Monday, December 18, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Tampa Bay Rays: Carlos Peña blocked from catching popup by former NBA player Matt Geiger; fan support at home up; homerless string

Block of the game

Retired NBA center Matt Geiger, a former Countryside High star, racked up more than 3,000 rebounds in his 10-year career. And the 7-footer boxed out 1B Carlos Peña in the eighth inning against the Twins, deflecting what could have been a pop out away from Peña's outstretched glove. Peña reached into the stands along the first-base line for a Josh Willingham popup. Geiger, seated near the front row, reached, too, and the ball bounced off him. The 42-year-old was booed heavily and relocated by security; he was allowed to return to his seat if he wished, the Rays said. The ball wasn't in play. Peña quipped, "He blocked me; one of many in his career."

On deck

Today: Off

Tuesday: vs. Angels, 7:10, Sun Sports. Rays — David Price (2-1, 4.20); Angels — Ervin Santana (0-3, 6.75)

Wednesday: vs. Angels, 7:10, Sun Sports. Rays — Jeremy Hellickson (2-0, 3.26); Angels — C.J. Wilson (2-1, 2.37)

Crowd control

The Rays have drawn 175,613 through the first six home games, more than 66,000 more than they drew in the first six home games last year (108,701). It should be noted that this year's six fell on Friday through Sunday, and three of the six last year were Tuesday-Thursday. The Rays have felt the support. Manager Joe Maddon said it was "pro Ray." LHP David Price said on Twitter: "The atmosphere at the trop has been unreal this year!!!! Thank you fans keep it coming!! We feed off of all of you!!!"

Numbers of the day

.083 Batting average of opponents against Rays reliever Fernando Rodney this year (2-for-24).

43 Innings since Rays pitchers have given up a homer, dating to April 18 against Toronto, a stretch that is the team's longest since October 2010 (59⅓ innings).

Award of the day

The Rays honored C/OF Stephen Vogt with their Al Lopez Award, given to the team's top rookie in spring training. Vogt was optioned to Triple-A Durham on Friday, so Al Lopez III and Al Lopez IV presented the award to director of minor-league operations Mitch Lukevics on Vogt's behalf.

First pitch of the day

Twins great and 1964 AL rookie of the year Tony Oliva threw out the ceremonial first pitch Sunday. The eight-time All-Star was here for his induction into the Ted Williams Museum and Hitters Hall of Fame on Saturday.

Rays 6, Twins 2

Minnesota AB R H BI BB SO Avg.

Span cf 3 1 1 0 1 0 .328

J.Carroll ss 4 1 2 0 0 0 .246

Mauer c 4 0 0 0 0 1 .295

Willingham lf 2 0 0 0 1 0 .328

Morneau dh 4 0 0 0 0 1 .250

Parmelee 1b 2 0 0 0 0 1 .275

a-Doumit ph-1b 2 0 1 2 0 0 .222

Valencia 3b 4 0 0 0 0 2 .218

C.Thomas rf 4 0 1 0 0 3 .190

A.Casilla 2b 3 0 0 0 0 2 .227

Totals 32 2 5 2 2 10

Tampa Bay AB R H BI BB SO Avg.

Jennings lf 3 1 1 3 0 1 .262

Zobrist rf 3 0 0 1 0 2 .189

C.Pena 1b 2 1 0 0 2 1 .304

Longoria 3b 3 1 2 0 1 1 .339

Keppinger dh 4 0 0 0 0 0 .196

B.Upton cf 2 0 0 2 0 0 .250

S.Rodriguez ss 3 1 1 0 1 1 .214

Gimenez c 2 1 1 0 1 1 .385

E.Johnson 2b 2 1 0 0 0 1 .091

Totals 24 6 5 6 5 8

Minnesota 000 002 000— 2 5 0

Tampa Bay 002 120 01x— 6 5 1

a-singled for Parmelee in the 6th.

EC.Pena (1). LOBMin. 6, T.B. 4. 2BLongoria (6). HRJennings (2), off Liriano. RBIsDoumit 2 (8), Jennings 3 (7), Zobrist (7), B.Upton 2 (4). SBSpan (3), Longoria (1), E.Johnson (2). SFJennings, Zobrist, B.Upton 2. RISPMin. 4; T.B. 2. DPMin. 1; T.B. 1.

Minnesota IP H R ER BB SO NP ERA

Liriano L, 0-3 5 3 5 5 4 4 86 11.02

Swarzak 2 1 0 0 0 3 27 5.94

Perkins 1 1 1 1 1 1 20 8.53

Tampa Bay IP H R ER BB SO NP ERA

Niemnn W, 1-2 5L3 2 2 2 5 80 4.11

McGee H, 1L0 0 0 0 1 6 6.00

W.Davis H, 1 1L1 0 0 0 1 16 2.35

Jo.Peralta H, 3 1 1 0 0 0 1 14 11.12

Rodney 1 0 0 0 0 2 13 1.23

HBPby Liriano (E.Johnson), by Niemann (Willingham). PBMauer.T2:54. A26,507 (34,078).

How they scored

Rays third.

S.Rodriguez walked. Gimenez walked on four pitches, S.Rodriguez to second. E.Johnson was hit by a pitch, S.Rodriguez to third, Gimenez to second. Jennings hit a sacrifice fly to center fielder Span, S.Rodriguez scored, Gimenez to third. E.Johnson stole second. Zobrist hit a sacrifice fly to left fielder Willingham, Gimenez scored. C.Pena struck out. 2 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, 1 left on. Rays 2, Twins 0.

