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What’s wrong with Rays reliever Chaz Roe?

Chaz Roe’s high walk rates persisted Wednesday, setting up an Oakland rally in late innings.
Rays relief pitcher Chaz Roe, left, continued to struggle with his control Wednesday against Oakland. ALLIE GOULDING   |   Times
Rays relief pitcher Chaz Roe, left, continued to struggle with his control Wednesday against Oakland. ALLIE GOULDING | Times
Published Jun. 13, 2019

Rays manager Kevin Cash called on Chaz Roe in a pivotal situation Wednesday. With one out and one on, Roe entered to face Khris Davis, the 2018 AL home run champ.

Roe battled with Davis, throwing nothing but sliders to Oakland’s designated hitter and striking him out on the seventh pitch.

He induced a swing-and-miss from Davis on a pitch out of the strike zone, but problems mounted when nearly all of Roe’s pitches began to miss the plate.

Roe threw 15 pitches Wednesday, 12 sliders and 3 two-seam fastballs. Only one of those pitches found the strike zone, according to MLB’s Baseball Savant.

Entering Wednesday, Roe allowed 17 walks in only 19 innings. He continued a season-long trend of free passes.

Related: MORE RAYS: Tampa Bay may have to settle for an okay homestand

“It’s been all year, trying to find it,” Roe said of the strike zone. “Since day one, trying to fight the command and command the slider along with the two-seam, and those are my two pitches. (If) you can’t command those, you’re going to have trouble.”

Roe lost Stephen Piscotty to a walk and then fired a wild pitch that sent the runners to second and third. After issuing an intentional walk to Robbie Grossman, Roe exited.

Lefty Colin Poche promptly allowed a grand slam to Ramon Laureano, charging two earned runs to Roe.

Cash regularly tinkers to create favorable matchups for his relievers, but his bullpen manipulation didn’t work Wednesday.

Yonny Chirinos lasted six innings and gave up only two runs in his eighth start of the season. Ryne Stanek chipped in a scoreless seventh inning in his first relief appearance since May 23. The Rays plated a pair of runs in the bottom half of the seventh, and Cash called upon his bullpen arms to hold the tie.

Adam Kolarek entered to start the eighth, and Matt Olson lined a first-pitch sinker to left field. Roe lasted only 1/3 of an inning in his second appearance of the series. He said the Rays’ current stretch of 21 games in 20 days presents challenges to the bullpen.

“It wears on you, but that’s what the bullpen is for, you know, to eat up innings,” Roe said.

The bullpen has struggled to eat those innings in close games. Tampa Bay is now 2-6 when tied after seven innings.

“We’re down there ready every day,” Roe said. “What happens, happens.”