Rays journal: Sergio Romo extremely thankful for career save No. 100

Rays closer Sergio Romo is all pumped up after striking out the Red Sox's Mitch Moreland in the ninth to end the game and pick up career save No. 200 on Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018. [Associated Press]
Rays closer Sergio Romo is all pumped up after striking out the Red Sox's Mitch Moreland in the ninth to end the game and pick up career save No. 200 on Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018. [Associated Press]
Published August 19 2018
Updated August 19 2018

BOSTON — Sergio Romo tries — though not always successfully — to keep his emotions in check on the mound. You kind of have to in logging 100 career saves, the milestone he reached in Sunday's 2-0 win over the Red Sox.

But walking into the Rays clubhouse afterward, with his teammates lined up to acknowledge his feat, was a more vexing test.

"I ain't going to lie, it was hard to not be emotional walking in, with everybody giving me hugs, high-fiving me, congratulating me,'' he said. "I knew it was important. I didn't know it was going to hit me like that. I definitely texted my dad, 'Dad, I did it.' As much as I talk, I'm kind of at a loss for words.''

A career that includes winning three World Series rings with the Giants and memorably striking out Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera for the final out in 2012 has taken several interesting twists this season.

Romo, 35, reached the 10-year mark of major-league service; surpassed 600 games and strikeouts; made his first big-league starts as the Rays' initial game opener; got an at-bat; and made a brief appearance playing third base.

"It's been quite the year for me, personally," he said. "And quite the year for us as a team in general. A lot of interesting things have been going on around here, and fun things of course, too.''

With 100 saves, Romo is tied for 150th all-time.

"It means a lot to me, it's been a long time coming,'' he said. "I feel really, really thankful and really, really blessed getting a real opportunity to do something fun here. I really can't say thank you enough.''

So I have this friend, and he wants this woman’s number, and …

OF Carlos Gomez often finds ways to attract attention to himself, on the field and with the occasional dugout tirade. But he's a little perplexed he made it into one of the New York tabloids, and on a couple of websites, for tossing a ball with a name and phone number on it into the stands to a female fan at Yankee Stadium last week. "It's New York, and they're trying to make a big story out of it,'' Gomez said, explaining he was acting on behalf of a friend — likely a teammate — but did nothing newsworthy or wrong. "It's a misunderstanding.'' Gomez, who is 32 and married with three kids, said it wasn't his name or number on the ball, and that the woman who caught it wasn't even the one he was tossing it to. "It's not what people think,'' he said. "It's a little bit embarrassing when that comes out and people look at me as that type of person, and it's not me.'' Plus, Gomez joked, "I've played long enough to not be that stupid to give my number to a lady in the stands.''

Castillo, for openers

The Rays decided to try rookie reliever RHP Diego Castillo as the opener Sunday to see if having a different look would help him pitch better. They were pleased with the results as he allowed only one hit in getting the first five outs. "There was some hesitancy on our part. … You don't want to do anything that throws a guy out of whack,'' manager Kevin Cash said. "But I think Diego's probably been a little out of whack himself here lately. And that might have gotten him back in. It was a pretty dominant performance.'' Cash said the Rays might use Castillo in that role again, but they ultimately see him as a late-inning, high-leverage reliever. … RHP Hunter Wood will be the opener Monday night against the Royals, with LHP Ryan Yarbrough expected to work the bulk of the innings.

Homecoming game

Seminole High product Brett Phillips will play at the Trop for the first time as a big-leaguer, the outfielder having been acquired by the Royals last month from the Brewers in a deal for 3B Mike Moustakas. Phillips, known for his humorous videos and infectious laugh, was a 2012 sixth-round pick by the Astros and traded to Milwaukee in a July 2015 deadline deal headlined by Carlos Gomez, now with the Rays.

Number of the day

10 Shutouts by Rays pitchers, tied for fourth most in the AL.

Miscellany

• The Rays shut out the Red Sox for the first time since July 8, 2017, and the first time in Fenway since April 19, 2016. The Sox were held to two or fewer hits for the third time this season.

• C Jesus Sucre returned to action for the first time since hurting his wrist on a swing Tuesday; he was 0-for-4.

• With CF Kevin Kiermaier getting a schedule day out of the lineup, manager Kevin Cash started Tommy Pham in center, kept Mallex Smith in right and put Jake Bauers in left.

• The Rays snapped the Sox's odd streak of 13 straight wins in day games.

• Bowling Green's Craig Albernaz was named Midwest League manager of the year for leading the Hot Rods to a league-best 78-46 record, including the first-half division championship.

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