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Jan 2019
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ST. PETERSBURG , Fla. (AP) — The Tampa Bay Rays have found an ace.Blake Snell tied for the major league victory lead with his 18th, Nick Ciuffo and Kevin Kiermaier hit early three-run homers and the Rays beat the Baltimore Orioles 14-2 on Friday night.“He’s performed like one,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “Blake was really good, again.”Snell (18-5) matched Cleveland’s Corey Kluber for the major league lead, after allowing two runs, five hits and striking out nine over 5 1/3 innings.“I felt like I was around the zone for the most part,” Snell said. “The offense did very well. Gave me a quick lead. All credit goes to them.”Tommy Pham had a fifth-inning solo homer and Ji-Man Choi hit a grand slam in the sixth to help the Rays run their home winning streak to nine. Tampa Bay has won 14 of 17 overall, outscoring opponents 93-49.The loss marks the third time Baltimore (41-100) has had at least 100 losses (1988 and 1954) since relocating from St. Louis following the 1953 season. The franchise had eight 100 or more loss seasons as the St. Louis Browns.Snell’s major league-best since 1913 of giving up one or fewer earned runs in 14 consecutive home starts ended when Joey Rickard hit the lefty’s 104th and final pitch for a two-run homer in the sixth.Rickard, a one-time Tampa Bay minor leaguer, has 17 of 23 RBIs this season in nine games against the Rays.Ciuffo hit his first major league homer off Dylan Bundy (7-14) in the second before Kiermaier made it 6-0 one inning later on his third homer over his last two games.“Really cool,” Cash said. “His family in the stands, and friends. His best buddy had a full Rays uniform on.”Cuiffo, playing in his fourth big league game, got his fourth RBI on a sacrifice fly in a three-run seventh.Bundy gave up six runs, four hits and five walks in four innings. The righty has allowed a single-season team record and major league-leading 37 homers.Bundy said his frustration level is a “10 out of 10 for sure.”“It’s been the second half and it showed tonight,” Bundy said. “I really had no clue where the ball was going and wasn’t executing my pitches. Going through adversity is tough but I just have to keep my head up and keep working in between starts. I think in the end it’ll make me stronger and a better pitcher.”Bundy is 0-4 with 10.67 ERA in his last six starts.ERRANT PASSOrioles RHP David Hess Lucas Giolito Jersey , Saturday’s scheduled starter, was hit in the left eye while playing catch with a football before the game. After being examined by a specialist, he appeared in the dugout wearing an LSU football helmet.MR. JONESBaltimore RF Adam Jones was out of the lineup. “Adam would be the first to tell you, this is the best he’s felt in a long time physically,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “Being careful with him physically, I’m not going to tell you that’s the complete reason. We’ve got some people we want to see play.”TRAINER’S ROOMOrioles: RHP Alex Cobb (blister) is expected to miss his start Sunday. … OF/DH Mark Trumbo underwent right knee cartilage repair surgery. “No complications, no surprises,” Showalter said.Rays: INF Daniel Robertson had the cast for his surgically repaired left thumb removed Wednesday and is increasing his rehab program.UP NEXTHess (3-9) will face a Rays bullpen game Saturday night. WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Among various sheets of paper thumbtacked to the corkboard in Dave Martinez’s spring training office — Florida Kitchen Staff, Important Dates, Pitchers Work Groups — there’s one in the upper-left corner entitled Face Fear Like Bison.The Washington Nationals‘ manager came across its three-sentence message this offseason: “When a storm brews on the horizon, most animals run away from it. But bison instinctively run directly toward storms to minimize the amount of time they’re exposed to the elements. So face adversity head-on and power through whatever comes your way.”That, Martinez explained in an interview, captures the way he plans to approach his second season as a major league skipper, which begins when the Nationals host the New York Mets on March 28.“When I first saw it, I read it. I read it again. And I read it again. And I was like , ‘I get that.’ Sometimes you need to have a tough conversation or face a tough situation,” he said, punching his left palm with his right fist for emphasis, “and take it head on.”In Year 1, Martinez’s team went 82-80 and missed the playoffs, a step back after two consecutive NL East titles under his predecessor, Dusty Baker.Martinez isn’t going to pretend that didn’t happen. He can’t, of course.“Injuries were a big part of it. I really feel that. But with that being said, we needed to get better,” Martinez said. “Better at baserunning. Better on defense. And our pitching, at times, needed to be better; the two-out homers needed to go away.”So he began the process of trying to improve during Washington’s final series of last September, at the Colorado Rockies, when Martinez brought in players, one by one, for chats of 5-10 minutes apiece.“Not only did I tell them what went right and what went wrong and what they needed to get better at — but it also was about me Reynaldo Lopez Jersey ,” Martinez said. “I gave them the opportunity to talk about me. How do I need to get better? How can I help you get better?”Closer Sean Doolittle said players appreciated the chance to offer feedback and “communicate to him how things could go more efficiently or run smoother.”Changes have been evident in spring training.Extra defensive drills, for example.Emphasis on the sort of baserunning that resulted in Ryan Zimmerman’s run in the second inning of an exhibition game Monday: infield hit; going first-to-third on a single; scoring on a safety squeeze.No visit from last year’s infamous “get over the hump” camels.“He was open to hearing what could be done differently. That’s so important, I think. Things have run really smoothly in camp, definitely more so than last year,” Doolittle said. “A big part of that is taking in everything he learned — that we learned as a group, too — last year. We’re learning his way of doing things and what makes him tick. And he’s learning us.”Another way Martinez did that was by staying in Washington over the winter and watching videos of games from 2018.“Were there some things he would change that he did last year? That he learned from? Yes, 100 percent,” Zimmerman said.Martinez would go through a particular reliever’s appearances, say, to try to pick up something that could be useful. Maybe it was whether the pitch selection was optimal — “Does he need to throw more cutters? Does he need to throw more sliders?” — or whether there was some bit of body language that served as a tell the player was tiring.Martinez jotted down notes on paper, transferred them to a computer, then forwarded thoughts and questions to the club’s analytics staff in an effort to mesh what he’d seen with what the numbers seemed to say.“What I’ve seen so far,” said second baseman Brian Dozier, one of eight free agents the Nationals signed during a busy offseason of roster churn, “is he does a really good job of combining old school with new school.”Before agreeing to his one-year contract with Washington, Dozier was wooed by Martinez during a phone call. Truth is Bruce Rondon Jersey , Dozier said, their conversation wasn’t all that much about baseball or even the Nationals — much of it was about their mutual hobby of duck hunting.That’s Martinez’s way. He said he considers communication and conversation to be his greatest skills as a skipper.“The minute we get players, I start calling them up,” Martinez said. “I want to know them and what they’re all about. See what makes them tick. Build that relationship with them.”That style was shaped by 16 years as a player in the majors.Also by 10 years as a bench coach.Nationals GM Mike Rizzo, who gave Martinez a three-year deal with an option for a fourth in October 2017, calls his manager “an extremely smart baseball man” who “handles the game extremely well.”Rizzo pointed to injuries as a major factor in last season’s disappointment. Martinez did, too, but also set about finding ways to win more.“It would be easy for him to kind of sit back and say, ‘Last year just wasn’t our year, for whatever reason.’ But I think he really internalized a lot of it and is handling it in a proactive way,” Doolittle said. “That has an effect on guys here. Like: We’re not going to wait. We can’t dig ourselves a hole in the division. We’ve got to go from Day 1 — and go right at that storm.”
05-12-2019 10:37 PM
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05-24-2019 09:52 PM
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