Thursday, November 23, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays journal: Big home run fires up Logan Morrison, loss not so much

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Rays 1B Logan Morrison was trying to hit the ball really far, and he did, a StatCast estimated 429 feet for a two-run, game-tying homer in the seventh inning Sunday.

He insisted he had no intentions of following it up with an equally attention-getting bat flip, eye-test estimated at 15-20 feet.

"I hit it really good. I didn't mean to flip it that far, but it went," Morrison said. "I think the ball went further."

Morrison said there was no motivation or message in the bat flip beyond his satisfaction in getting the Rays even during a bad day that would later turn worse.

"Just frustration," Morrison said. "We played like crap today. Like I was talking about (Saturday), it just takes one swing to get us back in the game. …

"We didn't swing the bat. We didn't really run the bases well. We've got to find a way to win that game."

In homering for the second straight game, Morrison has 26 for the season, third most in the AL. He also ranks in the top 10 with a team-high 61 RBIs.

Odorizzi looking back to go forward

RHP Jake Odorizzi is confident he can put his inconsistent and somewhat ineffective first half (5-4, 4.63) behind him, starting tonight at Oakland. And he only has to look to last season, when he went 3-5, 4.47 before the All-Star break and 7-1, 2.71 after. Odorizzi said he feels great and has been working since his last start July 7 on yet a few more small mechanical adjustments, specifically to get him taller on the mound so he throws more downhill. He thinks that will make a big difference. "Hit a mental restart basically," he said. "Forget what happened and take it start by start. That's the only way you do it in the second half after a first half like that."

About the new guy

A few notes about RHP Andrew Kittredge, called up from Triple-A Durham to join the bullpen: He is 27. Was acquired from the Mariners in the November 2016 trade of INFs Taylor Motter and Richie Shaffer. Was a 45th-round pick out of high school, went to pitch at the University of Washington, signed with the Mariners as a nondrafted free agent in 2011. Was 5-1, 1.90 at Triple-A Durham with 54 strikeouts (and only 12 walks) in 52 innings. After being added to the 40-man roster he will be the ninth player to make his big-league debut for the Rays this season, and the eighth pitcher.

Beckham back, Ramos hopeful

INF Tim Beckham was activated off the DL after missing just six games around the All-Star break with a left ankle sprain, going 1-for-4 while playing second. That will be his primary position, but he also will get some time at short, and Brad Miller some starts at second. … C Wilson Ramos said the left hamstring he tweaked Friday was feeling better, and he hopes to return to the lineup tonight. Ramos, who debuted June 24 after recovering from right knee surgery, said he initially feared an extended absence, noting he went on the DL with left hamstring issues in 2013 after returning from his first right knee surgery.

Numbers of the day

18, 0

Homers by Rays right-handed hitting OF Steven Souza Jr. versus righty pitchers, and lefties.

Miscellany

• Top draft pick Brendan McKay made his pro debut Sunday for short-season Class A Hudson Valley, going 0-for-4 as the DH with two strikeouts. Let the record show in his first at-bat he grounded into an inning-ending double play.

• Sunday's loss kept the Rays from a five-game winning streak, which would have matched their longest in three seasons under Kevin Cash, and ended a seven-game streak at Angel Stadium.

• The Rays might soon have more pitching depth at Triple-A Durham as RHP Jaime Schultz (groin strain) and RHP Jose De Leon (lat strain) are working their way back. Schultz, out since April 7, has made three Gulf Coast League appearances; DeLeon, out since June 8, is expected to pitch in the GCL this week, then move up to the Stone Crabs and then Bulls.

• The Rays caught a bit of a break as the A's on Sunday traded their two top relievers, LH Sean Doolittle and RH Ryan Madson, to the Nationals.

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