Beckham has another big game as Rays mash Marlins

by Gary Shelton on May 5, 2017 · 1 comment

in general, Tampa Bay Rays

Beckham circles third on the first of his two homers./CARMEN MANDATO

Beckham circles third on the first of his two homers./CARMEN MANDATO

Friday, 4 a.m.

Bad news for the Tim Beckham critics out there.

He was very good again on Thursday night.

Beckham, the often-criticized shortstop of the Tampa Bay Rays, continued to provide an argument against the skeptics. He hit home runs in his first two at-bats against the Miami Marlins to lead a 5-1 victory and the team's third win in four games against their in-state rivals.

Beckham made three errors last week in three games, but those were his only three of the last 19 games. For the season, he is fourth in the AL in errors with four, but he's also fourth in assists with 80. It was his second two-home run games in a span of seven games. In his last 17 games, he's hit .338 with 10 extra base hits, four homers and 15 RBI.

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Andriese is going deeper into games./CARMEN MANDATO

Andriese is going deeper into games./CARMEN MANDATE

“It's nice being in the lineup every day,” Beckham said. “You have ups and downs throughout the season. How you take your downs speaks a lot about you. How you embrace the struggles and the different opportunities speak a lot about you.”

Beckham has been a target of the Rays' fans frustrations since he was taken No. 1 (over Buster Posey) and hasn't produced like that level of player. But Beckham does have quick wrists, and he can still give the ball a ride. His home runs Thursday night totaled 824 feet. He drove in four of the Rays' five runs.

Chih-Wei Hu pitched two thirds of an inning  in front of his parents./CARMEN MANDATO

Chih-Wei Hu pitched two thirds of an inning in front of his parents./CARMEN MANDATO

“I'm just trying to see the ball and hit the ball,” he said. “I'm not trying to do too much. I'm just trying to see a pitch in the zone and not swing at pitches out of the zone.”

Beckham's teammates have noticed.

“He's doing great, man,” said center fielder Kevin Kiermaier. “This is really his first opportunity to play every day. I'm pumped for him. You see all the tools, and he's putting it together. I know how hard he's worked and how much he cares about all of this. It's all coming together. He carried the team on his back tonight. It was fun to see.”

“Awesome,” said second baseman Brad Miller. “He's hitting bombs. He's doing all he can do.”

For the season, Beckham is hitting .278, which was the second highest (behind Corey Dickerson) in the Rays' lineup Thursday night.

“You gotta have a lot of confidence to wear those shoes he wore tonight,” said manager Kevin Cash. “I told him you better do something to pull those off. He told me not to worry about it, and he was right. Beck's having a good time out there, and he's obviously gotten some consistency. He's gotten into that everyday role. He probably hasn't had too many of those opportunities up here at the big league level. He's making the most of it right now, and he's helping us win games. That's the most important thing.”

As it turned out, it wasn't just the Tim Beckham show. Pitcher Matt Andriese went seven innings of shutout ball for his second win and lowered his ERA to 3.09. He's now thrown at least 100 pitches in three of his last four starts after failing to do so in his previous 14.

“I had a good mix going,” Andriese said. “I wouldn't say it was my finest outing in terms of command, but I kept them off-balance.”

Andriese was backed by a double play in the third that was close to being a triple play.

“He's a little bit of a complicated guy to me,” said Marlins' manager Don Mattingly. “He's a big crossover guy. He pitches off one edge and crosses over with the stride. It's a different angle.”

Alex Colome came into the ninth and threw to one batter to get his eighth save (in 10 attempts). His ERA is 2.51.

The Rays play the Blue Jays tonight at the Trop. Chris Archer (2-1) pitches against Francisco Liriano.

Brad Miller misses tag on Dee Gordon, but got him in a rundown./CARMEN MANDATO

Brad Miller misses tag on Dee Gordon, but got him in a rundown./CARMEN MANDATO

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Larry Beller May 5, 2017 at 5:47 am

Beckham’s bat has really come alive and if that continues he absolutely needs to be in the lineup every day. The problem I have with him is I still don’t think he is a good shortstop and not having a plus fielding shortstop makes a big difference especially for an offensively challenged team like the Rays. Didn’t the Rays move Brad Miller out of that position for the exact same reason? This is pretty much the same situation. But for now Beckham has done enough to win all arguments that he is the best option for the job. But for how long?

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