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Have Rays found reliable starting pitching option in Luis Patino?

“If you can bottle that up for the next two or three months, we’re going to feel really good,” Kevin Cash said.
Luis Patino set a nice tone in Thursday’s 14-0 romp against the Yankees, working six shutout innings, allowing three hits (all singles), striking out eight and walking two.
Luis Patino set a nice tone in Thursday’s 14-0 romp against the Yankees, working six shutout innings, allowing three hits (all singles), striking out eight and walking two. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]
Published Jul. 29

ST. PETERSBURG — Coming down the stretch — with Tyler Glasnow injured and Rich Hill traded away — the Rays are looking for consistent starting pitching.

They apparently have found a reliable — if not spectacular — option in rookie right-hander Luis Patino.

Patino set a nice tone in Thursday’s 14-0 romp against the Yankees, working six shutout innings, allowing three hits (all singles), striking out eight and walking two.

Patino (2-2), acquired from the Padres (along with catcher Francisco Mejia and two other players) as part of the offseason deal for Blake Snell, said he’s happy to justify the confidence shown by Rays manager Kevin Cash and pitching coach Kyle Snyder.

“The mentality I went into today’s game (with), I was focusing on that,” Patino said through Rays translator Manny Navarro. “Ever since Triple-A (Durham), I’m trying to maintain a routine, the same work ethic and being in the best shape physically. You get the results from the work you have been doing.”

Cash said he likes the results so far.

“If you can bottle that up for the next two or three months, we’re going to feel really good,” Cash said. “We know the stuff is there. We know the way he can navigate through a lineup is there. When it all comes together, it’s special to watch.”

Patino (21 years, 249 days) became the youngest Rays pitcher to beat the Yankees since Scott Kazmir (21 years, 149 days) in 2005.

Good news on Fairbanks

Reliever Pete Fairbanks, who was removed during the 10th inning of Wednesday night’s game against the Yankees, was placed on the 10-day injured list with right shoulder inflammation. The Rays were hoping it wasn’t a repeat of Fairbanks’ early-season injury, when he missed 25 games due to a right rotator cuff strain.

After Thursday’s game, Cash reported some good news, saying an MRI on Fairbanks’ shoulder was “clean,” so the pitcher could miss a minimum amount of time. But Fairbanks said any time lost is costly.

“Being hurt is very frustrating, and I’ve lost a lot of time to it already,” Fairbanks said. “It’s frustrating to put your team in that spot. Not being able to contribute, it weighs on you a little bit.”

The Rays have 14 players (all pitchers) on the IL, tying the franchise’s single-game record. Fairbanks speculated that it could be a reflection of a shortened 2020 season, then getting arms ready for a heightened workload, that has contributed to a proliferation of soft-tissue injuries.

Rays pitchers on the IL include Nick Anderson, Chris Archer, Jalen Beeks, Yonny Chirinos, Oliver Drake, J.P. Feyereisen, Tyler Glasnow, Tommy Hunter, Collin McHugh, Colin Poche, Cody Reed, Chaz Roe, Ryan Thompson and now Fairbanks.

Meadows on a roll

Rays designated hitter Austin Meadows recorded his fourth career multi-homer game and his third of the season. He has 20 homers and 76 RBIs, a 103-game combination that was surpassed only two other times in Rays history (Evan Longoria with 21 homers and 78 RBIs in 2009, Fred McGriff with 25 homers and 74 RBIs in 1999).

Meadows had his third game of five RBIs this season, joining Boston’s Rafael Devers and San Diego’s Wil Myers as the only players to accomplish that in 2021. He’s only the second Rays player to do that in a season (joining Ben Grieve, 2001).

“He has such good at-bats with the length of the at-bats and all the pitches he fouls off,” Cash said. “He gets himself in a hitter’s count. You really see the damage he can do. He puts us on his shoulders at times.”

 Miscellany

Brandon Lowe apparently led off Tampa Bay’s first inning with a long home run off Gerrit Cole. It was initially called fair, just inside the right-field foul pole. But the umpires huddled and ruled it foul. The foul call was then upheld by replay. Lowe eventually singled. … Only at the Trop: In the third inning, Randy Arozarena hit a sky-high popup in front of the plate. Cole charged in and waited to make the catch. But the ball lodged in a catwalk and never came down. It was ruled a dead ball. On the next pitch, Arozarena struck out. … It was the most lopsided shutout victory in franchise history, surpassing a 13-run magic on April 30, 2009 against the Red Sox. … It was the second-largest margin of victory against the Yankees (Rays 16-1 on April 19, 2014). … The Rays tied a season-high-tying 14 runs (also occurring May 24 at the Blue Jays and April 20 at the Royals). … The Rays’ sixth inning was the fifth time in franchise history for the team to score in double digits during an inning. … Brett Phillips is a career 5-for-9 with 14 RBIs when the bases are loaded. … The Rays haven’t been swept at home since April 19-21, 2019 (Red Sox). No other MLB team has currently gone longer without being swept at home.

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