Wednesday, January 24, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays may soon go with four-man rotation

NEW YORK — The Rays may not wait for RHP Alex Cobb to come back to bump RHP Roberto Hernandez from the rotation.

Manager Joe Maddon confirmed Sunday what has seemed obvious, that the Rays are "considering" going to a four-man rotation.

The primary reason is that, even with a makeup game tonight in Boston, they have four days off in an upcoming 12-day stretch.

The secondary reason is to maximize the tremendous pitching by the other four starters — Chris Archer, Jeremy Hellickson, Matt Moore and David Price. Sunday's loss was just the second started by those four in a 26-game span. "That's been over the top a little bit," Maddon said.

After Hernandez starts Tuesday at home against Arizona, the Rays don't need a fifth starter again until Aug. 17 (home vs. Toronto) and could go as far as Aug. 27 (home vs. Angels) before needing another.

The Rays, who have only announced that Hernandez and Hellickson will face Arizona, have to consider several factors in making a decision. Among them: whether the younger starters, Archer and Moore, would benefit from extra rest; whether to keep Price on a five-day schedule and work around that; and how to work in Cobb, who hopes to return soon from a June 15 concussion.

"We have our different thoughts, we have our different schedules made up, and we'll announce that relatively soon," Maddon said. "It is possible to do something like that, yes, but we're still trying to put that all together."

PRICE CHECK: Price has a chance to make history tonight, the first starter in more than 70 years to beat the Red Sox at Fenway Park twice in a span of five days, since Rip Collins in 1931 and Lefty Grove in 1929.

But to do so, Price will make sure history doesn't repeat itself, planning some changes to his approach after an impressive 97-pitch complete game against the Sox on Wednesday.

"I'm going to go out there and try to attack those hitters, some of them the same way, some of them a little bit different," Price said. "When you're on the mound there's a game within a game, the thinking between the hitter and the pitcher. You've got to try and keep them on their toes, try to make sure you're not pitching them exactly the same way as five days ago. The way I got them out, they're going to remember that and they're going to be looking for that in those situations."

MISCELLANY: The last visiting rookie to homer twice in a game at Yankee Stadium before Wil Myers was also a Ray, Reid Brignac in July 2010. … 3B Evan Longoria extended his hitting streak to 10 games, Myers to nine, with a .474 average during it. … 1B James Loney leads all players with 18 hits against the Yankees. … Moore's homer-free streak ended at 48 1/3 innings. … Hideki Matsui, who finished his career with the Rays, tipped his cap and acknowledged Maddon and other Rays during the pregame ceremony marking his official retirement as a Yankee. … Tonight's makeup of Thursday's rainout is officially considered a one-game series; the Rays have had six others and lost them all.

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