UPDATED GAME STORY: Rays lose 6-0, Ramos pulled early
Rays for Sunday
By MARC TOPKIN
ANAHEIM, Calif. - It would appear the decision on who gets dropped from the Rays rotation isn't going to be so tough after all.
With Alex Cobb on track for a return as soon as Thursday, manager Joe Maddon has been saying for days how difficult the choice would be.
But Maddon's actions in Saturday's 6-0 loss to the Angels certainly indicated otherwise, as he showed very little patience when Cesar Ramos got off to another rough start, pulling him three batters into the second inning.
"It was breaking badly,'' Maddon said. "I didn't like the way it was starting out, and I felt we could not give up a lot of runs to beat them tonight.''
Ramos was clearly unhappy with the decision, noting how after a worse beginning to Monday's game in Seattle he made adjustments and pitched into the seventh - and earned considerable praise from Maddon for doing so.
But Saturday, he didn't get the chance.
"Extremely frustrated. I thought I proved something last time, that I'm capable of doing it, but, y'know .... ‘' Ramos said. "Extremely surprised. And I don't think I was the only one.''
Maddon said his decisions were unrelated to the upcoming rotation shuffle and specific to Saturday's game, as he felt he had to do whatever he could to keep it close as the Rays hitters didn't seem likely to do much against Angels starter C.J. Wilson.
And with a lineup that included rookies Brandon Guyer and lefty-swinging Kevin Kiermaier, plus .189-hitting Logan Forsythe and .128-hitting Jose Molina (as Ryan Hanigan is sidelined with a sore hamstring), he was right. The Rays managed just five hits, as Wilson logged his second career complete game shutout, both against the Rays.
Plus, Maddon said, he had the benefit of a mostly rested bullpen, with the luxury of David Price starting and likely going deep today and the team being off Monday.
So that was why he had Brandon Gomes warming in the first inning, when Ramos allowed two runs on three hits and a walk, and why he gave Ramos only three batters into the second, rather than the chance to pitch through his troubles.
"The way the planets were lined up tonight we had the ability to do what we did,'' Maddon said. "I'm not going to comment negatively about him right now.''
Ramos - who grew up and played collegiately in the Los Angeles area and had more than 20 friends and relatives on hand - said he knew he didn't have much room to work when he saw the bullpen in action in the first.
"When you're facing the fourth batter in the lineup and someone is getting up in the bullpen, you take notice,'' he said.
As for what it means for his future in the rotation, or returning to his long-man role in the bullpen?
"I don't even think about that stuff,'' Ramos said. "For me, it's the task at hand, and it goes start by start. Whatever they decide, that's their decision. Their decision is made if I do good or bad, so that's out of my control.''
As it was, Gomes only made it worse. He allowed the two runners Ramos left on to score in the second, then gave up a two-out double to Chris Ianetta and a two-run homer to No. 8-hitting Grant Green to make it 6-0 in the third.
That was the fourth homer Gomes has allowed in his last five outings, an issue that could lead him back to Durham as Cobb's return means someone has to go.
"I've got to make better pitches,'' he said. "I'm throwing the ball right down the middle right now and I'm getting punished for it. It's really not that difficult - you make better pitches, you get guys out.''