Saturday, May 26, 2018
Sports

Rays' Alex Colome shows maturity in working out of jam (w/ video)

PHOENIX — The Rays had done too much right to get to the ninth inning with a 6-3 lead Wednesday to watch it all slip away.

But that certainly looked like an increasing possibility when closer Alex Colome, back on the mound after a one-day break following his unusual run of saving four straight games, got off to an uncharacteristically shaky start.

Colome allowed a single to leadoff man Michael Bourn. He allowed a single to Juan Segura, with Bourn going to third. He walked Jake Lamb on four pitches.

Then he had to deal with Diamondbacks slugger Paul Goldschmidt and dangerous David Peralta.

All Colome did was get ahead of Goldschmidt to strike him out then get Peralta to hit a ground ball that 2B Tim Beckham, SS Taylor Motter and 1B Logan Morrison turned into a game-ending double play.

"That just kind of shows the pitcher he's evolved into because I don't know if he's capable of getting through that last year," manager Kevin Cash said. "He's really grown. He just trusted his stuff, didn't panic, no panic, and just kept making pitches. And we turned a real nice double play."

In doing so, Colome converted his 17th straight save, breaking the team record to start a season, and extended his personal streak to 16 straight appearances without allowing a run. His 17 saves are second most in the AL.

RHP Jake Odorizzi started for the Rays, a 41-pitch second inning limiting him to five total in what he termed a "mediocre" outing coming off a career-high 120 pitches in his last. Cash said he may have been "a little bit gassed." Odorizzi said, "I didn't have my best stuff, I had to be serviceable."

SMYLY SKIPPED: With open dates today and Monday, the Rays are juggling their rotation to provide struggling LHP Drew Smyly — 1-4, 7.76 with a .341 opponents' average over his past six starts — a physical and mental break.

"It can be used both ways," Cash said. "Physically, he can work on some stuff that he feels he needs to work on."

Smyly's primary problem has been with his off-speed pitches, specifically a lack of finish, which he now will have extra time to work on. Cash said there are no concerns of a recurrence of Smyly's shoulder problems or anything else wrong health-wise. "None whatsoever," he said.

Smyly said he was okay with the plan, which moved his next start from Saturday to Wednesday, giving him nine days between outings. The Rays last month did the same with LHP Matt Moore.

"I hope it helps. I've obviously been in a little slump," he said. "It's more just a chance to give me a quick breather. It's really just a couple extra days."

The Rays will start RHP Matt Andriese on Friday vs. Houston, followed by RHP Chris Archer (pitching on his Saturday Stormtrooper bobblehead day) and Moore.

REHAB REPORT: 2B Logan Forsythe (left shoulder fracture) went 1-for-2 with a walk Wednesday for Triple-A Durham in the first game of a short rehab stint. Depending on how Forsythe, out since being bit by a pitch May 9, responds, he could join the Rays during the weekend series.

That would be a big boost as it would allow Steve Pearce, who had been filling in at second until sidelined with a balky elbow that limited him to pinch-hit duties, to get more time at DH.

MISCELLANY: 3B Evan Longoria, back in the lineup after Tuesday's day off, extended his hitting streak to 11 games. … After playing 24 of their past 32 games on the road (and winning 13 of the 24), the Rays play 20 of their next 26 at home. … The Rays were 8-12 in their stretch of 20 straight games. … Former RHP Andy Sonnanstine will rep the team at tonight's draft at MLB Network studios in New Jersey.

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