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Sunday, Nov 23, 2014
Rays

Rays notes: Maddon says replay needs tweaks

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— Rays manager Joe Maddon knows the video replay system utilized by the league for the first time this season remains a work in progress and bugs will continue to be worked on moving forward.

After losing his challenge Saturday when the ruling was upheld — not confirmed — that RF Kevin Kiermaier was called out trying to steal third, Maddon has an idea borrowed from radio announcer Dave Wills he’d like to suggest.

“When a play is called, and the play stands (after review), that you would not lose your challenge,” Maddon said. “Because basically what they are saying (when it’s not confirmed) is that it could have went either way, it’s inconclusive, as opposed to a play that has been confirmed where I as the manager was wrong and the umpires are right.”

Maddon went even further to suggest that the on-field umpires be taken out of the equation and a video umpire be in control of reviewing all close plays and determining if the call on the field is correct.

“Even to include more plays without necessarily challenges, anything close can be replayed almost instantaneously from within the ballpark. I think all those things are within our abilities,” Maddon said. “I think all these things are going to be addressed. I like instant replay, I think it’s good and we knew there were going to be some items that need to be polished up as we move further along. And for me, if that play (Saturday) can’t be overturned, nothing can be. It was obvious to us.”

The replay process worked in Tampa Bay’s favor Sunday when an out call on Desmond Jennings at first was overturned and allowed the tying run to score in the top of the sixth, a challenge Maddon said he wasn’t sure how it would turn out.

“I did not think we were going to get that one,” Maddon said. “We’ve had others I thought should go our way that did not, like (Saturday), and today I had no clue and if they had called it the other way, I would have said here we go again. But you have to keep going out there.”

McGee gets the call

In the bullpen-by-committee method the Rays are currently utilizing, LHP Jake McGee was called on to record the final three outs in the ninth Sunday and pick up his first save of the season.

“I like any kind of adrenaline coming out of the bullpen,” McGee said. “This was only the second save of my career, so coming through in any big situation to help the team win is good.”

Escobar delivers

SS Yunel Escobar entered Sunday in an 0-for-14 slump at the plate, but reached base four times, drove in a pair of runs, scored one and picked up a pair of hits.

Though Escobar, who was unavailable after the game, is in the lineup primarily for his defense, Maddon wants to see contributions offensively as well.

“When he can contribute offense like that, it’s very, very big for us and he was big today,” Maddon said.

Looking to build

RHP Jake Odorizzi suffered his seventh loss of the season in his last start against St. Louis, but went a career high 71⁄3 innings pitched to take a 1-0 loss. Odorizzi retired the first 11 batters he faced, did not allow a hit until the fifth and allowed the only run to score on a solo home run by Matt Holliday.

Odorizzi hopes to build off that performance when he takes the mound to start a three-game series at home against Baltimore today.

“It was nice to get past that six-inning mark,” Odorizzi said. “I’ve just been consistently attacking the (strike) zone with everything. If you get all pitches in the zone you start getting in hitters’ minds, it starts to move their bats a little bit more.”

Crooked number

The five-run third inning put up by Houston on Saturday was the 42nd time this season the Rays have allowed three or more runs in an inning, most in baseball.

Those five runs were all unearned after a two-out error committed by SP Chris Archer on a dropped ball on a play at first base. In the past five seasons, only one other Rays pitcher has allowed five unearned runs in a game — LHP David Price on May 4, 2013 at Colorado.

Rehab update

OF Brandon Guyer, out since May 26 with a broken thumb, went 1-for-6 for Durham on Saturday as the DH at Indianapolis. Guyer started in right field for the Bulls on Sunday.

RHP Jeremy Hellickson threw a bullpen session Saturday and is scheduled to make his third rehab start for Durham on Tuesday at Louisville.

Noteworthy

Durham manager Charlie Montoyo recorded his 600th career victory Saturday. … The Rays open a 10-game homestand today to close out a stretch of 18 out of 21 at home. … Tampa Bay improved to 9-8 all-time on Father’s Day. ... The road series win for the Rays is the first since May 12-14 at Seattle. ... Tampa Bay has won 14 of the past 17 games against Houston and 10 of the past 12 at Minute Maid Park.

Erik Erlendsson

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