Saturday, February 24, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Slumping Smyly stays optimistic heading into next Rays start

OAKLAND, Calif. — LHP Drew Smyly takes the mound tonight for Rays with a 10-game winless streak, the second most losses (11) in the American League, a 5.64 ERA that is the highest in the majors for any pitcher with more than 90 innings.

And the sincere belief he can pitch his way out of this miserable skid.

"I've been slumping," Smyly said. "It's been a rough stretch for me. I'm not getting the results that I want. I've not been doing a good job of keeping my team in the game.

"But I feel healthy. There's a lot of positives I can draw on besides just dwelling on the negative results. When I'm making good pitches I still get a lot of swing-and-misses. I'm still getting strikeouts. I have good control. I'm not going out and walking people all over even there have been glimpses or innings where I've been pitching behind in the count and that makes it hard.

"But I haven't lost confidence in myself. And it does help knowing the team still has confidence in me. ... I still have faith I'll be able to be the pitcher I was. I haven't lost capabilities. The stuff is still there, the deception is still there. I've got to pitch better.'

Rays manager Kevin Cash said the biggest issue is inconsistency with off-speed pitches,, and that the team remains confident in Smyly with no plans to pull him from the rotation.

ON THE MEND: 1B Logan Morrison said his right forearm/wrist was feeling better after a Thursday night cortisone shot and a diagnosis of tendinitis. Cash said they hope he will be available tonight at least to pinch hit.

HIT MACHINE: INF Tim Beckham started a third straight game Friday as due to his record offensive showing.

"Beck deserved and has earned the right to be in the lineup," Cash said. "What he's done at the plate has been pretty special here the last two days."

Beckham tied two team records when he got hits his first two times up Thursday, matching Aubrey Huff (2004) and Ty Wigginton (2007) with hits in eight straight at-bats, and B.J. Upton (2011) and Logan Forsythe (2015) by reaching base in nine straight plate appearances.

Beckham went 1-for-5 Friday and is now 9-for-17 since the All-Star break.

PAYBACK TIME: RHP Chris Archer enjoyed visiting with and particularly answering questions from kids in the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities program at the nearby Richmond YMCA on Friday morning. "It's not about me, it's about how much satisfaction I get," Archer said. "It's about the potential impact I could have on somebody."

REHAB REPORT: RHP Brad Boxberger (oblique) is slated to make his third rehab appearance tonight for the Class A Stone Crabs in Port Charlotte, and if goes well could rejoin the Rays shortly. … RHP Alex Cobb (Tommy John surgery) is slated to throw live batting practice today in Port Charlotte, with a return to minor-league game action potentially next. …OF Desmond Jennings (hamstring) is expected to hit against Cobb. … RHP Chase Whitley (Tommy John surgery) will make his second rehab appearance on Sunday in Port Charlotte.

ABOUT THURSDAY NIGHT: LHP Matt Moore continued his impressive run, and enhanced his trade value, working a solid seven innings in the 7-3 win His 2.68 ERA since June 12 is second best in the AL over that span. … DH Corey Dickerson logged his third straight multi-hit game, including his first homer since June 24, snapping a season-long 67 at-bat drought. … RHP Alex Colome converted his 21st straight save, one shy of RHP Fernando Rodney's record in 2012. That was Colome's second save in 36 days.

MISCELLANY: Dickerson was 1-for-4 and is now 9-for-his-last-16. ... Cash said they plan on getting OF Oswaldo Arcia "some more routine playing time going forward." … The Rays lost some relief depth when RHP Ryan Garton went on the DL at Triple-A Durham. Also, INF Nick Franklin did not sustain any fractures from being hit on the hand Thursday.

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