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Rays plan to stick with Jose Alvarado in high-leverage situations

Manager Kevin Cash suggests a return to trusting the reliever’s stuff and throwing more strikes. Also, notes on d’Arnaud, more.
Reliever Jose Alvarado has been inconsistent for the Rays to this point. [JIM McISSAC | Associated Press]
Published May 25
Updated May 26

CLEVELAND — Manager Kevin Cash said, as you would expect, that despite Friday’s eighth-inning blowup, he would stick with using Jose Alvarado in high-leverage situations. “No concerns what­soever,’’ Cash said.

But it was interesting to hear his reasons for Alvarado’s three-walk, two-run mess, suggesting the reliever needs to return to a simple approach of throwing strikes and not be concerned about making the perfect pitch.

“Trust that you’ve got the stuff in the zone to get major-league hitters out,’’ Cash said. “And we’ve just got to get back to doing that.’’

Alvarado has converted five of six saves and has a reasonable 3.15 ERA through 21 games, but he has four losses and has allowed 15 hits and, more concerning, 12 walks in his 20 innings. “Trust that he’ll correct it,’’ Cash said, “and get control of the count a little better.’’

Alvarado said the tightness of the games is not a factor.

“I hope not because he’s been in a lot of high-leverage situations from last year and obviously a ton this year,’’ Cash said.

Block party

The bruises probably won’t show up on Travis d’Arnaud’s body until Sunday from what was an extensive workout Friday, blocking about a dozen Jose Alvarado and Blake Snell pitches that were in the dirt. “Travis hasn’t shied away from getting his nose in the dirt and doing what he can to keep the ball in front of him,’’ field coordinator/catching coach Paul Hoover said.

Number of the day

2:48

Delay in hours and minutes to start Saturday’s game due to minimal rain.

Miscellany

• The Rays will used Ryne Stanek as the opener Sunday with lefty Jalen Beeks working the bulk of the innings.

* Saturday’s game was the majors-most 25th time the Rays allowed two or fewer runs.

• Manager Kevin Cash opened his media session with an acknowledgement of longtime baseball writer Gerry Fraley, who passed away Saturday, calling it “a sad loss for baseball” and saying, “I really enjoyed our conversations over the years, probably learned a lot from him.”

* The Rays put 10 balls in play with an exit velocity of at least 100-mph.

• On Sunday, video coordinator Chris “Chico” Fernandez will miss just his second game since joining the team full time in 1999, flying home for son Chad’s graduation from Calvary Christian High.

• Brendan McKay joined Triple-A Durham after his promotion from Double A and threw a bullpen session with the Bulls in advance of his first start Tuesday.

• The 16 strikeouts Friday by Rays hitters were their most in a nine-inning game since September, one shy of the team record, done last in 2016.

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