ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays appreciated what Sean Gilmartin did for them in Game 1 of Saturday’s doubleheader after Tyler Glasnow’s shorter than expected start — working 3-1/3 innings, though giving up three runs on two homers.
Manager Kevin Cash made a point of saying so after the Rays won the nightcap, noting that Gilmartin’s work allowed them to have all six relievers they used in Game 2 available.
“It’s worth noting ... Sean Gilmartin’s performance allowed us to have those opportunities to bring those guys in with a little bit of a lead, in a leverage situation,” he said.
Gilmartin, though, was optioned back to the alternate training site in Port Charlotte after Game 2. He had been called up Friday and added to the 40-man roster, after signing a minor-league deal with the Rays during the offseason. He pitched previously in the majors for the Mets and Orioles.
* Rookie righty reliever Ryan Thompson was returned to the alt site after serving as the extra “29th man” for the doubleheader, starting Game 2 with two scoreless innings. “Outstanding,” Cash said. “I don’t know if he’s ever opened a game, started a game, I have no idea. But he came in, he was pretty much in attack mode with the sinkers, went through really, really good hitters, kept the ball on the ground. Just a very professional, mature approach to going out and attacking with his best stuff and creating a lot of ground balls.”
* Though the Yankees seemed to have some complaints about it, Cash said there was no plan to throw inside to keep Yankees hitters off the plate. “No, none whatsoever,” Cash said. “We just kind of try to pitch to our strengths. And glad that we were fortunate to keep a really good offense down.”
* The Rays pinch-hit for Brandon Lowe, one of their top hitters and a 2019 All-Star, in the fourth, sending up righty Hunter Renfroe to hit against lefty Luis Avilan. Renfroe drew a walk. Cash said the move was part of their plan to get the best matchups.
“Brandon has done a tremendous start for us, but we always talk (how) we’re going to utilize our entire roster,” Cash said. “I think that makes us complete as a team to do that. Some nights it’s going to be Brandon coming back and somebody else with an opportunity, but there’s going to be some other nights where Brandon might not be starting and we’re going to want his bat in a big situation.
“We’re not expecting any of the guys to love it. You’d probably scratch your head if they did like it that much, because they’re all competitors. They want the opportunities to be in those big spots. But we’re confident if we can use our entire roster and get some of those matchups, like Yandy (Diaz, pinch-hitting for lefty catcher Michael Perez earlier in the fourth), he drew a walk and allowed Austin (Meadows) to get the plate. That was big right there.‘'