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The Rays pitching rotation goes round and round and round and round

Injuries mean Tampa Bay is using a new opener/bulk combo on Thursday against the Tigers.
In his last two appearances, Dietrich Enns has picked up the first win and first save of his MLB career. Now, Ennis is scheduled to make his first start since 2017 with Minnesota.
In his last two appearances, Dietrich Enns has picked up the first win and first save of his MLB career. Now, Ennis is scheduled to make his first start since 2017 with Minnesota. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]
Published Sep. 16
Updated Sep. 16

Dietrich Enns hasn’t started a game in the majors in more than four years but is scheduled to take on the bulk role against the Tigers on Thursday at Tropicana Field.

Depending on your disposition, that’s either another example of Tampa Bay’s incredible pitching depth or an indication that the rotation is getting a little shaky in the season’s final month.

There is probably a little bit of truth in both points of view.

Because of their abundance of pitchers, the Rays have been able to keep most of their starters on five days of rest for the past couple of months. That’s a huge advantage as they try to keep young pitchers such as Shane McClanahan, Luis Patino and Drew Rasmussen fresh going into the postseason.

But McClanahan recently went on the injured list with, hopefully, a minor back issue and Chris Archer joined him with a recurring hip injury. That’s forced the Rays to dip into their reservoir of pitchers in Triple-A with Enns getting the call today just a year after pitching in an independent league.

“My mindset is that I’ve been given (this start) and let’s attack that,” Enns said. “In the situation that I’ve been in, you never know when you can get sent down or stay. So I’m just trying to take it one day at a time and let everything else take care of itself.”

Enns threw four shutout innings of relief against the Tigers on Saturday in Detroit and was used as a starter for much of the year in Durham, so he should be able to give the Rays some length on Thursday. He was originally announced as the Rays starter, but now it appears he will follow opener Louis Head.

“We have gotten so many new, tremendous contributions from guys that came up from Durham,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “I think anybody that’s watching us (knows) we prioritize (workloads) with McClanahan, Patino and now with Ras.”

That didn’t go as planned

Michael Wacha had been on a bit of a roll before Wednesday’s start against the Blue Jays. That lasted four batters.

Toronto jumped out to a 3-0, first-inning lead and continued adding on during Wacha’s six innings. The Nos. 2-5 hitters — Marcus Semien, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette and Teoscar Hernandez — went 6-for-9 with two walks and six RBIs against Wacha.

“I’m still working on, you know, getting to where I need to be heading down the stretch here,” Wacha said. “I feel like I’m still on the right track. I feel like the ball is still coming out really good. Just a few mistakes today, a couple of walks in there, kind of uncharacteristic. I think both of those came around to score, and that’s not really part of my game plan. Overall, I still feel like I’m heading in the right track.”

Miscellany

Tampa Bay begins its final homestand of the regular season on Thursday against the Tigers. The Rays have put thousands of tickets on sale for $10 (in sections 129-149) for most of the games on the homestand and will have $5 beers, $4 sodas and $5 popcorn and candy at concession stands … Nelson Cruz and Ryan Yarbrough were both wearing No. 21 on Wednesday in honor of the late Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente. Yarbrough is Tampa Bay’s nominee for the Clemente award given annually to an MLB player for their work in the community. Cruz is Minnesota’s nominee. This is the third time in four years that Cruz has been nominated for the award … Nick Anderson made his second appearance since coming off the injured list, throwing a perfect ninth inning … With a homer in the eighth inning on Wednesday, Brett Phillips now has 12 in 229 at-bats this season. Phillips had 10 career homers coming into 2021.

John Romano can be reached at jromano@tampabay.com. Follow @romano_tbtimes.

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