Rays roar back with six in eighth, trail Yankees 7-6

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The Rays finally got to the Yankees’ eighth and ninth pitchers of the night.

After being held to two hits over seven scoreless innings, the Rays came back with six runs off Boone Logan and Luis Ayala in the bottom of the eighth tonight.  Evan Longoria’s three-run homer was the big blast.

The Rays also scored twice without hits: Ayala walked Sam Fuld with the bases loaded and then plunked Sean Rodriguez for another run.

For some reason, Joe Girardi left Ayala in to finish the inning.  Except for starter Dellin Betances, who faced nine batters, none of the Yankees’ eight pitchers had faced more than five batters.  That is until the terribly ineffective Ayala got to face seven.

Maybe Girardi hates the Red Sox, too.

Kyle Schwarber is “probably, arguably” in The Best Shape of His Life

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Joe Maddon just held his annual media availability here at the Winter Meetings. During the scrum he said that Kyle Schwarber “looked great the other day” at a Cubs community event and that . . . wait for it . . . “he’s in, probably, arguably in the best shape of his life.” Maddon went on to say that, if Schwarber looks good in spring training, he might even be the Cubs leadoff hitter in 2018.

Schwarber is only 24, but the former catcher turned outfielder is going to spend most of his career as a DH, with another team obviously, unless he shows the Cubs that he can be a regular defender. The Cubs would love to see him in better shape whether they keep him or shop him, and if it’s the latter, they’ll want to show potential trade partners that he can play defense so as not to limit his market. It’s in everyone’s interests for him to be lean, mean and a bit more flexible once spring training starts.

To that end, according to a recent report, Schwarber “has been on a mission this offseason to transform his body.” And now Maddon is playing up the BSOHL angle. Whether that’s salesmanship or not, all eyes are going to be on Schwarber come February.