Jose Alvarado has to regain Rays trust

Cash says they “can’t have pitchers" on staff they don’t have confidence in, and that Alvarado is working with "half a pitch.''
Rays relief pitcher Jose Alvarado (46) pitches at the top of the seventh inning against New York Yankees on Saturday, July 06, 2019 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. ALLIE GOULDING | Times [ALLIE GOULDING | Tampa Bay Times]
Published Aug. 23

BALTIMORE — What, you might ask, was manager Kevin Cash thinking by bringing in struggling reliever Jose Alvarado late Thursday for the eighth inning of a 4-2 game.

Well, he would tell you, it was an attempt to see if a high-pressure opportunity would get Alvarado straightened out as he tries to salvage a somewhat lost season defined by his inconsistent performance, a month-long personal leave and an extended injured list stay for an oblique strained shortly after his return.

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How it turned out, with Alvarado walking the first hitter and allowing a single to the second before getting a groundout that moved both runners, leading Nick Anderson to be summoned from the bullpen anyway, became quite clear.

As were Cash’s thoughts after the Rays held on to beat the Orioles, 5-2.

"We’ve got to get Josie going, somehow,'' he said. "We can’t have pitchers on this staff that we can’t have confidence using. Right now Josie’s pitching with basically half a pitch. He’s got a fastball that sometimes he throws it for a strike, sometimes he doesn’t. The breaking ball has not been a factor him. We’ve got to get him going.''

In 34 games, Alvarado, who began the season as the unofficial closer, is 1-5 with a 4.55 ERA. More troubling, in 29⅔ innings, he has allowed 28 hits and 24 walks.