Walls, Bradley shine in Rays’ rout of Reds

by Gary Shelton on April 19, 2023

in general

Wednesday, 3 a.m.

A year ago, he seemed like a waste of a good batting glove.

Defense? Yeah, Taylor Walls could play defense. Versatility? Yeah. Walls could play a lot of different positions.

But Mr. Slugger? Not quite. Walls hit .202 a year ago, and opposing infielders didn't exactly back up when he came to the plate.

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Ah, but now? Now, Walls has turned into a threat. He's hitting .351 on the season, and he's made a lot of pitchers nervous.

Tuesday night, he had two home runs, a triple and a single to lead the Rays to a 10-0 victory over Cincinnati. Walls had a homer from each side of the plate, the first Ray to do so since Ben Zobrist in 2014.

"We were all very confident we were going to see the best version of Taylor Walls at the plate we hadn’t seen yet," said Rays' manager Kevin Cash. "That’s what we’re seeing how."

In all, the Rays hit four more home runs in their rout of the Reds. That gives them 41 for the season. Yandy Diaz had a three-run homer and Randy Arozarena had a solo shot.

The Rays once again turned to 22-year-old Taj Bradley to pitch the game, and again, Bradley was impressive. He struck out nine batters in 5 1/3 innings, allowing just three hits.

“Another outing where he pitched with a lot of confidence," Cash said. "I thought today he might have had a little better stuff. The slider looked real good. Pretty evident by the amount of strikeouts he racked up. When  he needed to get a fastball, he reared up and came with 97 or 98."

The Rays had 17 hits in all, including four each from Walls and Frankie Mejia. Diaz, Arozarena, Harold Ramirez and Manuel Margot all had two.

The Rays play the Reds again today at 12:30 p.m. Drew Rasmussen will start for the Rays against Levi Stoudt, who is making his major league debut.

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