Make us your home page
Instagram

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

(View our Privacy Policy)

Joel Peralta dazzling as setup man for Tampa Bay Rays

SEATTLE — Fernando Rodney has deservedly received top billing for his ongoing star turns, producing the most saves in the majors as well as the most entertaining onfield celebration as he shoots his imaginary arrow.

But Joel Peralta's performance in a supporting role has certainly been worthy of some attention.

"What Joel has done hasn't been lost on me or us," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "We get it. It's been fabulous. And I pretty much believe industry-wide it's been recognized."

Cast primarily as Rodney's setup man, Peralta delivered again in Monday's late 4-1 win. After Alex Cobb made an early 4-0 lead stand up with his fourth straight solid seven-inning start, and before Rodney finished for his 22nd straight and 37th overall save, Peralta did his part, yet again, striking out the side.

"Amazing," Rodney said Tuesday. "He's been amazing."

Peralta's overall numbers — 1-4, 3.42 in an AL high-matching 57 games — don't look all that good, primarily the result of a rough start to the season he attributed to his mechanics being out of whack after not playing winter ball.

Take out his first four appearances, and the 2.27 ERA, .151 opponents average and 29 holds (second most in the AL) plus two saves and a win are more representative of his contributions.

Since the All-Star break, after a trip home to the Dominican Republic for a mechanical tune-up with his longtime personal pitching guru, Fausto Mejia, Peralta has been nearly untouchable.

In 161/3 innings over 17 games, Peralta has allowed one run, for a 0.55 ERA, and only four hits, for a .077 average. Of the 56 batters he has faced, he has struck out a staggering 25.

"I've never seen myself as a strikeout pitcher," he said. "So I have no idea why it is happening."

Peralta's combination of pitches and assortment of delivery tactics are challenging for hitters — right- and left-handed, and often the opposing team's best.

"He's gone through the meaty part of the batting order a lot," Maddon said. "And a lot of those have been 1-2-3."

Peralta said Rodney-like attention "is not what I'm looking for," that he is more interested in helping the team. But the question was asked of Maddon if the more workmanlike Peralta should have some type of celebratory gimmick of his own.

"Maybe," Maddon said, "a slingshot would be appropriate."

Joel Peralta dazzling as setup man for Tampa Bay Rays 08/14/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 15, 2012 1:00am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. NFL Week 7: What we learned

    Bucs

    Are the Purple People Eaters back in Minnesota? The Vikings sacked Joe Flacco five times and held the Ravens to 208 total yards in a 24-16 home victory, their third straight win. QB Case Keenum looked ordinary with a 67.7 passer rating after completing 20-of-31 for 188 yards and an interception. Kai Forbath …

    Trainers, top, check Cleveland Browns tackle Joe Thomas after Thomas was hurt in the second half of an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans, Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane) OHTD122
  2. Bills' comeback against Bucs a win for the process

    Bucs

    ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — It hasn't taken Sean McDermott long to understand how to play to his base. Asked if the Bills had "gotten away with one" Sunday, the first-year coach gushed about his team reflecting the character of the town.

    Under first-year coach Sean McDermott, the Bills are 3-0 at home for the first time in six years. “I love playing here,” he says.
  3. No. 18 UCF closes in on USF, which drops to No. 17

    College

    USF remained ahead of UCF in the Associated Press Top 25 poll released Sunday — just barely.

  4. Tampa's Lance McCullers shows killer instinct in pitching Astros to World Series

    Ml

    HOUSTON — It felt like the beginning on Saturday night at Minute Maid Park, the arrival of a new force on the World Series stage. The Astros are back, for the first time in a dozen years, and they want to stay a while.

    Houston Astros starting pitcher Lance McCullers (43) throwing in the fifth inning of the game between the Houston Astros and the Tampa Bay Rays in Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, July 12, 2015.
  5. Jones: Where are the difference-makers on the Bucs defense?

    Bucs

    ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — They can't tackle. They can't cover. They can't pressure the quarterback, let alone sack him.

    Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor (5) scrambles past Bucs defensive tackle Clinton McDonald (98) during the first half. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]