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Tuesday, May 22, 2018
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Rays Notes: Lueke not happy with performance

— There were a lot of tired arms in the Rays’ bullpen Saturday, which shouldn’t surprise anyone, because they combined to pick up 15 2⁄3 innings during the three-game winning streak.

So, manager Joe Maddon turned to LHP Cesar Ramos to replace RHP Jake Odorizzi in the fifth inning, then called on RHP Josh Lueke to start the sixth inning with the game tied.

“We had nothing,” Maddon said. “He was it.”

Lueke, given a rare opportunity to pitch in a high-leverage situation, allowed a home run to 3B Kelly Johnson, the first batter he faced, then two more runs the next inning as the Yankees won going away, 9-3.

“It’s frustrating,” Lueke said. “Obviously, you want to be in the situation as often as you can. There are opportunities, and you have to perform when you get them to keep getting them.”

With LHP Erik Bedard going today in the series finale, the possibility looms again of another short outing by the starting pitcher. Maddon, who used RHP Heath Bell for one inning, thinks the back end of the bullpen has recovered from Thursday’s doubleheader and Friday’s 14-inning victory. But, a short outing by Bedard could tax the bullpen again, since it lacks a true long man.

Maddon said the Rays were considering bringing up a fresh arm from Triple-A Durham.

Him again

Maddon continued his running feud with home-plate umpire Doug Eddings, arguing a pair of calls.

The first was whether RF Wil Myers was still in the batter’s box when struck by the ball he chopped in front of the plate. Myers was. The second was whether C Ryan Hanigan cleanly caught a foul tip off the bat of C Brian McCann. The replay was inconclusive, though neither of the calls can be reviewed under the expanded replay system.

“I’m going to be kind,” Maddon said of Eddings. “It’s just one of those things. It just seems we show up at the inappropriate moments in each other’s lives. I think my arguments have been legitimate over the course of time. I don’t think there’s been a stretch on any of this stuff.”

Imitation not flattery

Maddon was asked before Friday’s game about the shifts now employed by nearly every team and how some teams shift more than the Rays.

“I much prefer they thought we were nuts and it was the bastardization of the game,” Maddon said.

Maddon began using the shifts against select left-handed hitters in 2006 when he took over as manager of the Rays. It took a while for teams to do the same. Now, some teams such as the Yankees use the shift on right-handed batters.

“All I know is that it bothers me,” Maddon said. “It makes it difficult every day to gain an edge.”

Meet Tanaka

The Rays got their first look at Yankees RHP Masahiro Tanaka and reached him for a career-high eight hits, including home runs by Myers and DH Desmond Jennings.

But Tanaka settled down and improved to 4-0 after pitching seven innings.

“Once they scored those two points (on a home run by 1B Mark Teixeira) he became a different pitcher,” Maddon said.

Bronx bashers

Myers has hit safely in each of the 12 games he has played at Yankee Stadium. That is the longest hitting streak to begin a career at any of the two Yankee Stadiums.

1B James Loney had his fourth consecutive three-hit game at Yankee Stadium. Loney is batting .425 with 14 runs, eight doubles, two home runs, 17 RBIs and 10 walks in 24 games against the Yankees since the start of last season.


3B Evan Longoria went hitless for only the second time in his last 15 games played at Yankee Stadium. ... Jennings homered in his third straight game. ... SS Yunel Escobar did not play for the first time this season. ... At 5 hours, 49 minutes, Friday’s 14-inning game was the second longest by time in club history behind the 6:54 needed to play an 18-inning game last Sept. 20 against the Orioles.

Roger Mooney

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