Why was C Jesus Sucre pitching in 8th inning with Rays down by 5?
Why catcher Jesus Sucre was pitching in the eighth inning Monday was a clear sign of how bad the night was going for the Rays.
That he took the mound with the Rays only down five runs at the time was an indication they didn't think it have much chance to get better.
Having used his retooled bullpen aggressively and heavily over the weekend in New York, and expecting to do so this week against the Astros, manager Kevin Cash said he decided to go with Sucre with the Rays trailing 11-2 as they went into the eighth.
When they started scoring, he decided if they got to within four, he would change plans and have RHP Brad Boxberger start a second inning, and also would consider using Sergio Romo.
But down five, he decided to stick with Sucre rather than further push his real relievers.
"I don't think that's a smart thing to do given the team we're playing and three upcoming games,'' Cash said.
He considered Sucre and infielder Taylor Featherston, who arrived mid-game after being called up to replace traded Tim Beckham, but decided he'd rather use Featherston to get SS Adeiny Hechavarria off his feet.
"I was kind of surprised ... when we scored the runs we don't have any anyone throwing in the bullpen,'' Sucre said. "I was like wow. But a five-run lead, I don't know. They don't want to use the the rest of the guys, they've been pitching a little bit. I don't have any problem with it.''
Sucre, who pitched as an early teen, was eager to take the mound for the third time in the majors.
He started well, throwing a fastball clocked at 85 and geting Evan Gattis to line out. But then Sucre walked two and - after getting Tyler White to swing and miss at his psuedo-slider, was called for a balk.
Sucre then gave up a run on a sac fly, and two more on doubles by Jake Marisnick and Derek Fisher before retiring AJ Reed on a popup.
As odd as it was to see the balk called, Sucre said it was more amusing working with C Wilson Ramos, who actually came out for a mound visit when there was an Astro on second so they could - wait for it - change signs.
"I just wanted to have fun with Wilson over there,'' Sucre said. "I was kind of laughing because he put slider down. I do have some movement (on a pitch) but I don't think it's a slider. So I was trying to have fun with that.''
Cash said he thanked Sucre for his contribution:
"Kidding aside, very appreciative,'' Cash said. "That's not an easy thing to do. go out there and throw strikes. He saved us a reliever from having to pitch.''
RF Steven Souza Jr. said x-rays on his left foot were negative, but he remained in pain after fouling a ball off his instep in his second inning at-bat. "Got to see how it feels tomorrow,'' he said late Monday. "X-rays were negtive so that's always a plus, nothing's wrong structurally with the bone. Hopefully I wake up and feel a lot better than I do now.''