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Tuesday, Dec 12, 2017
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Rays Journal: Duda home run sets Rays record

BALTIMORE -- With one swing of the bat, Rays DH/1B Lucas Duda broke a team record and tied a personal mark in Saturday's game against the Orioles that was not complete at press time.

Duda's three-run homer in the third was the Rays' 217th of the season, surpassing the team standard set last year. And it was his 30th overall of the season split between the Mets and Rays, matching his high from 2014.

Logan Morrison raised the team record to 218 in the ninth with his 37th of the season, though it was his first homer -- and RBI -- since Sept. 4.

RHP Jake Odorizzi continued his late-season turnaround with another solid outing, allowing just an unearned run -- on Duda's first-inning error -- and three hits over six innings.

That was the fourth straight start in which Odorizzi allowed two or fewer earned runs. Twice in the previous three starts he took a no-hitter into the sixth.

After Duda's homer gave them a 3-1 lead, the Rays added on with two in the seventh, taking advantage of some sloppy Orioles play. 

The Rays were looking to improve to 76-79 but would remain five games behind the second AL wild-card-holding Twins, who won earlier, with seven games left. That would mean any combination of three Twins wins or Rays losses officially ends their hopes. To avoid a fourth straight losing season, the Rays would have to go 5-2.

Orioles RHP Jeremy Hellickson did well in his first start against his ex-Rays mates, working six innings, allowing three runs and four hits and striking out four.

Incentive driven
C Wilson Ramos' next start will be a significant one, as it earns him a $2 million raise for next season, bumping his 2018 salary to $10.5 million. In signing Ramos last winter to a two-year, $12.5 million deal, the Rays included several incentives based on how much Ramos was able to play this year in addition to his $4 million salary. He returned ahead of schedule in late June and by making his next start -- his 55th -- and not finishing the year on the DL, he hits the biggest bonus by upping his 2018 take. Ramos had another $3 million in incentives, tied mostly to plate appearances, that he won't reach. 1B Logan Morrison has already cashed in on his $1.25 million in incentives, based mostly on plate appearances, increasing his pay to $3.75 million. RHP Tommy Hunter has hit the first $1 million of his appearance incentives in addition to his $1.4 million salary and will make another $250,000 with two more.

Numbers of the day 
72/3, 11 Innings Chris Archer is shy of 200 for a third straight season; strikeouts his is shy of his team record of 252

Archer on the hill
Manager Kevin Cash said the question of whether RHP Chris Archer -- at 9-11, 4.02 -- is having a good year probably wouldn't come up if he hadn't been struggling in September, with a forearm tightness scare followed by two bad outings. "If that happens in May we're probably not even talking about it," he said. "The last couple outings had been rough, I was glad to see him turn it around against the Cubs; he still got the loss but he pitched well. I'd like to see him get a couple more wins."

For instructional purposes
2016 first-round pick OF Josh Lowe and big-bucks international signees INF Wander Franco and INF Adrian Rondon highlight a 48-player instructional league squad that opens a hurricane-abbreviated eight-game schedule Monday in Bradenton. That includes a Thursday 1 p.m. game at the Trop against the Braves, open to fans for no charge. (Enter through Gate 4 starting at noon; no concessions will be open.) SS Matt Duffy, who missed the entire major-league season, is expected to play in some of the games.


Miscellany 
.     RHP Alex Cobb is still listed as the probable starter Thursday in New York, but that seems likely to change. Cobb, a free-agent-to-be, is likely done for the year based on his heavy workload (1791/3 innings) in his first full season post-Tommy John surgery. RHP Jake Faria would seem the logical replacement.
.     1B Lucas Duda's first-inning errant toss ended a six-game errorless streak by the Rays.
.     As of late Saturday afternoon, neither LHP Xavier Cedeno nor 3B coach Charlie Montoyo had heard from relatives in hurricane-damaged Puerto Rico.

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