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Tampa Bay Rays news and links: The Souza game

The Souza season?

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Steven Souza went a bit crazy on the base paths against John Lester. He took giant leads, got almost picked off twice, but in the end exploited Lester’s troubles throwing to steal two bases, and seemed to unsettle Lester in the process. After the game, he explained his plan.

Just trying to get a big lead and go.

There’s more interview in the link above. Souza also hit his 30th home run, and talked about how thankful he is for a healthy season.

There’s also audio from Kevin Cash and Blake Snell, but Snell’s interview is worth watching on video, so as to fully experience the comments from the peanut gallery (Chris Archer).

Baseball players give interviews as strings of cliches. It’s what they’re expected to do. It’s weird. It’s nice to see that Archer also seems to think it’s weird.

For those of you wondering what Danny Espinosa was doing out there at second base while the Rays were in the middle of a fading playoff push, the answer appears to have been “keeping a roster spot warm for Xavier Cedeno.”

Speaking of Cedeno, he helped Triple-A Durham win the championship while rehabbing. Bill Chastain wrote about the Bulls’ win, and there’s a money quote in there from Chaim Bloom that touches on how the Rays seem to think about minor league playoffs:

"When it comes to the Minor Leagues, we always focus on development first," Bloom said. "With that said, winning is part of development. We like to think that if we develop well, then winning is going to be a byproduct of that. And that playoff experience, having to come through in those big games and pressure situations, is really, really good for these guys."