It’s an easy Sunday morning at the Trop unless you cover the Yankees, then you are busy writing about the trade that sent closer Andrew Miller to the Indians for a handful of prospects.
As for the Rays, well Steve Pearce is not in the lineup, fueling speculation that he will be traded before Monday’s 4 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline.
Pearce said as far as he knows it’s a day off.
“I’m just doing what I’m told,” Pearce said. “Maybe just the day game after the night game off.”
The Yankees are throwing RHP Michael Pineda, so switch-hitting Nick Franklin is playing first base. Manager Kevin Cash does not talk to the print media pregame on Sundays, but did tell Dave Wills and Andy Freed that it’s just a day off for Pearce.
RHP Chris Archer, talking in advance of Monday’s start against the visiting Royals, said he hopes the Rays do not make a move. He used the Indians as an example. The Indians played the Rays in the 2013 Wild Card game, had two down years and are now leading the AL Central. The reason, Archer said, is Cleveland’s front office kept the team together.
Monday’s 4 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline inches closer and the Rays are very much included in the rumors surrounding any team needing a pitcher.
Manager Kevin Cash talked this afternoon about how well some of those players are handling the possible distraction. In fact, some of them – Chris Archer, Matt Moore and Jake Odorizzi – are pitching better than they have all season.
Has to be a coincidence, right?
The Rays take a streak of nine-straight quality starts into tonight’s game against the visiting Yankees. That’s the longest such streak for the team since the 2014 rotation did it over 10 consecutive games.
Drew Smyly has a chance to match that tonight. While Smyly hasn’t won in 11 starts, he did pitch well enough to win during his last outing when he allowed a run in six innings at Oakland. He was denied his first victory since May 16 when Alex Colome blew his first save of the season.
Smyly is 0-7 over his last 11 starts. He’s the first Rays pitcher with a seven-game losing streak in the same season since James Shields in 2010. Shields did it in seven starts.
When asked if he was ready to return to his closer role, Brad Boxberger said he first needed to show the team he is healthy.
All quiet on the trade front for now, but that could change if Matt Silverman fields the right call from the right team offering the right package.
And the understanding is he is taking calls from teams looking for pitching and, perhaps, a utility fielder who can play first, second and the corner outfields. Someone like Steve Pearce, who is playing first base tonight against the visiting Yankees because ...
... Logan Morrison was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a right forearm strain. The injury forced him out of the starting lineup in the Rays last eight games. Manager Kevin Cash said it's the same injury. The team hoped the cortisone shot Morrison received last week in Oakland would do the trick, but it did not.
The Rays also placed OF Oswaldo Arcia on the 15-day DL with a right forearm strain suffered when swinging at a pitch in Wednesday's game.
As expected, the Rays recalled RHP Brad Boxberger from the DL. Boxberger missed the first 49 games of the season after having adductor surgery in spring training. He returned May 31 at Kansas City, threw 17 pitches and was back on the DL with an oblique strain that forced him to miss 50 games. …
"My view is a team that's not good enough,'' Kevin Cash said. "We're not good enough right now.''
The frustration of four straight one-run losses and six since the All-Star break led a frank assessment of the Rays team by manager Kevin Cash before today's game:
"My view is a team that's not good enough. We're not good enough right now.
"We've got to figure out a way to win those ballgames, The one-run losses, the amount that has taken place here since the break, we just keep continuing to come up short.
"Something, we've got to change. We've got to get the big hit, make the big pitch, whatever, the big play. "it seems like when those big moments of the game are coming we're not getting it done.''
Cash said he was not singling out any one player or segment (starters, relievers, position players, etc.) of the team:
"I think it's a team thing. It's not finger pointing at one specific individual. It's totally on the team, on myself, on the staff. We're just not good enough right now and we've got to make adjustments to overcome that.''
Asked if it was a matter of the players having the talent but needing to do dig deeper and do better, Cash said that may not necessarily be the case: …
UPDATE, 8:21: All the Rays mentioned in trade rumors were present and accounted for the in the clubhouse. ... Morrison said his forearm is feeling better and Cash said he expects him to play on Wednesday. ... Former Rays / current Dodgers baseball chief Andrew Friedman visited with some of the Rays early Tueday afternoon.
Here is the Dodgers lineup: Utley 2b Seager ss Turner 3b Gonzalez 1b Kendrick lf Grandal c Toles rf Pederson cf Norris p
DEVELOPING: Following three straight losses to the A's and a day off, the Rays take the field - the historic field - at Dodger Stadium tonight to face the surging home team.
RHP Chris Archer will be on the mound for the Rays - at least as of this writing - as trade rumors have been swirling all week about him along with fellow sttarters LHP Matt Moore and RHP Jake Odorizzi.
Adding to the intrigue, one of the teams mentioned most prominently has been the Dodgers, who are now run by former Rays baseball operations chief Andrew Friedman. …
UPDATE, 3:19: RHP Brad Boxberger (oblique) will make at least two more rehab appearances on Tuesday and Wednesday with the Stone Crabs before rejoining the Rays. ... RHP Alex Cobb (Tommy John surgery) wiill throw a bullpen on Tuesday and then the team will decide if he is ready to get back to minor-league games. ... 1B Logan Morrison (forearm tendinitis) is feeling better but Cash said they likely will wait until after Monday's off-day to get him back in the lineup.
Here is the Rays lineup: Forsythe 2b Miller ss Longoria 3b Dickerson lf Pearce 1b Arcia dh Souza rf Kiermaier cf Maile c Snelll p
And here is the A's lineup, with former Rays prospect Jesse Hahn on the mound: Lowrie 2b Smolinski cf Valencia rf Davis lf Butler dh Healy 3b Semien ss Alonso 1b Maxwell c Hahn p …
Jake Odorizzi, coming off a win over the Orioles, will be on the mound.
