Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Smyly strong again as Rays beat Padres

ST. PETERSBURG — LHP Drew Smyly continued his run of strong starts Monday when he allowed the Padres one hit over seven innings in the Rays' 8-2 victory.

It was the second time in three starts that Smyly pitched seven innings. He has pitched at least six and allowed two or fewer runs in each of his past five. He is 3-0 with a 2.25 ERA during that streak.

The only hit he allowed Monday was DH Alexei Ramirez's first-inning home run.

"This game is full of streaks, hitting and pitching," Smyly said. "You just got to ride out the good streaks and limit the bad ones. I feel good right now, making quality pitches. I'm going to try and ride it out to the end of the season."

2B Logan Forsythe gave the Rays the lead with a two-run homer in the second inning, and CF Kevin Kiermaier capped a five-run eighth with a three-run homer.

Kiermaier extended his hitting streak to six games with a first-inning single. He also stole a pair of bases, giving him a team-high 12 with six of those since July 29.

In 12 games since moving to the No. 2 spot in the order, Kiermaier is batting .298 with a .389 on-base percentage, three doubles, two home runs and seven RBIs.

"I'm just trying to have as many quality at-bats as possible and get on base for our big boys to drive me in," Kiermaier said.

MORRISON RETURNS AS DH: Manager Kevin Cash said he will "mix and match" at first base, but Logan Morrison returned from the disabled list and found himself used as the DH while Brad Miller continued to start at first base, Morrison's old position.

Morrison started 72 games at first before going on the DL with a strained right forearm. Since then, the Rays traded for Matt Duffy and made him the shortstop while shifting Miller from short to first.

"I understand it," Morrison said. "It's part of the game, so they want to see what he can do over there. They want to see what Duff can do at short. I'm good with it. I understand it. I'm looking forward to filling the DH spot."

To make room for Morrison, the Rays optioned RHP Dylan Floro to Triple-A Durham.

INJURY UPDATES: LHP Enny Romero (back strain) threw a bullpen Monday and is expected to begin his minor-league rehab this week. … RHP Alex Cobb (Tommy John surgery) is scheduled to make his sixth rehab start tonight with Durham, while RHP Chase Whitley (Tommy John) is scheduled to make his sixth at Class A Charlotte.

GUEST OF HONOR: Corporal Ret. Michael Jernigan of St. Petersburg was a guest of the team and threw out the ceremonial first pitch. A third-generation Marine, Jernigan was serving in Iraq in 2004 when his Humvee was struck by an improvised explosive device. He lost sight in both eyes and suffered a crushed cranium and trauma to his right hand and left knee. Today, he serves as a motivational speaker and is a representative for Southeastern Guide Dogs' "Paws for Patriots" program.

NOTEWORTHY: 3B Evan Longoria should tie Carl Crawford's franchise record for games played at 1,234 tonight. … Forsythe homered in consecutive games for the second time in his past eight games. … The Rays (48-69) are 14-14 since the All-Star break despite outscoring their opponents by 38 runs.

Comments
Blake Snell settles down after giving up homer in All-Star Game

Blake Snell settles down after giving up homer in All-Star Game

WASHINGTON — Blake Snell's first All-Star experience started with, well, a bang.The first pitch the Rays left-hander threw, a 98 mph fastball, was knocked over the leftfield wall by Cubs catcher Willson Contreras.Snell seemed a bit unsettled in...
Updated: 2 hours ago
MLB commissioner Manfred confident Rays owner is ‘going to get’ stadium deal done

MLB commissioner Manfred confident Rays owner is ‘going to get’ stadium deal done

WASHINGTON – Acknowledging both the challenges and urgency to work out a public-private financing plan, Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred on Tuesday expressed extreme confidence in Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg to make a de...
Updated: 2 hours ago
All-Star Game journal: Injured Wilson Ramos enjoys experience

All-Star Game journal: Injured Wilson Ramos enjoys experience

WASHINGTON — A strained hamstring kept Rays C Wilson Ramos from playing in Tuesday's All-Star Game, but not enjoying the experience of being there.Ramos, who played seven seasons with the Nationals, seemed to be cheered at every turn. Fans did ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Rays Blake Snell ready for All-Star turn

Rays Blake Snell ready for All-Star turn

Rays LHP Blake Snell is ready for his first All-Star opportunity tonight, expected to pitch the third and possibly the fourth inning."I'm excited," he said on the field before the AL batting practice. "It's going to be fun. I've been looking forward ...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Rays’ Blake Snell now in a starring role

Rays’ Blake Snell now in a starring role

WASHINGTON — Blake Snell first got the feeling after arriving at the All-Star hotel late Sunday night. He'd shared the first-class cabin on the Delta flight from Minneapolis with Rays teammate Wilson Ramos plus manager Kevin Cash and his wife, ...
Published: 07/16/18
Updated: 07/17/18
Bryce Harper wins All-Star home run derby

Bryce Harper wins All-Star home run derby

WASHINGTON — Nationals star Bryce Harper has not had a lot to enjoy in his last season before free agency, struggling — at least by his usual standards — with a .214 average and other deficiencies in his game.Monday turned out to be...
Published: 07/16/18
Updated: 07/17/18
Rays journal: Some warn that pitching strategy comes at a price

Rays journal: Some warn that pitching strategy comes at a price

WASHINGTON — The success the Rays have had during two months of using a game opener followed by a relieving starter seems to have tamed some of the criticism of the unusual plan.Until Arizona ace Zack Greinke, a Cy Young award winner and five-t...
Published: 07/16/18
Tune into the only All Star Game that matters

Tune into the only All Star Game that matters

Summer was for beach days and watermelons and shorty pajamas and fighting with my brother over who gets to sleep in front of the fan.And summer was for the MLB All-Star Game.They'll hold the Midsummer Classic on Tuesday night at Washington's National...
Published: 07/16/18
Live from Washington: Rays Blake Snell was under consideration for All-Star start

Live from Washington: Rays Blake Snell was under consideration for All-Star start

UPDATE, 2:33: AL manager A.J. Hinch said  Snell, even though he wasn't named to team until Friday, was in the mix to start the game, that he was "not too far behind," though Boston's Chris Sale was chosen.  Snell is likely to be 3rd pi...
Published: 07/16/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Rays conclude surprising first half of season

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Rays conclude surprising first half of season

A walkoff loss on Sunday is the Rays' third in four games to the Twins and brings the first half of the season to a close. The team enters the All-Star break a surprising two games over .500 but will be without All-Star catcher Wilson Ramos for ...
Published: 07/16/18