Evan Longoria and Brad Miller went back-to-back with solo shots last night, giving the team 196 — three shy of the franchise record of 199. The Rays have hit 13 homers over the first five games of their current 11-game road trip, however, only one of those came with a runner on base.
The New What Next
Drew Smyly Drew Smyly (6-11, 5.05 ERA) will get the start for Tampa Bay, opposite of Marcus Stroman (9-7, 4.55 ERA).
Smyly posted just 3-2/3 innings in a start against the Orioles on Wednesday, allowing five runs (four earned) on seven hits and three walks. He fanned just two. The lefty has disappointed expectations this season, sporting a 5.05 ERA over 28 starts, although he’s done much better of late. And while his 1.28 WHIP suggests some back luck, the 30 home runs allowed (good enough for fifth most in the big leagues) certainly haven’t done Smyly any favors. Smyly allowed five runs against Toronto in his first start of the season, but two runs or fewer in his other three.
Stroman allowed two runs on seven hits over five innings on Wednesday, striking out eight and walking one. Toronto scored under three runs for the fourth time in Stroman’s last seven starts, leaving the righty with little to show for his efforts. He looked good (coaxing 15 whiffs) however, a two-run third inning — including a solo home — was enough to propel the Yankees to a victory. The Rays beat up on Stroman over six innings of work on September 2nd, tagging the righty for four runs (three earned) on five hits and two walks, including a homer.
Rays 9/13/16 Starting Lineup
The Fight That Never Was
Another thing to be on the lookout for is the possibility of flared tempers following last night’s on-field scrum.
In his last at-bat of last night’s game, Steven Souza Jr. crushed what he thought was a go-ahead, two-run homer in the ninth inning against Roberto Osuna, the Blue Jays closer. Much to his chagrin, however, centerfielder Kevin Pillar caught the ball on the warning track, consequently ending the contest.
That was not the end of the on-field action though.
Souza admittedly watched the fly ball a little too long, at which point Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin complimented Souza. After the incident, Martin told the media what was said:
I just told him he crushed that ball, I thought he got it (for a homer). And before I could really get my message across, Tulo jumped in and was like a ball of fire.
Souza initially didn’t hear Martin, whom he thought was angered by the outfielder’s actions at home plate.
I thought Russ was saying something about it, which would have been on me, totally, Souza explained. And I was saying, ‘Dude, I’m sorry, I thought I got it.’ There was miscommunication in that he actually said, ‘I thought you got it.’ And so I said, ‘Oh, my bad,’ and walked away.
At that point, lil deputy Troy Tulowitzki decided to jump in the fracas and say some things that, in Souza’s words, “Weren’t really necessary.”
According to Souza, Tulowitzki said something “below the belt,” leading to the clearing of the benches.
Eventually, the transgressions became moot, and Souza sought out Martin to clear the air.