Sunday, June 24, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Tampa Bay Rays rookie Matt Moore prefers aftermath of latest start

ST. PETERSBURG — As rookie LHP Matt Moore watched Brandon Allen's winning homer sail over the fence, he immediately felt better about his day because, unlike his first three outings, at least the Rays didn't lose.

"I was kind of hoping we weren't going to be 0-4 after my starts," Moore said after Thursday's 4-3 victory over the Angels.

Actually, Moore saw lots of reason for optimism after what was the most impressive of his starts. He allowed only a walk through a dazzling first four innings and three runs (two earned) overall for his 5⅔.

"Overall, I felt great," Moore said. "I felt like the timing of all my stuff was better. I wasn't thinking about mechanics or mechanisms or all that stuff that sometimes you get to think about. It was just getting down the hill and going right at them. That made all my pitches sharper and the quality of them better."

Manager Joe Maddon was thoroughly impressed, saying Moore looked "more like what we saw at the end of last season." He was totally unconcerned that their prized rookie has a 4.68 ERA and is winless through his first four starts, the longest a Rays starter has gone without a victory since Jason Hammel in 2007.

"If he keeps pitching like that, honestly, the (Johnny Carson) Carnac thing, I can see many wins in his future," Maddon said.

POWER RANGERS: The Rays are quite familiar with the Rangers, who ended their last two seasons in the playoffs and are off to a majors-best start this season.

"They're off to a hot start for sure," said RHP James Shields, who starts tonight's opener. "That's one team you just can't take lightly. You've got to go out there and pitch your game, stay aggressive and really make your pitches. If you make mistakes, they're going to hurt you."

Maddon heaped even more praise: "They've been tough versus us. They're a very good ballclub. They have everything. They have everything they need. There's no weakness within that group, so it's going to be an interesting three-game series this early in the year."

THE DO RUN-RUN: The Rays uncharacteristically made two baserunning mistakes. 2B Ben Zobrist was picked off second base in the first inning, and birthday boy Sean Rodriguez, who turned 27, was caught rounding third too wide after a force at second. Maddon acknowledged they were "significant mistakes," saying the Angels made a good play on Rodriguez and Zobrist, usually a top-notch baserunner, made a mistake "you won't see again, I think, until 2028."

ALBERT WHO? The Rays did a strong job against Angels 1B Albert Pujols, holding him to 1-for-10 in the series. Though Pujols did end his career-worst 0-for-21 skid with a sixth-inning single, his season-starting homerless streak reached 75 at-bats. "We attacked him really well," Maddon said.

TO THE MATT: OF Matt Joyce continued his torrid start with a double and a triple, giving him seven extra-base hits in his past seven games and hits in 10 of the past 12 for a .322 average. "I think a lot of things are happening with me," he said. "I feel like I'm getting more confident, I'm learning a lot, and I'm growing."

LEGAL MATTER: A decision was postponed until Monday on reducing the $1.015 million bail for minor-league RHP Matt Bush, who remains in the Charlotte County jail facing seven charges from a March 22 DUI hit-and-run arrest. The delay was due to a health issue with the prosecutor.

MISCELLANY: Several Rays had issues with plate umpire Tim Timmons' strike zone, which Maddon used one of his favorite words to describe: "amorphic." … The Rays are a majors-best 8-1 at home, and 5-1 in one-run games. … OF Desmond Jennings has an eight-game hitting streak. … OF B.J. Upton's ninth-inning single was the first hit Angels closer Jordan Walden allowed to a right-hander this year.

Comments
Rays team up to beat Yankees again 4-0

Rays team up to beat Yankees again 4-0

ST. PETERSBURG — With all that's been said, tweeted, ranted and written on these pages and elsewhere about the Rays' odd, unorthodox, weird and some days downright wacky pitching plan, this might be the craziest thing yet:It's working.Like, rea...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Rays Tales: Why ‘trades’ and ‘prospects’ are always in same conversation

Rays Tales: Why ‘trades’ and ‘prospects’ are always in same conversation

Besides the continual evolution of their intriguing pitching plan, the primary topics of conversation for the Rays over the next several weeks will be trades and prospects. And not mutually exclusively.Some sooner than others, the Rays are going to c...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Rays journal: New confidence carries over for Willy Adames

Rays journal: New confidence carries over for Willy Adames

ST. PETERSBURG — The key to SS Willy Adames rapping two of the biggest hits in the Rays' 4-0 win Saturday actually took place the night before.An RBI single that snapped an 0-for-12 and a second hit two winnings later in Friday's game restored ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Saturday’s Rays-Yankees game

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Saturday’s Rays-Yankees game

INF Daniel Robertson has only played two games after a short DL stint, but it seems like he has already made a half dozen great plays. Willy Adames and Jake Bauers get the attention, but Robertson has the skills to steal the show any night.It is obvi...
Updated: 5 hours ago
For starters: Rays vs. Yankees, looking for two straight

For starters: Rays vs. Yankees, looking for two straight

UPDATE, 2:38: Clarifying what was a communication error with the team PR staff, Rays manager Kevin Cash said LHP Blake Snell was slated for an extra day's rest all along and will face the Nationals on Monday not the Yankees on Sunday. The Rays will u...
Published: 06/23/18
Rodney Page’s takeaways from Rays-Yankees

Rodney Page’s takeaways from Rays-Yankees

1. SS Willy Adames had a nice night, and there appear to be many more in his future. He had two hits, an RBI and an inning-ending leaping catch on a line drive by Didi Gregorius in the fifth.2. DH C.J. Cron needs to shake things up. Take a different ...
Published: 06/22/18
Marc Anthony pays a visit to the Trop

Marc Anthony pays a visit to the Trop

By Allana BarefieldTimes Staff WriterST. PETERSBURG — Latin pop star Marc Anthony visited Tropicana Field on Friday to see his beloved Yankees play the Rays.Anthony spent nearly an hour on the field before the game as fans and players surrounde...
Published: 06/22/18
Rays journal: Daniel Robertson’s return crowds up infield

Rays journal: Daniel Robertson’s return crowds up infield

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays reinstated INF Daniel Robertson from the 10-day disabled list (left hamstring strain). To make room, RHP Austin Pruitt was sent to Triple-A Durham."It's out of my mind. I don't think about (the hamstring) when I'm bend...
Published: 06/22/18
Rays hang on for a 2-1 win over Yankees

Rays hang on for a 2-1 win over Yankees

ST. PETERSBURG – Many times this season the Rays' strategy of opening the game with a short reliever and using the bullpen to finish hasn't had much success.Friday wasn't one of those nights.A total of six pitchers held the Yankees and their va...
Published: 06/22/18
Missed time a good mental reset for Rays’ Matt Duffy

Missed time a good mental reset for Rays’ Matt Duffy

ST. PETERSBURG — Missing all of 2017 might have been the absolute worst thing for Matt Duffy.Frustratingly idled as he eventually recovered and rehabbed from ongoing left heel issues, he couldn't play the game he loved, couldn't show the Rays o...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18