ST. PETERSBURG — OF Wil Myers played his 57th big-league game Tuesday, a small sampling for sure, but large enough for some teams to have faced him or scouted him, developed a video library on him and come up with ways to pitch to him.
That could explain the two-week slump he carried into the game, the one that dropped his average from .340 to .296.
“I know the easy get on that is he's been scouted, people are pitching him differently,” manager Joe Maddon said. “I'm not seeing that as much.”
What Maddon sees is the same batting stance, the same bat speed that carried him to that .340 average. He also sees Myers fouling off good pitches instead of putting them in play as he had, and expanding his strike zone in certain situations.
“It's not unlike what (3B Evan Longoria) went through a couple of days ago, weeks ago,” Maddon said. “Right now, you're seeing missing his pitch, fouling it off, and lately you're seeing chasing a bit in a bad moment.”
Myers said Monday after his 0-for-4 day in Kansas City that he is not seeing the ball well, a common complaint among hitters in a slump. He hit .167 during his 14 games prior to Tuesday night, with two doubles, one home run, nine RBIs, three walks and 20 strikeouts.
“He just has to play through it,” Maddon said. “We're talking to him about some small technical things, nothing really big. He looks a lot like when he was hot. It's just that he's missing his pitch right now. Probably what he's thinking right now might have changed a little bit. His confidence has been dinged a little bit. But overall I think he's fine.”
The Rays have yet to announce where LHP Matt Moore will pitch Thursday.
Moore (sore left elbow) is scheduled to join the rotation Sept. 3 in Anaheim. LHP David Price is scheduled to pitch that night. Maddon said Price will be pushed back a day.
Triple-A Durham manager Charlie Montoyo was named the International League Manager of the Year, an honor he also won in 2010.
The Bulls won the South Division title for the sixth time in the last seven years.
“No surprise,” RHP Chris Archer said. “Charlie has been consistently successful for many years.”
American Legion week
The Rays did not take on-field batting practice Tuesday. They won't during the remaining two games of this series with the Angels.
Maddon is allowing the players to report late to get a little more rest during this run of 37 games in 38 days that began with Friday's game against the Yankees. Show up and play, just like they did when they played American Legion ball.
“I just saw Matty Joyce and James Loney walking in,” Maddon said when addressing reporters at 4:45 p.m. Tuesday. “Absolutely love it. That's exactly the spirit of American Legion baseball.”
A banner from the Town & Country Memorial Post No. 152 American Legion hall hung in the Rays clubhouse. Maddon will pick up the beer tab tonight at the hall.
Maddon said he received a text message from Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer over the weekend wishing the Rays continued success.
“He said we're always welcome up there at the big horseshoe,” Maddon said.
The dress theme for the upcoming West Cost trip is favorite college football team jersey. Maddon is awaiting delivery of a Lafayette No. 12 jersey. ... Durham RHP J.D. Martin was named the International League Pitcher of the Year. He led the IL and set Bulls record with 15 wins. ... Rays prospects LHP Grayson Garvin, RHP Merrill Kelly, LHP Mike Montgomery, RHP Matt Ramsey, C Curt Casali, INF Ryan Brett, INF Richie Shaffer, OF Todd Glaesmann will play in the Arizona Fall League.