UPDATE, 8:13: Morrison said the diagnosis on his forearm was tendinitis and he got a cortisone shot. Cash said they hope he will be available to at least pinch hit by Saturday. ... Cash said Beckham earned playing time with his recent hot hitting, worked out today since they are facing a LHP.
Here is the A's lineup:
Crisp lf Reddick rf Davis dh Vogt c Lowrie 2b Smolinski cf Alonso 1b Healy 3b Alcantara ss Manaea p
UPDATE, 6:49: Pearce is back in the Rays lineup, and Beckham gets another start as well.
Tampa Bay Rays first baseman Logan Morrison in the dugout after scoring on the single by Tampa Bay Rays right fielder Steven Souza Jr. in the fourth inning of the game between the Baltimore Orioles and the Tampa Bay Rays in Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg on July 15.
Rays 1B Logan Morrison is out of the lineup tonight and headed to see a doctor in Oakland due to inflammation in the right forearm and wrist area.
Morrison the area has been an issue since the All-Star break and has not gotten better with rest and treatment.
Manager Kevin Cash said they are anticipating improvement with a different course of treatment, either anti-inflammatory medicine or a shot, and that he won't need to go on the disabled list.
With Steve Pearce getting the day off as a precaution due to his previously strained hamstring, the Rays turned to Tim Beckham at first base, his first time playing there at any level.
Another option would have been to move 2B Logan Forsythe, but Cash said they did not want to weaken their up-the-middle defense. Related, Forsythe did not enjoy playing first when he had to in the past.
The Rays lineup has a curious and interesting look, with Tim Beckham, who had five hits on Wednesday, starting at 1B.
UPDATE, 8:13: Beckham is at first because Morrison has inflammation in the right wrist/forearm area and is headed to the doctor tonight, and that Pearce is getting a day off as a precaution after "feeling" a little fatigue in the right hamstring that previously sidelined him for a month. ... RHP Alex Cobb (Tommy John surgery) will throw a live batting batting practice on Saturday in Port Charlotte and if all goes well could then get back to another rehab start. ... OF Desmond Jennings (hamstring) will hit against Cobb. ... Cash said the trade rumors are something the Rays are doing to have to deal over the next week or so.
A's lineup: Semien ss Lowrie 2b Reddick rf Valencia 1b Davis lf Butler dh Vogt c Smolinski cf Healy 3b Gray p
DEVELOPING: Fresh off their first road series win since early June and their first back-to-back victories in more than a month, the Rays will look to make it three straight tonight when they take on the A's in Oakland.
The Rays lineup has a curious and interesting look, with Tim Beckham, who had five hits on Wednesday, starting at 1B. Beckham was doing pre-game work with infield/bench coach Tom Foley. …
Chris Archer will be on the mound for the Rays, coming off an improved outing and a renewed commitment to strike-throwing in response to a challenge from manager Kevin Cash.
UPDATE, 1:55: Cash said just a day off for Kiermaier, who played five straight following his long DL stint. ... No updates yet on Cobb, who was to throw a bullpen today. ... Cash said he was most pleased Tuesday with how Snell threw his fastball to set up his off-speed pitches. ... Snell became the second rookie to throw six or more scoreless innings with one or fewer hits in Coors Field history. ... Rays PR determined they went 41 days, 7 hours and 55 minutes between road wins, the last before Tuesday on June 8 in Arizona. ... Also, that Snell is the third Blake to win at Coors Field, which is on Blake Street, joining Blake Beavan (Mariners) and Blake Wood (Reds).
Rockies lineup: Blackmon cf LeMahieu 2b Arenado 3b Gonzalez rf Story ss Descalso lf Reynolds 1b Wolters c De La Rosa p
UPDATE, 12:16: No Kiermaier for Rays today as Cash is going with one lefty vs. De La Rosa, ex-Rockie Corey Dickerson.
Here is the Rays lineup: Forsythe 2b Guyer cf Longoria 3b Pearce 1b Souza rf Dickerson lf Beckham ss Casali c Archer p
Blake Snell plans to stay away from his usually effective curveball as a concession to the altitude.
UPDATE, 6:58: The Rays have taken RHP Alex Cobb off his rehab assignment, meaning he won't make another rehab start until July 25 at the earliest, with the idea being he will have more time to work on his mechanics in the bullpen. By doing it this way, the Rays can resume the 30-day clock when ready. ... Cash said there was no talk or plans to pull struggling LHP Drew Smyly from the rotation, and that they talked today and all are optimistic about his next start.
Here is the Rockies lineup:
Blackmon cf LeMahieu 2b Arenado 3b Story ss Raburn lf Reynolds 1b Hundley c Barnes rf Chatwood p
UPDATE, 4:50: Pearce is not only active, but back in the Rays lineup, playing 1B and hitting fifth. Dickerson, as expected, is playing; Souza is not
Forsythe 2b, Miller ss, Longoria 3b, Dickerson lf, Pearce 1b, Kiermaier cf, Maile c, Arcia rf, Snell p
DEVELOPING: After letting another game get away on Monday night, the Rays take on the Rockies tonight with rookie LHP Blake Snell on the mound. …
From Chris Archer to Evan Longoria to Kevin Kiermaier to manager Kevin Cash and beyond, the Tampa Bay Times has the most comprehensive coverage of the Tampa Bay Rays. Come here for the latest news, photos, video and more.