OAKLAND, Calif. — LHP Drew Smyly is a bit of a mystery to his new teammates, who got their first up-close look at him Tuesday night when he made his Rays debut against the A’s.
Though the Rays faced Smyly just over a month ago, it will take some time for manager Joe Maddon to know exactly what he has in the 25-year-old, who is in his third big-league season.
“It’s unusual for us to break in somebody new like this in the middle of the season,” Maddon said. “This is cold turkey right now.”
The last pitcher acquired in a midseason trade to start for the Rays was RHP Jae Seo in 2007.
When asked how long he expects it will take before he understands Smyly, Maddon said, “Probably a month, I would say, by the September run. By then I should have a pretty good idea what the warning signs are, what is enough, what does he look like when it’s getting a little ratty or is he going to work through this. I think maybe a month should be a good break-in period, 500 miles, 5,000 miles, I don’t know.”
One that got away
The Rays made their share of mistakes in Monday’s 3-2 loss in 10 innings, but Maddon was more upset with the work of home plate umpire C.B. Bucknor during the 10th inning. Maddon was ejected by first base ump Quinn Wolcott after Wolcott ruled A’s 3B Josh Donaldson checked his swing on what would have been strike three.
“That’s not boarder line, that was egregious and that’s what I had a problem with, because I had been patient all night with a lot of stuff,” Maddon said of Wolcott’s call. “Some of the umpires in this particular crew you have to be patient with. So my patience ran out at that point. That call was inappropriate. I know he’s a young umpire, but hopefully he’ll learn something from it.”
RHP Grant Balfour took the loss after allowing a pair of hits on 0-2 counts and walking two batters in the inning.
Balfour was upset with not getting the call on Donaldson and with a foul pop that fell between 1B Sean Rodriguez and RF Kevin Kiermaier earlier in the at-bat.
“It’s tough when you got to get five outs sometimes. That’s all I’ll say,” Balfour said. “We got beat by a good team, and it’s tough when you got to get five outs.”
The ejection was Maddon’s fifth of the season. It was also the first time the Rays lost after Maddon was tossed.
“Every one has been justified,” Maddon said. “I was upset. That was a pretty big moment.”
Jake and Box
LHP Jake McGee and RHP Brad Boxberger have pitched a combined 45 innings during the 46 games prior to Tuesday night. The Rays were 30-16 during that run.
They have combined for a 1.40 ERA and an opponents batting average of .144. Together they have walked just nine batters and struck out 73 (44 percent of the 166 batters faced).
Boxberger extended his scoreless streak to 172⁄3 innings Monday when he retired all four batters he faced.
Daily Myers update
RF Wil Myers (right wrist fracture) worked out Tuesday in Port Charlotte. He will work out today at the Trop, then fly to Durham.
Myers is expected to work out with the Triple-A Bulls on Thursday and Friday. Maddon said the plan is to have Myers begin his minor-league rehab assignment during the weekend.
Monday’s loss snapped an eight-game road winning streak. ... The Tigers-Yankees game was on the clubhouse TV on Tuesday and some of the Rays watched former teammate David Price make his debut with the Tigers. “I saw David. It was weird with the orange thing (logo) on the top of his hat, otherwise the colors were very close,” Maddon said. ... The Rays will face another member of the 2008 AL championship team Saturday — Cubs RHP Edwin Jackson.