and did so with his 21st two-double game since 2010, most in the majors over that span.

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