Strike up the band! Souza leads Rays to second win

by Gary Shelton on April 7, 2016 · 1 comment

in general, Tampa Bay Rays

Thursday, 6 a.m.

Souza had his finest day in a Rays' uniform./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

Souza had his finest day in a Rays’ uniform./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

Steven Souza didn’t have a chance. His accomplishments were never going to match the expectations.

He was supposed to be instant impact, right? He was supposed be better than Wil Myers. He was supposed to be a budding star. Never was he supposed to be just another rookie.

Frankly, the Rays needed Souza. There was so much sameness in the batting order. He was the one guy who had real promise with his tools.

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Moore gave up a three-run homer, but nothing else./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

Moore gave up a three-run homer, but nothing else./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

But look at Souza now.

Souza went four-for-four on Wenesday, hitting two homers and a double and driving in four. Almost single-handedly, he led the Rays to a 5-2 victory and a game that salvaged a sweep of the opening series. Yeah, it’s early yet, but that .225 average of his is at .400.

“I didn’t think I got it all,” Souza said. “I knew I got through it pretty good. But in this ballpark, you have to really get it there. So I was a bit surprised it got out, but thankful.”

Yeah, this is the guy the Rays coveted, all right. This is the impact they wanted.

If Souza can continue to hit – no, no one is expecting .400 to last – then the Rays might have quite the outfield. In center, Kevin Kiermaier is a star. In left, if Desmond Jennings can stay healthy, he can help.If Longoria and Corey Dickerson and Pearce have some pop, this order has potential.

This second year, he’s more comfortatble,” said manager Kevin Cash. He’s a little bit of a different person. We knew he was a good player.”

But can he be very good? Or better? Maybe. If nothing else, days like Wednesday will bet you to take another look.

“I don’t disbelieve believe that I can be that guy,” Souza said. “I think I focused on it a lot last year and tried to be that guy, whereas I know that I’ve been blessed with some skill and some ability. So just going out and playing the game day in and day out, focus on the day-to-day grind and at the end of the year, look up and hopefully be where I want to be.”

Tim Beckham fields a Blue Jays' grounder in the third./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

Tim Beckham fields a Blue Jays’ grounder in the third./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS



{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Cecil DeBald April 7, 2016 at 8:42 am

We’re showing a bit of grit at the bat, and that’s with 3/4 of our new bats not yet hitting their stride. Long, long season, we’ll see how it plays out with the bats, the arms, the defense, but feeling ok at this point! Go Rays! Oh, and I think Cash is 3 for 4 on challenges, that’s quite the improvement from .047 last year!



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