Rays considering four-man rotation
The Rays may try to take more advantage of the tremendous pitching by their top starters and several upcoming off-days by going to a four-man rotation.
"It's something we're considering but we haven't decided yet how to do that,'' manager Joe Maddon.
Though they have to play a makeup game on Monday night in Boston on what was supposed to be an off-day at home, the Rays still will have five off-days in the first 22 days of August.
That means that after Roberto Hernandez starts Tuesday at home vs. Arizona, they would need a fifth starter only once between now and the last week of August - on Aug. 17, at home vs. Toronto. And by then, RHP Alex Cobb could be back in the rotation.
Maddon said the Rays were looking at different scenarios, and certainly weighing whether they are better off giving their youngest pitchers - Chris Archer and Matt Moore extra rest, and whether to keep David Price on a strict five-day schedule and work the others around him.
At this point, all the Rays have announced is that Hernandez will face the D-backs on Tuesday and Jeremy Hellickson will pitch Wednesday. They are off Thursday before facing the Giants
"Of course we have out different thoughts, we have our different schedules made up, and we'll announce that relatively soon,'' Maddon said. "It is possible to do something like that, yes, but we're still trying to put that all together.''
Since June 19, the Rays are 24-1 in games started by Price, Moore, Hellickson and Archer (and 2-4 in Hernandez's games); the four are 21-1, 1.65.
"They've been pretty good,'' Maddon said. "Roberto, I know people have been critical of him but he's also pitched very well, too. The other guys, a little more. Archie and David and Matt and Helly, that's been over the top a little bit.''
Cobb, who needs to make a couple of rehab starts, could be ready by mid-August. He has been out since being hit by a line drive June 15.