Thursday, April 19, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Tampa Bay Rays' Fernando Rodney gives up a run but keeps saves streak alive

ST. PETERSBURG — RHP Fernando Rodney most likely was going to give up a run again at some point this season.

Having not allowed one since June 14, and having posted a team relief record-tying 22 scoreless innings since then, he made it at times seem unlikely, but it happened Wednesday when David Cooper looped a one-out opposite-field fly ball that hit the top of the low wall in the leftfield corner and bounced over.

"What are you going to do,'' manager Joe Maddon said. "That does not detract in any way, shape or form from Fernando. He was fantastic again.''

Rodney had to settle for his major league-leading 34th save (in 35 chances) and a share of the team record in converting 19 straight, matching Roberto Hernandez (1999) and Rafael Soriano (2010).

He did lose the chance to match James Shields' overall team record of 23 scoreless innings and saw his ERA rise to 0.85.

Setup man Joel Peralta struck out the side and has fanned 20 of his past 40 batters with a 0.77 ERA over his past 12 outings.

LONGO UPDATE: Evan Longoria, who went 0-for-4, including three strikeouts, as the DH in his second game back off the disabled list, may not be in the lineup for today's matinee.

Maddon said his initial thought was to rest Longoria for a day game after a night game — mindful to not "re-break him" — and he said after Wednesday's game he would talk to Longoria and wait until the morning to decide. Of note in the discussion: Longoria is 4-for-6 with three homers off scheduled starter Henderson Alvarez.

Longoria jogged to first after hitting a run-scoring ground ball the Jays easily turned into a double play, and Maddon said that was exactly what Longoria — who missed 85 games with a hamstring issue — should do: "That's all I want.''

REHAB REPORT: RHP Jeff Niemann worked 22/3 innings for Class A Charlotte in the first of four scheduled rehab starts, allowing a run on three hits and a walk, striking out three, throwing 41 pitches. Niemann, out since mid May with a broken right leg, is targeted for a late August return. Maddon said it was unlikely they would go then to a six-man rotation.

DH Luke Scott, recovering from a mild oblique strain, felt good after another batting practice session but isn't quite ready for a rehab assignment yet, as today he will work out at the Trop taking swings at high-velocity pitches from a machine. Maddon said Scott shouldn't need a long rehab assignment, maybe through the weekend. "Every time he hits he reports good, but there's still some residual soreness the next day so you'd really like for that to be gone," Maddon said.

SAY WHAT: INF Sean Rodriguez had a reason for giving Jays RHP Carlos Villanueva a long look after a sixth-inning strikeout. "He was screaming after he struck me out,'' Rodriguez said. "I was just curious why. If it was a big moment I'd understand that. So I guess getting me out is a big moment.''

DAY TRIPPER: Some pitchers don't like their routines to be disrupted by matinees, but LHP Matt Moore said he welcomes today's 1:10 p.m. start.

"It seems like by the time I wake up around 9:30 and get some breakfast, it's time to come over here and get ready, which is nice because you don't have all that in between fluff time where you're trying to figure out what you want to do and you have all day to think about the squad you're going to face," he said.

The numbers don't back him up, however, as Moore is 1-4, 4.61 in nine day games and 8-3, 3.19 in 15 night games.

MISCELLANY: Top 2012 draft pick Richie Shaffer hit his first pro homer and top 2011 pick RHP Taylor Guerrieri got his first pro win for short-season Class A Hudson Valley. … J.B. Long, who did the Rays reports for MLB Network, left for a gig with the Pac 12 Networks. … Friday is the first of eight Rays games moved to 970-AM radio to make way for Bucs broadcasts on flagship 620-AM.

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