Saturday, June 23, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Tampa Bay Rays savor Game 162 anniversary

CHICAGO — The Rays are trying as much as they can to stay in the present. But today's one-year anniversary of their Game 162 dramatics gave them cause to pause and reflect.

"It's a special day," 3B Evan Longoria said. "And it's going to be a special day for the rest of my life."

Certainly for Longoria, who hit the game-ending, wild-card-clinching 12th-inning homer that capped the comeback from the 7-0 eighth-inning deficit against the Yankees.

"It's such a hard day to really pinpoint one moment," he said. "I would say crossing home plate and just seeing the pure joy in the rest of my teammates' faces and kind of the 'unbelievableness' of the whole situation, if that's a word. Kind of the shock and awe factor of everyone's faces."

For manager Joe Maddon, the lasting memory is the emotional swings as the Rays fell behind and rallied, and the Red Sox took a lead and gave it up. "Within minutes you go from losing to winning to celebrating," he said. "It was really the most unusual baseball day I ever had. And the best in a lot of ways."

For others, it just was.

"We were out. We were done. And somehow we found a way to win," OF Desmond Jennings said. "It was crazy."

MEDICAL MATTERS: C Jose Molina said his strained right quad felt "a little bit better" but not well enough to return to action. He did not know when he would be ready. Molina planned to test it by running and simulating catching movements, but he said the chilly weather (60 degrees at game time) was a concern. The plan is to first have him available for short stints late in games.

CAREER OBJECTIVE: Bench coach Dave Martinez said he had no hard feelings after being a finalist but not the final choice for the Astros managerial job, which went to Nationals third-base coach Bo Porter.

Martinez, who was interviewed twice by Houston officials, got the word as the Rays were leaving Fenway Park late Wednesday. Though unsuccessful in interviews with the Indians, Blue Jays and Astros, Martinez said he is not discouraged.

"I know it's part of the job," he said. "Eventually I want to manage. If it was sooner, great. But just because I didn't get the Houston job doesn't mean I don't feel like I can manage. I know one day I'm going to manage, and when that opportunity arises it's going to be the right fit and everybody's going to be happy."

HELLY-NATION: RHP Jeremy Hellickson has pitched in 68 big-league games over two-plus seasons, but tonight will be his first against the White Sox.

The unfamiliarity, he said, can go both ways. "It's probably to both of our advantages," he said. "We've faced them four-five times, I've seen them play, I know what kind of guys they've got; that's a very good lineup. I've just got to go out there and do what I do."

Hellickson will have plenty of support, as 40 friends and relatives plan to make the six-hour drive from his native Des Moines, Iowa.

MISCELLANY: RHP Fernando Rodney broke Rafael Soriano's 2010 team record with his 46th save and lowered his ERA to 0.62. … Maddon won his 600th game, including 19 as interim manager of the Angels. … C Jose Lobaton got his second straight start in Molina's absence. … OF Sam Fuld walked as a pinch-hitter and felt good enough to stay in and run, his first action since straining his right hamstring Sept. 16. … An apparent second-inning run for the Rays was erased when the other umpires overruled 1B umpire Chad Fairchild's balk call with runners on first and third. … Rays pitchers Wednesday reached double digits in strikeouts for the 58th time, breaking the 2003 Cubs record.

Comments
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...
Updated: 1 hour 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: 2 hours ago
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
Rays journal: Jake Bauers proves he’s up to speed on bases

Rays journal: Jake Bauers proves he’s up to speed on bases

ST. PETERSBURG – Rookie 1B Jake Bauers has impressed at the plate and in the field since his June 7 promotion.Also, with his hustling on the bases."I knew he played hard; everybody said that at every level,'' manager Kevin Cash said. "I di...
Published: 06/21/18
Rays journal: 7 pitches, 3 straight homers prove too much in loss to Astros

Rays journal: 7 pitches, 3 straight homers prove too much in loss to Astros

HOUSTON — The Rays were engaged in a third straight tight, go-either-way battle with the defending champ Astros on Wednesday.Until they were not.A brutal seven-pitch sequence by starter Nathan Eovaldi changed everything, as he gave up three con...
Published: 06/21/18
Rays see the results of keeping a good, young core group together

Rays see the results of keeping a good, young core group together

HOUSTON — The Rays saw a lot on the weeklong trip that ended with Wednesday's game against that Astros, beyond the street hustlers prowling in Times Square and the urban cowboys and girls parading through H-town.There was an impressive debuting...
Published: 06/20/18
Updated: 06/21/18