Rays pitching plan working to perfection

By Ken Filler
May. 28, 2018

Kevin Cash continues to think outside the box. His latest strategy is using a relief pitcher to start games and only use them for an inning or two before giving way to a long reliever who hopefully can get the Rays into the sixth or seventh inning.

Cash has been called everything from an idiot to a lunatic for trying this approach. Lets’s face it, the Rays do not have a solid 5 man rotation that they can rotate through. So Cash is being creative and innovative to maximize the Rays chances of winning games.

The opposing player does not like the idea. Neither do the baseball historians, and the so called experts. The last time I checked, the main objective of the manager was to put his team in the best possible position to win the game. To quote Herm Edwards, “You play to win the game.” End of story.

Sergio Romo has been the pitcher called upon to start multiple games in a series. Cash first rolled out the startegy last weekend in LA when the Rays were playing the Angels. Romo started the games on Friday night and Sunday afternoon before giving way to the likes of Ryan Yarborough and Andrew Kitteredge, The Rays split those two games winning Friday night and losing on Sunday.

This weekend at home against the Orioles, Cash used this startegy in all of three games starting Sergio Romo on Friday and Sunday and using Ryne Stanek to start the game on Saturday. The Rays took the series from the Orioles winning two out of three And could have won the game on Friday had the offense showed up.

Ryan Yarborough was outstanding on Friday Night striking out eight in six innings of work, and Anthony Banda was just as solid on Saturday following the start by Stanek

It‘s too early to tell if this is going to be a trend that other teams will deploy. Most teams have at least four quality starters and most teams have a five man rotation.

With the trades the Rays have made and the injury sistauation, this is a move Cash made to give the Rays the best chance to win some games. Almost everyone had the Rays being one of the worst teams in baseball to start the season and some (including myself) thought the Rays would lose close to 100 games.

The Rays have been more competeive then we thought. The offense has been better, and the pitching has been just about what we thought it would be. The Rays are currently 25-26, which is their best record of the season so far.

—Nathan Eovaldi will finally make his season debut in Oakland Wednesday against the A’s. Eovaldi has been rehabbing his arm injury since the start of the season. Eovaldi will join Archer, Snell, and Faria to make up the four man rotation.

—In the short term it will be closer buy committee according to Kevin Cash. Look for Chaz Roe, Jose Alvarado, and Sergio Romo to close out some games until Cash feels someone has earned the right to be the No. 1 closer.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

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