Friday, April 20, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Bullpen day goes well, mostly, for Rays

OAKLAND, Calif. — The reasoning might still be questioned, but the result of the Rays opting to use all relief pitchers in Sunday's game actually worked out pretty well.

In starting veteran RHP Jamey Wright (for the first time since 2007), riding LHP Alex Torres for 3⅓ innings and mixing in RHP Brandon Gomes, LHP Wesley Wright and LHP Jake McGee, the Rays got to the seventh inning trailing by one.

"I was looking to get Jake in the seventh in a meaningful moment and it was there," manager Joe Maddon said. "It was absolutely there. Everything was kind of right."

But then two things went wrong.

Their offense failed in several opportunities to score. And McGee, in what looked to be a favorable matchup, gave up a homer to former Rays teammate Stephen Vogt to end an 11-pitch at-bat.

"He's caught me here and there and in spring training, and knows me pretty well," McGee said. "It was a really good at-bat. … He was down 0-2, laid off some good pitches, fouled off the cutter I threw him. He was just waiting for me like a snake."

Said Vogt: "There was a little extra juices flowing on that one."

The Rays opted for the bullpen day because they feared the unfavorable matchup of using RHP Roberto Hernandez. And, even on the first day rosters were expanded, and as much as they stockpile arms, they didn't have anyone else, with LHP Matt Moore lined up for Tuesday, RHPs Jeremy Hellickson and Jake Odorizzi not eligible to return yet from the minors and RHP Alex Colome hurt.

"Yes, you'd like to have another starter to turn to, but they're all here," Maddon said. "And there's the confluence of all these different items going on."

MYERS Misstep: Rookie OF Wil Myers said he knew there were two outs in the seventh and he was the tying run on second, he just froze when Desmond Jennings lined a single to left and ended up getting thrown out, on an infield relay, at the plate: "I should have got a better read on that."

PITCHING IN: The rotation plans are becoming somewhat clear, with Moore now set to return from the disabled list on Tuesday in Anaheim, and LHP David Price moving back to Thursday, putting him in line to open the Sept. 10-12 Red Sox series.

That leaves an opening, and a question, for Wednesday. Hernandez is a more likely candidate since he wasn't used Sunday and pitched well against the Angels last week. Odorizzi and Hellickson are the other possibilities.

EXPANSION ERA: Four players were officially added to the roster: DH Delmon Young, C Chris Gimenez and RHP Josh Lueke called up, and DH Luke Scott activated from the disabled list. Also, Hellickson was "promoted" from Class A Charlotte, which made the playoffs, to Double-A Montgomery so he can come back Tuesday after the Biscuits season ends.

MISCELLANY: 1B James Loney snapped the team's six-game homerless streak with his first since July 26, ending a 28-game drought, and only his second in his past 52 games. … CF Desmond Jennings made his second error in a week (losing a ball in the sun) after making one since the start of 2012. … RHP Chris Archer said he's not concerned about facing the Angels tonight for a second straight start. … RHP Alex Cobb on Saturday threw the Rays' major league-leading eighth complete game, although in a losing effort.

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