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Adames' bat heating up on the road

@baseballexis
July 28, 2019

TORONTO -- A road trip might have been just what the doctor ordered to remedy the struggles Willy Adames had been having at the plate. In the Rays’ 3-1 series-opening win over the Blue Jays on Friday at Rogers Centre, the 23-year-old shortstop snapped an 0-for-15 skid with a ninth-inning

TORONTO -- A road trip might have been just what the doctor ordered to remedy the struggles Willy Adames had been having at the plate.

In the Rays’ 3-1 series-opening win over the Blue Jays on Friday at Rogers Centre, the 23-year-old shortstop snapped an 0-for-15 skid with a ninth-inning double, also drawing a walk in a 1-for-3 night. On Saturday, Adames started right where he left off, getting the visitors on the board with a three-run home run in the second inning of a 10-9 loss to Toronto in 12.

Adames followed with a tying home run on Sunday in the Rays' 10-9 comeback win over the Blue Jays.

“I hope [it’s a sign of things to come],” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “I know we ask a lot of these young guys to pick us up when there’s some void or injury stuff. It certainly would be nice if Willy and some other guys were able to get on a little bit of a run and do some special things for us. … We need guys who have scuffled here a little bit lately to turn it on."

The young infielder from the Dominican Republic -- who entered Sunday’s game leading American League shortstops with nine Defensive Runs Saved -- went 1-for-4 with a walk on Sunday. He went into the weekend hitting .162/.195/.230 in 20 games in July with five doubles and 31 strikeouts.

Adames was slotted into the nine hole for all three games against the Blue Jays, the spot where he has done the most damage this season. He's slashing .306./385/.541 with four home runs, six doubles, one triple and 11 RBIs in 24 games out of the bottom spot in the lineup.

“I don’t think anybody enjoys hitting ninth,” Cash said. “Nobody wants to be last, especially if you’re a hitter who likes to hit. You want to get up there as many times as possible. … For Adames, it’s basically [about] getting on time.

“You watch from the side, you can see when he’s on time and in a good spot to hit, and then you can see some other times where it’s a little bit of a battle for him and it’s more about fighting off pitches rather than looking to do damage with pitches.”

The 6-foot, 205-pound Adames also has some of the most extreme home and road splits this season, a trend he carried into Toronto. Adames is hitting .296/.370/.534 in 51 games on the road, compared to .171/.217/.229 in 49 contests at Tropicana Field.

“If you go through baseball, there are a lot of guys who have some quirky splits, year to year,” Cash said. “We don’t think it’s anything consistent. We’ve just got to do everything we can to get Willy being as complete and consistent a player as possible.”

Including Sunday's long ball, 11 of his 12 homers, 12 of his 17 doubles and 24 of his 31 RBIs have come while the team is traveling. Adames’ impressive run on the road continued north of the border amid an offensive outburst from the Rays, despite the trouble Tampa Bay’s bullpen had in nailing the game down.

Faria returns to roster
After using every man in the bullpen over the first two games of the series against the Blue Jays, and seven pitchers in Saturday’s extra-inning loss, the Rays recalled Jake Faria from Triple-A Durham ahead of Sunday’s series finale. Catcher Michael Perez was optioned to Durham after Saturday's game.

Faria pitched two innings in Sunday's 10-9 comeback win over the Blue Jays, allowing one run run on three hits and a walk and striking out two.

“He’s going to provide some length,” Cash said. “When we sent Jake out last time, we were pretty encouraged with the way the stuff was looking. The message was [that] the stuff might be as good as it’s ever been; let’s get you over the plate a little bit more consistently. If that shows up, he’s going to be a pretty good two-inning or three-inning weapon for us.”

In seven appearances and 10 innings at the Major League level this season, including Sunday, Faria has allowed three runs on 10 hits with seven walks and 11 strikeouts. Over the three outings the California native had for the Bulls in his latest stint in the International League, the righty allowed one run on four hits with four walks and 10 strikeouts across 7 1/3 frames.

“I went down and kept the same thing going,” Faria said. “The biggest thing when I got sent down last time was just trying to get the ball in the strike zone a little more, so I’ve just been trying to do more of that.

“I feel like the way I’ve been throwing the ball, the confidence is there like it was in 2017. So every time you’re given the ball, it’s a chance to show what you’ve got. So hopefully I can continue to do that.”

Alexis Brudnicki is a reporter/editor for MLB.com based in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter @baseballexis.