It’s been an interesting week for the Tampa Bay Rays… An interesting week to say the least.
The team started things off positively by stringing together back-to-back series victories against the Miami Marlins and Toronto Blue Jays. Rays skipper Kevin Cash earned his first series win — and road series win — not to mention his first managerial ejection from Thursday’s series finale against Toronto. Everything's a first right now, though he still lacks that first replay-challenge victory, he's 0-for-7.
Evan Longoria was drilled by Marco Estrada in that aforementioned game something that may reverberate next weekend when the Blue Jays enter the Trop for the first time this season. Estrada was Evan’s former teammate (and friend) from his Dirtbag days. Thankfully Longo didn’t become the eleventh Ray on the DL.
The Evil Empire entered the Big Top to start a nine game home stand on Friday, and deflated some the air from the Rays’ proverbial balloon.
New York came from behind to defeat Tampa Bay in the series opener, and followed with an ugly 9-0 shellacking in the second game of the set — of which the Rays followed by designating Grant Balfour for assignment, potentially sounding the death knell on his 14 year career. Although Steven Souza Jr. gave Tampa Bay some needed power by going 3-for-5 with a two-run homer to left (his third home run of the season) in the series finale Sunday, the Rays fell by a score of 5-3, giving the Yankees their first sweep at Tropicana Field in a decade (September 13-15 2005).
The Boston Red Sox will enter the Thunder Dome (pun intended) on Tuesday following the Tampa Bay off-day.
— Drew Smyly made his third rehab start Sunday afternoon with the Montgomery Biscuits. Smyly pitched two outs into the fourth inning and allowed one hit and three walks while fanning four on 68 pitches (40 strikes, 59% K/BB). Averaging 90.1 mph with his fastball in 2014, Smyly topped out at 92 mph on the stadium radar. He will be evaluated once again on Monday, and the decision whether to give him one last rehab start, or plug him into the rotation on Saturday May 25, is expected at some point shortly thereafter.
Rain faling at #BraganField as @SmylyD K's RF Carlos Lopez of @SunsBaseball pic.twitter.com/YVtSsx9k36— john b. sharp (@freehan11) April 19, 2015
Thats it for @SmylyD after 3 2/3... 1 H, 4K, 0 R, 3BB for @BiscuitBaseball #NeverBeenHotter @sunsbaseball Fastball high of 92. No pitch #'s— john b. sharp (@freehan11) April 19, 2015
— It was the opinion of Marc Topkin that Tampa Bay "could just erase" Erasmo Ramirez from the Roster, in due course eating the remainder of his $523K contract. While he was effective out of the bullpen Sunday afternoon, needing just seven pitches to put the Yankees down in order, one can’t help but wonder if the Rays’ willingness to designate Grant Balfour for assignment should be viewed as a tacit signal that Matt Silverman isn’t afraid to unload those who may be viewed as dead weight on the 40-man roster.
— Ryan Brett collected his first big league hit in the ninth inning of the series finale Sunday, a double off the wall in left. Brett told Matt Baker (Tampa Bay Times) he thought he might pass out from the adrenaline rush after hitting the double off Andrew Miller.
Ryan Brett on first MLB hit: "When I got to second, I thought I was going to pass out from the adrenaline rush I had."— Matt Baker (@MBakerTBTimes) April 19, 2015
— But of course, never forget:
- The A's and Royals are the big new rivalry in baseball. Required readings: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
- Queens: Dave Cameron says the Mets might be contenders | Alex Torres has a big hat
- Finally, that Longo rubber duck give away looks to have been successfully horrifying.
Kind of scary looking. Rubber Duck Longoria! pic.twitter.com/mHsHiSmy0E— IONTB.COM (@IONTB) April 19, 2015