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Rays beat the Jay and Have Best 7 Game Start in Club History

The Rays win this series against the Toronto Blue Jays and the home stand.  This 5-2 start is the best in club history. They are 3 games over .500 for the first time since July 2, 2015.  

The game had a rough 1st inning for starter Jake Odorizzi.  Josh Donaldson hit a home run his first time at the plate and Troy Tulowitzki hit a grounder to score Jose Bautista.  Once Odorizzi was out of the 1st he settled down and had a great outing.  Even a line drive to the hamstring off the bat of Bautista in the 3rd would not shake him.

When you’re hot you’re hot and the Rays bats are on fire.  When you look at the lineup, you can’t point to one or two players that are getting it done it is the whole team.  Today there was 7 runs scored and 3 home runs by Rays hitters.  Steven Souza Jr and Jesus Sucre are responsible for 6 of the 7 of the RBIs.  Cash said that this team is built to have “all 25 guys come into our winning performances and that’s what we have been seeing”

In his post-game press conference Manager Kevin Cash was asked what Odorizzi changed after the 1st; “I’m really not sure.  It was a pretty gutsy performance by Jake.” He went on to say that Odorizzi would “probably say he felt better his first start” but he was able to keep a very strong offense quiet.

Souza is having a great start to the season.  Cash was asked about what he had changed to make the improvement.  He attributed the increased success to his “comfort when he gets in the box”.  He’s been working with hitting coach Chad Mattola “mentally preparing to get in the box” and “staying positive”.  

Cash was asked about the benches clearing.  He said he understood the way the slide Souza Jr took could look, but he said it was a “good thing nobody got hurt on the play.”  Souza Jr said “I’m not going to play every game and wonder if Tulo is gonna get upset about it. I’m playing hard and if he thinks I’m trying to be malicious he clearly doesn’t know who I am”.


Jesus Sucre was another top performer today.  He came off the bench and was not only able to guide Odorizzi through the rough start to the game but also get 3 RBIs.  Cash said he had a great game, “We saw Sucre in spring training.  He got a lot of big hits for us.  The bat to ball skill was there.” 

Kevin Kiermaier had also had a great day at the plate.  He went 3-1 with a triple. In the 7th Kiermaier disagreed on a call made by home plate umpire Mike Muchlinski which resulted in his first career ejection.  When asked about the ejection he said  “I didn’t even know that I got ejected until Daniel Robertson told me”.  Kiermaier said the this “wasn’t the way I pictured my first ejection.  I wish I would have gotten my money’s worth”.  

The ejection was due to comments that Kiermaier made from the dugout about a call Muchlinski had made.  He said he felt the balls were low and after the incident looked at game tape to confirm his belief.  Kiermaier said he the situation got his “blood boiling” and he “didn’t do a good job holding his anger back”.  He said he knows the team needs him on the field.


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