Saturday, January 20, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Drew Smyly excels as Rays beat Rangers

ARLINGTON, Texas — David who?

Nah, David Price did too many great things for the Rays for too long to go smart aleck and ask that question.

But after a dazzlingly impressive performance by his replacement in Monday's 7-0 win over Texas, there is a more relevant one:

Drew who?

It's Drew Smyly — Todd Andrew Smyly, actually — and he showed why the Rays wanted him in the deal that sent Price to Detroit, allowing only three hits while reaching career highs with 7⅔ innings and 116 pitches.

"He was so good," manager Joe Maddon said. "He was in command of everything. He threw it exactly where he wanted. He had himself a fabulous night."

The 25-year-old lefty was on the mark from the start, working well again with catcher Curt Casali, allowing one hit through the first six innings — and a kind of questionable one at that, a bunt in the third that Smyly fielded but tossed past first.

But before there could be much discussion over whether the official scorer would revisit the call, Adrian Beltre lined a ball by shortstop Yunel Escobar for a clean single. Rougned Odor later dropped a ball in front of diving centerfielder Desmond Jennings.

Still, Smyly sizzled, walking three, striking out nine.

"Today was just one of those days when I really felt good and had everything working,'' Smyly said.

It was a pretty good night overall for the Rays, who won for the fourth time in five games to improve to 58-60 and move within six games of the American League's second wild card. They also tied a franchise record by allowing three runs or fewer for the seventh straight game.

Six of their seven runs came with two outs. Eight starters (all but Casali) had hits, including a double and a triple by Cole Figueroa. Five different players drove in runs. The only negative was that outfielder Kevin Kiermaier left due to tightness in his back.

After leaving two men on in the first, the Rays converted for three runs in the second.

The rally started with a Figueroa walk and an Escobar single, then a break when Casali dropped a bunt and Rangers starter Colby Lewis threw wildly past third, allowing Figueroa to score and Escobar to reach third.

After Kiermaier struck out and Jennings' attempted safety squeeze failed when Escobar was thrown out at the plate (and the call withstood a crew chief review of catcher Robinson Chirinos, the ex-Ray, blocking the plate), the Rays added on. Ben Zobrist walked to load the bases, then Matt Joyce, after getting a break on an 0-and-2 pitch that looked like strike three, laced a single to right to make it 3-0, and built on from there.

"Two-out knocks are huge,'' Joyce said.

Maddon said what impressed him most about Smyly was his strike-throwing, 71 of the 116 pitches. Smyly said he was a little tired afterward but welcomed the chance to show what he could do.

"I was feeling great in the moment,'' he said. "I'm glad they let me keep going.''

Contact Marc Topkin at [email protected]. Follow @TBTimes_Rays.

 
Comments
Why free agency hasnít turned out fun (yet) for ex-Rays pitcher Alex Cobb

Why free agency hasnít turned out fun (yet) for ex-Rays pitcher Alex Cobb

RHP Alex Cobb never expected to be going into late January without knowing where he was going for spring training.The longtime Ray's first foray into free agency hasn't gone as planned, much like the 150-plus others waiting for something to give in a...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Rays infielder Daniel Robertson lends a hand to help families dealing with cancer

Rays infielder Daniel Robertson lends a hand to help families dealing with cancer

Rays infielder Daniel Robertson has much to be excited about heading into his second season in the majors.But before packing for spring training, he took some time last weekend to provide help for families needing assistance in dealing with cancer.Hi...
Published: 01/19/18
Ex-Rays star Longoria dons Giants jersey, looks forward to full-stadium environment in San Francisco

Ex-Rays star Longoria dons Giants jersey, looks forward to full-stadium environment in San Francisco

Longtime Rays star Evan Longoria was formally introduced in San Francisco today, adding the visual of him pulling on his new Giants jersey, switching to No. 10 since 3 is retired.Longoria said he welcomed the chance to play on a contending team stock...
Published: 01/19/18
What do Rays look like now? What will they look like March 29?

What do Rays look like now? What will they look like March 29?

ST. PETERSBURG — Since entering an off-season planning major change and pledging to be open to "anything and everything,'' the Rays have made a few minor moves and one massive one in trading franchise cornerstone Evan Longoria to San Francisco....
Published: 01/19/18
Reminder: Rays spring tickets go on sale today at 10 a.m.

Reminder: Rays spring tickets go on sale today at 10 a.m.

The Rays will put single game tickets for spring training home games on sale today at 10 a.m. via raysbaseball.com.The Rays are playing 14 home games in Port Charlotte, starting with the Feb. 23 opener vs. Pittsburgh. Tickets will be available at the...
Published: 01/19/18
Tampa Bay Rays 2018 spring training schedule

Tampa Bay Rays 2018 spring training schedule

Charlotte Sports Park, 2300 El Jobean Rd., Port Charlotte, 33948Get tickets here: (941) 206-4487Pitchers report: Feb. 13. Squad reports: Feb. 19TEAM SCHEDULE(games at 1:05 unless noted)(ss - split squad)Feb 23 at Orioles (ss) (Sarasota)Feb 23 PIRATE...
Published: 01/19/18
Ex-Phillies, Indians manager Charlie Manuel to get Ted Williams Museum award

Ex-Phillies, Indians manager Charlie Manuel to get Ted Williams Museum award

Former Phillies and Indians manager Charlie Manuel will receive the Ted Williams Lifetime Achievement Award on Feb. 10 in Clearwater.The honor is bestowed by the Ted Williams Museum at its annual Hitters Hall of Fame induction, moving this year from ...
Published: 01/19/18
Former Rays OF Matt Joyce to hold annual charity baseball camp at North Brandon complex

Former Rays OF Matt Joyce to hold annual charity baseball camp at North Brandon complex

Armwood High product Matt Joyce, the current A's and former Rays outfielder, hosts his ninth annual Sweet Swingin' charity baseball camp for kids 6-12 on Sunday at the North Brandon youth baseball complex (2929 S Kingsway Rd, Seffner).Registration st...
Published: 01/18/18
Rays spring tickets go on sale Friday

Rays spring tickets go on sale Friday

The Rays will put single game tickets for spring training home games on sale Friday at 10 a.m. via raysbaseball.com.The Rays are playing 14 home games in Port Charlotte, starting with the Feb. 23 opener vs. Pittsburgh. Tickets will be available at th...
Published: 01/17/18
A look at Rays 40-man roster with spring training starting in less than a month

A look at Rays 40-man roster with spring training starting in less than a month

With the start of spring training now less than a month away, here is what the Rays roster looks like, with the most glaring hole at first base, which at this point seems likely to be manned by Brad Miller, and some questions about the pitching staff...
Published: 01/17/18