Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Grant Balfour is no longer the Rays' closer

Grant Balfour is 0-2 with a 6.46 ERA and has twice had appearances this season in which he allowed five runs, including Sunday against Seattle.


Grant Balfour is 0-2 with a 6.46 ERA and has twice had appearances this season in which he allowed five runs, including Sunday against Seattle.

ST. PETERSBURG — Manager Joe Maddon rarely designates someone as a closer but made a rare exception this offseason, anointing free agent signee Grant Balfour with that role.

Maddon abandoned that approach Monday, a day after Balfour allowed five runs in the ninth inning of a 5-0 loss to Seattle, reverting to a closer-by-committee plan.

"Something's not clicking right now," Maddon said.

Balfour's sputter against Seattle was the second time he allowed five runs in one inning this season. He blew his first of two saves this season at Chicago, giving up a walkoff grand slam in a 9-6 loss. Before that, he had never allowed a five-run inning in his career.

Balfour (0-2, 6.46 ERA) said Sunday's result was especially frustrating because his pitches felt good. He was one pitch from striking out the side but instead surrendered four hits and two walks.

"It's that close from being a non-issue," Balfour said.

Balfour has thrown fastballs on only 55.4 percent of his pitches this year, the lowest number of his career. Maddon said he has discussed that issue with Balfour and that he believes the pitch is still effective, though his velocity is down.

Maddon said he wants to give Balfour fewer pressure-packed situations so he can regain his confidence. In the meantime, Maddon plans to choose his relievers based on matchups and personnel instead of predefined roles.

"We've got a lot of guys with really good stuff," Maddon said. "I'm just looking to get the last out for the win. That's it."

Cards talk: RHP Jake Odorizzi is from Highland, Ill., about 35 miles east of St. Louis, and grew up rooting for the Cardinals. He went to games at the old and new Busch Stadium, watching players like today's starter, RHP Adam Wainwright, so he'll savor the chance to play against one of his childhood role models.

"It'll be pretty special, to be honest," Odorizzi said. "He's a guy you want to model yourself after when you're a young pitcher. He's one of the guys I watched growing up."

Wainwright, a two-time All-Star, is eighth in the majors with a 2.31 ERA and is averaging less than one base runner per inning.

Medical matters: OF Brandon Guyer had his cast removed Monday morning, and X-rays revealed that the fracture in his left thumb had healed.

"It's definitely a lot better than I thought it would be," Guyer said.

Guyer played catch and took a few swings and could progress to hitting coaches' pitches in a day or two with the hopes of returning in mid-June.

C Ryan Hanigan (hamstring) was 0-for-3 with a walk in a rehab start for Class A Charlotte. He could return to the Rays as soon as Wednesday.

Offensive woes: The Rays' nine shutouts are most in the AL and second-most in the majors. They were shut out eight times all of last season.

They were shut out in back-to-back games for the first time since August 2012 against the Orioles. The Rays' stretch of 35 runs in 14 games is the club's worst since April 14-30, 2004.

Miscellany: RHP Alex Cobb has partnered with isoBLOX, a company that makes protective sports gear. He missed two months last year after being hit in the head with a line drive. … The Rays announced a minimalist theme for their road trip to Houston. … RHP Josh Lueke cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Durham. … Former Ray Fernando Rodney earned back-to-back saves against his former team and retired all six batters he faced. … LHP David Price took the AL lead with 111 strikeouts.

Grant Balfour is no longer the Rays' closer 06/09/14 [Last modified: Monday, June 9, 2014 9:46pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Blake Snell steps up, but Rays lose to Orioles anyway (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Blake Snell stepped up when he had to Monday and delivered an impressive career-high seven-plus innings for the Rays. That it wasn't enough in what ended up a 5-0 loss to the Orioles that was their season-high fifth straight is symptomatic of the mess they are in right now.

    Tim Beckham stands hands on hips after being doubled off first.
  2. Rays vs. Orioles, 7:10 p.m. Tuesday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Orioles

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

  3. Rays journal: Sergio Romo excited for fresh start in AL

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — RHP Sergio Romo was about to play catch with LHP Adam Kolarek before Monday's batting practice when he paused.

    RAMOS EXITS: Rays catcher Wilson Ramos clutches his head after being beaned by Ruben Tejada’s broken bat in the fifth inning. Ramos leaves the game and receives six staples to close a laceration on his head.
  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Monday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    LHP Blake Snell stepped up when the Rays needed him to — and perhaps when he had to to keep his job — working a season-high seven plus innings. And it wasn't only that he got deep into the game, but how he did so, using his fastball to pound the strike zone.

  5. Urban Meyer says the Big Ten is now the equal of the SEC


    CHICAGO — Ohio State coach Urban Meyer doesn't just believe the Big Ten has closed the gap with the more heralded SEC. He is convinced the race is a dead heat already.

    Ohio State’s Urban Meyer says the Big Ten East is as strong as the SEC East was when he coached UF to two national titles.