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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]
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, 2019

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.


  1. In this July 2019 file photo, Rays prospect Wander Franco is shown with the Charlotte Stone Crabs. [ALLIE GOULDING  |  Tampa Bay Times]
  2. Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Brent Honeywell, who is battling back from injury, warms up on the field with Rays pitching coach Kyle Snyder (on left) watching his progress during a player workout at Tropicana Field on Friday, Jan. 24, 2020 in St. Petersburg.  [DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times]
  3. Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Nick Anderson (70) likes to live for the day, as evidenced by his lack of spring training or season accommodations before arriving in Port Charlotte. [CHRIS URSO  |  Times]
  4. In this August 2019 file photo, Tampa Bay Rays broadcaster Rich Hollenberg, left, leans in along with guest Dante Bichette, center, as fellow broadcaster Orestes Destrade, right, takes a selfie of them together during the Fox Sports Sun pregame show before the Tampa Bay Rays take on the Toronto Blue Jays at Tropicana Field. DIRK SHADD   |   Times [DIRK SHADD   |   TIMES  |  Tampa Bay Times]
  5. Charlotte Stone Crabs shortstop Wander Franco (1) practices his swing in the dugout during the game against Clearwater Threshers on Thursday, July 25, 2019 in Clearwater.  ALLIE GOULDING   |   Times
 [ALLIE GOULDING  |  Tampa Bay Times]
  6. Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Tyler Glasnow, shown earlier in camp, has been working on tweaking his delivery. [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
  7. Wander Franco throws to first during the spring training game between the Detroit Tigers and the Tampa Bay Rays at Charlotte Sports Park on Thursday. [WILL VRAGOVIC  |  Tampa Bay Rays]
  8. Wander Franco taking ground balls before his first big-league spring game with the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020, with Willy Adames behind him. [MARC TOPKIN  |  Tampa Bay Times]
  9. Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Darwinzon Hernandez (63) throws after reporting for spring training baseball camp Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020, in Fort Myers, Fla. (AP Photo/John Bazemore) [JOHN BAZEMORE  |  AP]
  10. Tim Tebow, playing then for the St. Lucie Mets in the Florida State League, has a laugh while answering questions during a news conference at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa on Aug. 10, 2017. [Tampa Bay Times]
  11. Jose Alvarado retires only one of the five batters he faces in his spring debut Wednesday. [MARC TOPKIN  |  Tampa Bay Times]
  12. Joan Steinbrenner threw out the first pitch to Yankees catcher Jorge Posada in 2008 when Legends Field was renamed in honor of her husband George. Mr. Steinbrenner passed away two years later, and Mrs. Steinbrenner died in 2018. [Times]