Maybe it’s time we stop talking about the Rays as sellers? Just a thought.
The Rays rolled to their eighth straight win last night with a 6-4 victory over the Red Sox at Tropicana Field. The game featured a great pitching matchup between David Price and Jon Lester, two names who have surfaced in trade rumors in recent weeks. The Rays actually trailed in this one until they rallied against Boston’s bullpen in the seventh inning. Ben Zobrist tied things up with an RBI single before Evan Longoria delivered a bases-clearing double down the left field line to put the Rays in front for good.
Price allowed three runs over eight innings and struck out 10 batters. He has now gone at least eight innings in eight out of his last nine starts.
On the strength of their recent hot streak, the Rays are now 50-53 for the year. This is the closest they have been to .500 since early May. They currently sit 7 1/2 games back of the first-place Orioles in the American League East and 4 1/2 back for one of the Wild Card spots.
Your Friday box scores:
Red Sox 4, Rays 6
Cardinals 6, Cubs 7
Blue Jays 4, Yankees 6
Diamondbacks 5, Phillies 9
Athletics 1, Rangers 4
Nationals 4, Reds 1
Indians 4, Royals 6
Padres 5, Braves 2
Marlins 2, Astros 0
White Sox 9, Twins 5
Mets 3, Brewers 2
Pirates 1, Rockies 8
Tigers 1, Angels 2
Dodgers 8, Giants 1
Orioles 2, Mariners 1 (10 innings)
Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that Phillies owner John Middleton flew to Las Vegas for a meeting with Bryce Harper on Friday. Per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, it’s “more of a meet-and-greet than a sign-a-deal” affair, but as the club is still at the forefront of trade rumors involving the All-Star slugger, there remains a possibility (however slight) that something could be completed in the days to come.
Even now, the Phillies aren’t alone in the race to sign Harper, but recent rumors have helped whittle down the competition from five or more teams (Phillies, Nationals, White Sox, Giants, and Padres) to three strong contenders. The Giants are said to be interested in a lucrative short-term deal with the outfielder, while the Padres remain in the conversation despite inking Manny Machado to a mammoth 10-year, $300 million contract this week. It’s not yet clear just how far either team would go to outbid Philadelphia as talks with Harper intensify.
As for the Nationals and White Sox, the former officially bowed out earlier today, and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman adds that the latter won’t make a strong play for Harper as they feel the asking price and competing offers are “getting too high” for the 26-year-old’s services. If a mystery team is still in the mix, there’s been no word on their standing with Harper in the last month or so.