ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays have become an adventure — or maybe a misadventure? — on the basic paths. And Randy Arozarena continues to walk a tightrope between aggression and poor decision-making.
Perhaps he was clouded by the excitement of Sunday’s 5-2 win over the Red Sox at Tropicana Field. But the telling statistics continue to mount.
The Rays have been ejected 11 times leading MLB on base. Arozarena is the biggest offender, having been sent off four times, the most by any individual so far this season.
In the second inning, Arozarena was kicked out at second base, trying to stretch a double, by Red Sox right fielder Rob Refsnyder. The play was tight but confirmed after a video review. In the sixth, Red Sox reliever Jake Diekman threw a wild pitch, allowing Kevin Kiermaier to score from third. Arozarena tried to score from second place but was tagged by Diekman.
“I think Randy took an invisible pill this morning,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said.
Asked about the line between aggressiveness and safety, Cash replied, “I want him to be safe.”
Kiermaier said he was ready to live with Arozarena’s all-encompassing approach.
“You don’t want to cross that line, but Randy is in a league of his own,” Kiermaier said. “He is so aggressive. That being said, we have to be smart about some things.
“He’s a guy who just flew home out of nowhere in the playoffs, and it was a huge game. He’s electric, everything he does. Of course we try to limit outs on the bases, but at the same time create as many chances as possible offensively and not give up. Things like that happen. We can’t take away Randy’s aggression.
time of choice
Ji-Man Choi’s base-loaded double tied the game at 2 in the fifth inning. Choi, at bat for Taylor Walls after inserting Red Sox reliever Ryan Brasier, has reached seven consecutive appearances since July 22 (three doubles, four walks, seven RBIs).
Additionally, it was Choi’s first base-loaded plate appearance since Sept. 10 (a three-run brace in Detroit). He is a career .375 hitter (9 for 24) with bases loaded, including two doubles, two home runs and 36 RBIs. Prior to Choi’s brace, the Rays were 1-for-12 as a team in base-loaded situations this season.
“Any time he comes off the bench, you can just think 100 percent of the time he’s going to get a hit,” said Rays infielder Yandy Diaz, who set up the baseline. charged by getting hit by a pitch from Phillips Valdez.
The Capture of Kiermaier
A day after his first career home run, Kiermaier had another jaw-dropping moment with an over-the-shoulder field goal catch on Alex Verdugo’s sixth inning on the center field warning lane. .
“He practices this catch every day,” Cash said. “He caught it as a routine popup above his head.”
Kiermaier said: “I expect this game to play 10 times out of 10. I felt in control and I knew I could do this (play). »
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Rays prospect Tyler Zombro, who pitched for the first time in 325 days after being hit in the head with a batted ball, worked a scoreless inning for Triple-A Durham on Sunday in Norfolk. When Zombro entered the game, the Norfolk video card displayed his picture with the words: “WELCOME BACK TYLER!” Players from both teams emerged from their dugouts to applaud. Zombro now wears a protective helmet under his hat. … Diaz was back in training after clearing COVID protocols. Reliever Jeffrey Springs was out after showing symptoms. Receiver Francisco Mejia is improving but still out and uncertain when he will return. Cash said another Rays staffer tested positive. “We’re just trying to keep this thing contained a bit,” Cash said. “As we’ve learned, it’s hard to do that.” … Vidal Brujan, recalled from Durham, started at second base and went 0-for-3. … The ray throwers didn’t allow runs in 24 of 28 innings against the Red Sox (or hits in 19 of 28 innings). … Ryan Thompson recorded his second career save (also Sept. 19, 2020 in Baltimore).
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