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)

Rays' Ramirez back in starting role tonight

Erasmo Ramirez, who moved to the bullpen at the start of the season, will make his first start of the year against the White Sox because the Rays are playing a fifth straight game.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Erasmo Ramirez, who moved to the bullpen at the start of the season, will make his first start of the year against the White Sox because the Rays are playing a fifth straight game.

ST. PETERSBURG —- RHP Erasmo Ramirez was the Rays' fifth starter last season, starting 26 games and recording an 11-6 record. But when the 2016 campaign began, Ramirez was needed even more elsewhere.

With Rays closer RHP Brad Boxberger out with an abdomen injury and an abundance of off days in April, Ramirez was designated to the bullpen to start the season and the team moved along with a four-man rotation.

Tonight, Ramirez will move back to familiar territory. The team announced Friday afternoon that Ramirez will start in the second game in a weekend series against the White Sox. It will be the first time the Rays will play a fifth straight game — they had an off day after their first four games then another after their next three games.

Ramirez has made three appearances in relief this season, all two innings. Still, Ramirez said before Friday's game that he's ready to go much longer despite relatively short notice.

"I'm trying to be just myself, no matter where I am, no matter the situation it is, just go execute pitches," he said. "I know I've got a pitch limit, but I don't want to think about it. … My mind is to go deep as I can in the game."

It's possible Ramirez would be needed again on April 23, the only other instance this month where the Rays play a fifth straight game. The Rays won't need a five-man rotation again after that until May 10, during a six-game trip to Los Angeles and Seattle.

"The way Erasmo is ... he's capable of throwing five innings on 50 pitches. We've seen him do it last year. His efficiency sometimes is kind of off the charts," manager Kevin Cash said. "He's capable of getting up there in a pretty good pitch count having not done it in this early part of the season."

ODORIZZI DEALS: Though he might have been overshadowed by opposing pitcher Chris Sale's complete-game shutout performance, Rays RHP Jake Odorizzi also had a good night, giving up four hits and striking out six in seven innings.

He gave up doubles to SS Jimmy Rollins and 2B Brett Lawrie in the first and second innings, respectively, but appeared to get better from there.

"I thought my command showed up after the third inning. The first couple weren't terrible, but they weren't great," he said. "But after that, I was able to pretty much do what I wanted to. I'm really encouraged by the way I threw the ball."

Cash was, too: "He got stronger as the outing went on, that's what was pretty impressive. Really, really the positive spot of the night."

RIGHTIES GET A LOOK: Through the first nine games, the Rays only faced one left-handed pitcher, leaving right-handed batting bench players Tim Beckham, Brandon Guyer and Steve Pearce with limited at-bats. Friday, though, began a three-game span of all left-handed starters, so they were back into the lineup. Beckham and Guyer went hitless; Pearce was 1-for-3,

Rays' Ramirez back in starting role tonight 04/15/16 [Last modified: Friday, April 15, 2016 11:27pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays' Evan Longoria: "We have all the belief in the world in here"

    Blogs

    The weekend sweep by Texas and four-game overall losing streak has some Rays fans - based on their tweets and emails - questioning the team's ability to make the playoffs and suggesting they might as well trade away their key parts.

  2. What are the odds the Rays trade for Brad Hand or Pat Neshek?

    Blogs

    In each of the last three seasons, the Rays have been sellers at the trade deadline. They shipped away David Price in 2014, got rid of David DeJesus and Kevin Jepsen in 2015 and flipped Matt Moore, Steve Pearce and Brandon Guyer in 2016.

    Padres left-hander Brad Hand has excelled in his two years with the team.
  3. Gerald McCoy cares too much about what you think of him

    The Heater

    Gerald McCoy is right. We are going to miss him when he's gone.

    Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy is one of 16 players to record at least five sacks in each of the past five seasons. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  4. Ronde Barber says comments about McCoy 'sensationalized'

    Blogs

    If anyone thinks Ronde Barber was throwing shade at Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, think again.

    "That anyone would assume I would say the best player on the defense isn’t a bad dude is irresponsible and sensationalizing a quote to serve their own means,'' Ronde Barber said.
  5. USA Today sees Bucs as 10-6 wild card team in 2017

    Blogs

    Another day, another national outlet making NFL predictions, and this one is promising for Tampa Bay fans, as USA Today's Nate Davis has the Bucs going 10-6 and making the …

    Bucs DT Gerald McCoy tries to bring down Giants QB Eli Manning in a 2015 game. Tampa Bay and New York are both picked to finish 10-6 in USA Today's preseason predictions, both making the playoffs as wild cards.