Tuesday, July 17, 2018


Marc Topkin, Times staff writer

Marc Topkin, Times staff writer

Marc Topkin has covered baseball for the Times since 1987 — from the lengthy effort to secure a team, to the awarding of the Tampa Bay franchise in 1995, and through each of the Rays seasons starting in 1998. He has traveled throughout the United States with the team, as well as to Canada, Venezuela, Mexico and Japan, and has covered All-Star Games and the World Series, as well as Super Bowls and the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece.

Rays pitcher Blake Snell being interviewed during media day on July 16, 2018, the day before MLB's All Star Game. (MARC TOPKIN   |   Times)

Rays’ Blake Snell now in a starring role

WASHINGTON — Blake Snell first got the feeling after arriving at the All-Star hotel late Sunday night. He'd shared the first-class cabin on the Delta flight from Minneapolis with Rays teammate Wilson Ramos plus manager Kevin Cash and his...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Nationals slugger Bryce Harper stands with his father, Ron Harper, who pitched to him during his victory in the home run derby Monday night. [Associated Press]

Bryce Harper wins All-Star home run derby

WASHINGTON — Nationals star Bryce Harper has not had a lot to enjoy in his last season before free agency, struggling — at least by his usual standards — with a .214 average and other deficiencies in his game.Monday...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Rays relief pitcher Ryne Stanek delivers a pitch in the second inning against the Tigers on July 10, 2018. (CHRIS URSO   |   Times)

Rays journal: Some warn that pitching strategy comes at a price

WASHINGTON — The success the Rays have had during two months of using a game opener followed by a relieving starter seems to have tamed some of the criticism of the unusual plan.Until Arizona ace Zack Greinke, a Cy Young award...
Updated: 12 hours ago
The scene mid-day Monday at Nationals Park. It will be busier later with the All-Star workouts and Home Run Derby. [MARC  TOPKIN | Times]

Live from Washington: Rays Blake Snell was under consideration for All-Star start

UPDATE, 2:33: AL manager A.J. Hinch said  Snell, even though he wasn't named to team until Friday, was in the mix to start the game, that he was "not too far behind," though Boston's Chris Sale was chosen.  Snell is likely to be...
Published: 07/16/18
The Rays bullpen players run out to the field in the seventh inning during a benches-clearing  altercation on July 15, 2018. (Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS)

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Sunday’s Rays-Twins game

There are times when Rays OF Carlos Gomez looks lackadaisical, but he made an urgent dash in from rightfield to near the mound when the benches first cleared and was ready for any action. Reminiscent of Jonny Gomes in...
Published: 07/15/18
Rays and Twins meet in a bench-clearing argument as tempers flared after a balk call in the seventh inning on July 15, 2018. (Associated Press)

Rays journal: Twins grand slam ends heated game

MINNEAPOLIS — That the Brian Dozier walkoff grand slam in the 10th inning that beat the Rays 11-7 was only part of the drama probably tells you all you need to know about Sunday's 4½-hour plus roller coaster ride, which included two...
Published: 07/15/18
Rays outfielder Malex Smith dives safely into first base in front of Twins first baseman Joe Mauer's tag in the fourth inning Sunday, July 15, 2018. [Associated Press]

Rays lose hot-tempered game to Twins 11-7 on walkoff grand slam

MINNEAPOLIS – The Rays didn't have quite enough fight in them Sunday.Brian Dozier hit a walkoff grand slam in the 10th inning to give the Twins an 11-7 win in a back-and-forth and hot-tempered game that sent the Rays into the...
Published: 07/15/18
Catcher Wilson Ramos Wilson Ramos leads the Rays with 53 RBIs and all regulars with an .832 OPS and a .372 average with runners in scoring position. [MONICA HERNDON  |  Times]

Wilson Ramos injury is a giant pain for Rays

MINNEAPOLIS — The immediate reaction around the Rays to the extent of catcher Wilson Ramos' hamstring injury is disappointment, everyone knowing how much he was looking forward to playing in Tuesday's All-Star Game in...
Published: 07/15/18
Rays catcher Wilson Ramos, shown earlier this season, was voted in as the starting catcher for the American League in next week's All-Star Game.(MONICA HERNDON | Times)

Rays Wilson Ramos is “going to miss some time”

The Rays don't have an exact timetable yet for how long C Wilson Ramos will be sidelined, but it sounds like it could be weeks, or maybe even months, which could impact and possibly eliminate the opportunity to trade him."Not the best"...
Published: 07/15/18
Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Ryne Stanek (55) delivers a pitch in the second inning against the Detroit Tigers Tuesday, July 10, 2018 in St. Petersburg. CHRIS URSO   |   Times

For starters: Rays at Twins, with a lot going on

UPDATE, 1:03: Cash said it's "not the best" news on Ramos, who has a left hamstring issue. … No set timetable but "he's going to miss some time." … Duffy was scratched from the lineup after all, the Rays deciding...
Published: 07/15/18