Rays' Soriano, Davis earn monthly honors
Closer named AL Delivery Man; right-hander wins top rookie
ST. PETERSBURG -- Wade Davis and Rafael Soriano enjoyed great success in July and both were recognized for their work on Wednesday, when Davis became the recipient of the Gillette presents American League Rookie of the Month Award and Soriano won the MLB Delivery Man of the Month Award.
Davis became the first pitcher to win the rookie award this season and just the fourth Rays player in history to win the award, joining Rocco Baldelli (April and May 2003), Damon Hollins (May '05) and Evan Longoria (June '08).
"We're getting close to the home stretch and I'm getting ready to push for a little bit more," said Davis, who was not content to sit on July's results.
Davis led all rookies and was tied for second in the Majors with four wins during July, posting a 4-0 record with a 3.03 ERA in five starts. In 32 2/3 innings pitched, the 24-year-old right-hander surrendered 11 earned runs on 30 hits with nine walks and 18 strikeouts.
On July 19 at Baltimore, Davis tossed a season-high eight innings, permitting seven hits and one earned run with one walk and three strikeouts in the 8-1 victory. On Friday, Davis held the AL East-rival Yankees to two runs and four hits over seven innings of work, leading Tampa Bay to a 3-2 victory at Tropicana Field. After allowing a single and a home run to begin the game, Davis settled in to permit just two singles over the remainder of his outing.
The native of Lake Wales, Fla., has recorded victories in a career-best four consecutive starts, yielding two earned runs or fewer in each performance. Davis, who is 9-9 with a 4.21 ERA on the season, leads AL rookie pitchers in wins and opponents batting average (.257), and ranks second in ERA, games started (20), innings pitched (115 1/3) and strikeouts (75). His nine victories rank fifth on the Rays' all-time rookie list behind Rolando Arrojo (14 in 1998), Jeff Niemann (13 in 2009), Scott Kazmir (10 in '05) and David Price (10 in '09).
Other rookies to receive votes were Minnesota Twins third baseman Danny Valencia, Tigers outfielder Austin Jackson, Rays second baseman Reid Brignac and White Sox first baseman Dayan Viciedo. Davis will receive a specially designed trophy, suitably engraved, to commemorate his Rookie of the Month performance.
Soriano earned his second MLB Delivery Man of the Month Award this season for his work in July.
In a month that saw Soriano record a Major League-best 11 saves, the 30-year-old threw a perfect inning of relief six different times. Soriano allowed 11 hits that resulted in just four earned runs in 14 innings of work this past month.
Soriano posted a 2.57 ERA in 14 appearances in July, shutting down opponents at every turn. Against key opponents Minnesota and Boston, Soriano converted four consecutive saves from July 3-6.
"The body of work -- it's obvious what he's done, but he's made everybody before him better," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "Being able to slot everybody before him and taking care of those eight innings, because you know the ninth inning has its own head, basically."
It only continued what has been a dominant season for the hurler. Soriano, who also took home Delivery Man honors in May, has recorded 31 saves on the season. He carries a 1.85 ERA into play on Wednesday.
"From a manager's perspective, he makes you a lot smarter as a manager by doing what he does," Maddon said. "Having a closer like that makes you appear to be brighter than you actually are. He's really done that for all of us."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.