5/17/2014 2:58 A.M. ET
Boxberger's strategy backfires against Trout
By Bill Chastain / MLB.com
ANAHEIM -- Brad Boxberger "tripled down" when he threw three consecutive changeups to Mike Trout in the ninth inning of Thursday night's 6-5 loss to the Angels. Trout made him pay on the third one by hitting a walk-off, three-run homer over the wall in left.
Trout's homer came after Rays manager Joe Maddon lifted closer Grant Balfour in favor of Boxberger with runners at the corners, no outs and the Rays clinging to a 5-3 lead.
Tripling down is "no different than throwing three fastballs in a row," said Maddon, noting that he made the decision to lift Balfour in favor of Boxberger because Balfour wasn't right, and he was hoping to get strikeouts and that Boxberger has been really good at "missing bats."
Maddon said there is nothing wrong with tripling down as doing so can create a mind game with the hitter, like the pitcher would not possibly think about throwing another changeup.
"Boxy has a great changeup, not an OK one," Maddon said. "The last one was in a bad spot. Primarily, that's what it came down to, location. He could have bounced that, there's other things he could have done. I'll never denigrate Boxy for throwing his changeup. It's one of the best changeups in all of baseball. But he also has a good fastball, and he has a good curveball.
"But that was the route he chose yesterday. And I've had this conversation with him before. I will not second guess him ever using his changeup."
Ramos getting more action on two-seamer
ANAEIM -- Cesar Ramos credits a lot of his success to the action he gets on the ball when he throws his two-seam fastball.
"It's got like a running, sinking action," Ramos said. "For me, it's been huge. Especially since I've been in the Major Leagues. The movement I get on the Major League ball is so much different than what I got in the Minor Leagues."
Ramos demonstrated how he grabs the pitch by placing his fingers along the seams where they are narrow. He notes that the seams of the baseball are bigger in the Minor Leagues.
"Here, they're lower and tighter," Ramos said. "When I started throwing my two-seamer in the Major Leagues, it would sink and run. It goes down and in to a lefty and away from the righty. I've had a lot of success doing that with lefties and righties and it kind of sets up everything else."
Getting back to the ball, Ramos said making the transition from the Minor League ball to the Major League ball brings a huge learning curve in regard to the things a pitcher can do with each.
"Even the texture of the ball is different," Ramos said. "It's day and night. It really is. I just think your movement is different in the Major Leagues than it is in the Minor Leagues."
Ramos could feel the difference in the ball and once he began pitching in Major League games, he could see the difference.
"I started noticing, 'Hey, 'I threw that down and in to a lefty and he swung over it,'" Ramos said. "Whereas, before it was probably a foul ball."
Guyer making adjustments in new part-time role
ANAHEIM -- Brandon Guyer has not seen a lot of action this season, playing in 20 games and having just 41 plate appearances heading into Friday night's action.
He did get a chance to play Thursday night, when he started in left field, and he made the most of his opportunity, going 2-for-3 with his first home run and two RBIs to move his average to .211.
"He had a really nice night," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "The base hit, the home run to right-center. He had himself a really good evening, and I'm really happy for him."
Like a lot of players breaking into the Major Leagues, Guyer has had to get used to not playing every day. He's hopeful that Thursday night's game might lead to some positive things happening in the future.
"Games like that can always help with things like confidence," said Guyer, who noted that he understands his role as an extra outfielder. "When it comes down to it with my role, I just have to be ready for whatever comes my way. Whenever they decide to put me in, whether it's start the game or come in later -- pinch-hit or whatever, I just, no matter what, have to be ready."
When a player finds himself in a situation like Guyer's, the tendency can be to press. When asked if he's been pressing a bit, he said, "Maybe I have."
"I don't think I go out there trying to prove that, 'Hey, if I have a good game, I can get in there again,'" Guyer said. "I know that's not my role. So it's just a matter of experience. Getting used to the role. I didn't know what to expect, to tell you the truth. But it's definitely been different and a challenge. From the beginning of the season to now, I feel like I've come a long way."
Guyer noted that he did take a slightly different approach Thursday night.
"Last night, more than any time this year, I was more aggressive," Guyer said. "I feel like I've taken a lot of strikes, fallen behind and getting to two strikes way too much. Because [against] pitchers I haven't seen I'm going in there [and going to] see a pitch. See what they have. So maybe that's a little adjustment I can make. Be more aggressive, but still look for a pitch. Not just swing at anything."
Jennings goes on bereavement list
ANAHEIM -- The Rays were in a little bit of a juggling mode following Friday night's 3-0 win over the Angels.
Desmond Jennings went on the bereavement list because of a death in his family and will be away from the team until Tuesday.
Kevin Kiermaier will be in uniform on Saturday to take Jennings' place.
Meanwhile, the Rays are taking a wait-and-see approach with catcher Ryan Hanigan, who left Friday's game prior to the bottom of the eighth with a right hamstring problem that arose when he grounded out to end the seventh.
Hanigan told reporters that he received treatment for the issue, which he felt was caused by either cramping or a mild strain.
Rays manager Joe Maddon noted that if Hanigan is not available, Sean Rodriguez will be the emergency catcher and after Rodriguez, the duty would fall to Wil Myers. The Rays outfielder once played catcher in the Royals' farm system.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.