Rays fourth. Longoria doubled to left. Keppinger fouled out to right fielder C.Thomas, Longoria to third. B.Upton hit a sacrifice fly to left fielder Willingham, Longoria scored. S.Rodriguez grounded out, shortstop J.Carroll to first baseman Parmelee. 1 run, 1 hit, 0 errors, 0 left on. Rays 3, Twins 0.

Rays fifth. Gimenez singled to left. E.Johnson grounded into fielder's choice, pitcher Liriano to shortstop J.Carroll, Gimenez out. Jennings homered to left on a 0-1 count, E.Johnson scored. Zobrist struck out. C.Pena walked. Longoria struck out. 2 runs, 2 hits, 0 errors, 1 left on. Rays 5, Twins 0.

Twins sixth. Span singled to right. J.Carroll singled to center, Span to third. Mauer popped out to third baseman Longoria. Willingham was hit by a pitch, J.Carroll to second. McGee pitching. Morneau struck out. Doumit pinch-hitting for Parmelee. W.Davis pitching. Doumit singled to center, Span scored, J.Carroll scored, Willingham to second. Valencia grounded into fielder's choice, shortstop S.Rodriguez to third baseman Longoria, Willingham out, Doumit to second. 2 runs, 3 hits, 0 errors, 2 left on. Rays 5, Twins 2.

Rays eighth. Perkins pitching. C.Pena walked. On Mauer's passed ball, C.Pena to second. Longoria singled to center, C.Pena to third. Keppinger flied out to center fielder Span. B.Upton hit a sacrifice fly to right fielder C.Thomas, C.Pena scored. Longoria stole second. S.Rodriguez struck out. 1 run, 1 hit, 0 errors, 1 left on. Rays 6, Twins 2.

Comments
Rays’ trade silence likely a short-lived phenomenon

Rays’ trade silence likely a short-lived phenomenon

LAKE BUENA VISTA — There were a lot of reasons the Rays didn’t start the process of trading some of their bigger-name, higher-paid players at last week’s winter meetings.Most obvious was them not finding the just-right deal to move closer Alex Colome...
Published: 12/16/17
No big deal for Rays at winter meetings, but it’s still coming

No big deal for Rays at winter meetings, but it’s still coming

LAKE BUENA VISTA — Here’s the one thing we definitely know:Rays officials headed home from the winter meetings and back across I-4 Thursday without making deals to trade any of their bigger-name, higher-paid players. Not closer Alex Colome, not third...
Published: 12/14/17
Are Tampa Bay Rays going to make a major deal involving Alex Colome, others? Well …

Are Tampa Bay Rays going to make a major deal involving Alex Colome, others? Well …

UPDATE, 4:02: It doesn't sound like the Rays and Cardinals will be making a deal today, Derrick Goold writing for the St. Louis Post Dispatch that Cardinals execs "leave the Walt Disney Dolphin resort with good feel for what Tampa Bay would be willin...
Published: 12/14/17
Rays re-sign pitcher Jonny Venters, among 13 invited to spring training

Rays re-sign pitcher Jonny Venters, among 13 invited to spring training

LAKE BUENA VISTA — LHP Jonny Venters got as far as Triple A in September. Now the former All-Star is positioned to make it all the way back to the majors for the first time since 2012, re-signing with the Rays and headlining Thursday’s announcement o...
Published: 12/14/17
Veteran Jonny Venters, prospect Joe McCarthy among 13 Tampa Bay Rays spring invitees

Veteran Jonny Venters, prospect Joe McCarthy among 13 Tampa Bay Rays spring invitees

Inspiring veteran LHP Jonny Venters and intriguing prospect 1B/OF Joe McCarthy are among 13 players invited to major-league spring training camp with the Rays.Others coming as a result of signing minor-league contracts with invites are: RHP R.J. Alan...
Published: 12/14/17
Tampa Bay Rays lose RHP Burch Smith in Rule 5 draft, keep Nick Ciuffo

Tampa Bay Rays lose RHP Burch Smith in Rule 5 draft, keep Nick Ciuffo

The Rays lost RHP Burch Smith in Thursday's Rule 5 draft but were happy to see him get an opportunity in Kansas City.They also were pleased to hang on to C Nick Ciuffo, who was left exposed but not selected.Smith, 27, was acquired from the Padres as ...
Published: 12/14/17
Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 4

Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 4

UPDATE, 11:09: RHP Steve Cishek, who was a very effective addition to the Rays pen last season, has reunited with pitching coach Jim Hickey, agreeing to a deal with the Cubs.UPDATE, 10:40: Like most teams, Rays officials are heading out of the meetin...
Published: 12/14/17
Disney-Fox deal gives ESPN control of local cable rights to Rays, Lightning games

Disney-Fox deal gives ESPN control of local cable rights to Rays, Lightning games

As part of its deal to buy a massive package of 21st Century Fox assets, Disney will acquire Fox Sports Regional Networks, which control the local cable rights to a slew of professional teams, including the Tampa Bay Rays and Tampa Bay Lightning.Assu...
Published: 12/14/17
Tampa Bay Rays making progress in trade talks

Tampa Bay Rays making progress in trade talks

Without getting into specifics – especially the who and the where – Rays officials are for the first time talking optimistically about making a trade before the winter meetings end Thursday.Speaking at around 5:15, senior VP Chaim Bloom s...
Published: 12/13/17

Winter meetings journal: Rays trade for money to sign top international free agent

LAKE BUENA VISTA — While most of the business conducted at the meetings impacts the big-league team one way or another, the Rays are working to finalize a move they hope pays off big sometime in the 2020s.In trading Wednesday to acquire $1 million in...
Published: 12/13/17