Friday, November 24, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays journal: A very happy Father's Day for several Rays

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DETROIT — The Father's Day story line played out in several chapters for the Rays in Sunday's series-splitting 9-1 win over the Tigers:

• For Logan Morrison — who hit two homers to push his total to 21, behind only majors-leading Aaron Judge of the Yankees — talking of his dad, Tom, who died in 2010 of lung cancer, in addition to giving his usual salutes to the sky when he crosses the plate.

"It's cool," Morrison said. "When you come up in baseball, you need to have somebody that makes sure you're getting to the right places, getting in front of the right people, getting the equipment you need. He did all that for me. And more."

• For Steven Souza Jr. — who hit his first big-league grand slam in the Rays' big third inning — playing for his dad and, for the first time, as a father, with 6-month-old Micah waiting for him at home. Souza acknowledged both to the Fox cameras after the blast.

"I told my dad happy Father's Day, and I told my son that I love him and happy Father's Day and to my wife, thank you for my first Father's Day," Souza said. "I saw (Micah) this morning on FaceTime, but I'm looking forward to getting back and holding him in my arms and telling him I love him."

• For starter Jake Faria — who battled from behind in too many counts but still came out with a win for seven strong innings — as both his father and step­father came in from California to watch from the Comerica Park seats.

"That was really cool," Faria said.

Power ball

The seventh-inning homers by Evan Longoria and Morrison were the Rays' majors-most ninth back-to-back blasts. … With Derek Norris and Souza also going deep, the Rays have 109 for the season, including a majors-most 61 on the road. … Morrison had his fifth multihomer game.

The best you've rarely seen

One of the best players Tampa Bay fans don't get to see will be playing at the Trop the next three days as 1B Joey Votto and the Reds make their first visit since 2011. Votto is known for his unique, patient, disciplined and tremendously successful approach, evidenced by his career .312 batting average and .424 on-base percentage. Some of the Rays who have played with and against him rave plenty.

OF/DH Corey Dickerson: "He has a plan every single day, and it shows. He doesn't swing out of the zone. He knows the strike zone better than anybody. … Watch him with two strikes, he chokes up 3-4 inches. He's about putting the ball in play and getting on base. He's impressive to watch."

Morrison: "He has an elite swing first and foremost, which allows him to do whatever he wants. I've seen him choking up on the bat. He chokes up like he wears his pants now — choked up on his ankles."

RHP Jumbo Diaz, a former Reds teammate: "He works on his hitting all the time. That's the reason why he's so good. In the cage, he works on his weaknesses. Like when he gets two strikes, his approach is try to not strike out. He tries to shorten his swing, chokes up a little bit."

Quote of the day

"He must really love his mom and dad quite a bit."

Manager Kevin Cash on Souza, who homered on Mother's and Father's Day

Rehab report

RHP Brad Boxberger (flexor) pitched a scoreless inning for Triple-A Durham, completing the important test of working back-to-back days. He is slated to pitch again for the Bulls on Wednesday and rejoin the Rays on Friday. C Wilson Ramos (knee) got through his back-to-back duty well and is slated to catch a full nine innings tonight, aiming for a Sunday return. "We're getting closer," Cash said. "We're getting excited."

Miscellany

. First pitch was delayed 31 minutes due to rain.

. Diaz is looking forward to seeing his ex-mates, having spent most of the previous three seasons with the Reds before being dropped during the spring and claimed by the Rays: "Every time you are facing your old team, you always want to play or pitch and do good."

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