ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Dodgers left fielder Trayce Thompson has a career-high four runs batted in today against the Tampa Bay Rays. But that’s not what you will remember about his breakout game.
Thompson did something only six people have done in the history of Tropicana Field, which opened in 1998: He hit a home run that never landed.
There are four rings of catwalks above the field at The Trop. Hit the deepest two, and you’ve got a home run. Hit the other two, and you’ve got confusion. Thompson got all of this Matt Moore fastball in the second inning:
The estimated distance? Less than expected.
Yasiel Puig is working on getting around on inside pitches. (Associated Press photo)
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Yasiel Puig said Sunday that he’d be going back into the batting cage to work on what ailed him at the plate. Puig is hitting .127 in his last 15 games going into Tuesday’s tilt against the Tampa Bay Rays.
ST. PETERSBURG — Nomar Garciaparra told me an interesting story earlier today while we looked at the section of seats jutting out toward third base beyond the Dodgers’ dugout at Tropicana Field.
Whenever he played here with the Boston Red Sox, if Garciaparra saw a child sitting in the closest seat to home plate, he would actually walk over to that section and ask the adult sitting closest to the child to switch seats. That seat isn’t the closest to home plate of any in Major League Baseball, but it might the most exposed to a foul ball traveling at 100-plus mph. It’s dangerous enough for anyone to sit there, let alone a child, and Garciaparra figured he’d do what he could to make a difference.
See for yourself. The section juts out at a weird angle from the dugout, leaving fans uniquely exposed — particularly when a left-handed hitter is batting:
Here’s the view from behind home plate. Look at the Raymond James ad in the left side of this frame. That’s the section.
MLB recommended that all 30 teams extend the protective netting behind home plate to the edge of each dugout. Fans sitting in these seats are still exposed.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Andrew Friedman doesn’t often have press conferences, not in Los Angeles, and especially not on the road. But he made an exception today when the Dodgers visited the team he helped turn from an also-ran into a World Series contender.
Friedman, an executive in the Tampa Bay Rays’ front office from 2004-13, reminisced about his time here earlier today:
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Kiké Hernandez will be the Dodgers’ designated hitter for the opener of their two-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Hernandez is leading off against left-hander Matt Moore. Joc Pederson is starting in center field — just like Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said last week — and shortstop Corey Seager is getting the day off in favor of Charlie Culberson. Pederson and Adrian Gonzalez are the only left-handers in the lineup for the 4 p.m. (PT) interleague game.
Here are the full lineups for both teams: