Rays’ Banda leads 5-1 victory over Baltimore

by Gary Shelton on May 27, 2018 · 8 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Rays

Robertson had three hits and a couple of defensive gems./JEFFREY S. KING

Robertson had three hits and a couple of defensive gems./JEFFREY S. KING

Sunday, 3 a.m.

As a strategy goes, all of baseball seems to be discussing the Rays' revolutionary new pitching blueprint.

Perhaps, however, the controversy should not be over who opens the game for the Rays.

Perhaps, just perhaps, the controversy should be over whichever pitcher pitches second.

The Rays captured an easy 5-1 victory over the Baltimore Orioles Saturday when Anthony Banda came in to pitch. Banda went 6 1/3 innings, allowing only three

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hits and one unearned run. In the fifth, he gave up a leadoff triple to Danny Valencia but worked his way out of the jam.
After the game, Banda was sent to the minors.

In all, Banda struck out seven and, in one stretch, retired 13 of 14 Orioles.

“A lot," Rays manager Kevin Cash said when asked how much he was impressed with Banda. "Especially when the leadoff triple happened, and just how he continued to make pitches. We know we are asking these guys for a lot. We know we are asking them to go outside of their comfort zone with them used to being starters. Two ways -- with Ryne Stanek and Anthony -- both being young pitchers, showed a ton of poise today. Stanek was tremendous, but for Banda, to get that deep into the ballgame, given that his Anaheim start was (57 pitches), to get that deep was really impressive. He had an outstanding fast ball that, for whatever reason, they couldn’t catch up to.”

The Rays scored two runs in the first and three in the second to explode against Baltimore.

Cron had a two-run double for the Rays./JEFFREY S. KING

Cron had a two-run double for the Rays./JEFFREY S. KING

Tampa Bay's relievers now have 14 appearances with at least 50 pitches, the most in the majors.

Cash was impressed with Stanek, who opened the game and retired the first five batters.

"I think that’s his biggest issue -- controlling the count," Cash said. "It probably plays stronger for him than other pitchers because of the stuff that he features. If he can get ahead, that’s the type of performance that he’s capable of showing. They’ve seen him, (Machado) hit a home run off him last time we were (in Baltimore). But, when he’s throwing strike one putting the onus on them to make decisions behind in the count, he becomes really challenging.”

Banda said he likes to work fast.

Gomez tagged out after a running gaffe./JEFFREY S. KING

Gomez tagged out after a running gaffe./JEFFREY S. KING

"It’s definitely something that I like to do, just to keep the hitters feeling a little rushed." Banda said. "Whether they take the time to get in the box, or whatever, I’m still going to come after them, have a quick tempo, and pound the zone. Just trust my pitches, keep everything where I need to throw it, and produce outs.”

Stanek said he liked the pitching strategy.

“Yeah it’s cool," Stanek said. "It’s something that’s definitely going to shake things up for a little bit because it’s different. Different isn’t bad. Different in this case seems to work and it’s worked a couple times for us so far.“

Elsewhere on the diamond, shortstop Daniel Robertson had a good day. He

Roe finished things off in the ninth./JEFFREY S. KING

Roe finished things off in the ninth./JEFFREY S. KING

picked up three hits and played superbly in the field.

"He's fun to watch," Cash said. "The comfort at the plate, the comfort with the glove. When we get in a jam, we're thinking 'hit the ball to Robbie. That play he made today will be on every highlight reel today."

Both C.J. Cron and Wilson Ramos had two hits for the Rays. Cron had a two-run double and Ramos a one-run double.

The Rays will use the bullpen strategy today against the Orioles. Sergio Romo will start for Tampa Bay against the Orioles Andrew Gausman. Game time is 1:10 p.m. at Tropicana Field.

Cash liked his team's effort's against Baltimore./JEFFREY S. KING

Cash liked his team's effort's against Baltimore./JEFFREY S. KING

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Larry May 27, 2018 at 8:56 am

You left out a key piece of this story. Banda was optioned to Triple A after the game. I thought the writer was joking when I first read that in the Times. Are you kidding me? Starters are relievers, relivers are starters. Relievers get lifted in the middle on an inning when pitching perfectly to bring in a guy who normally starts and is uncomfortable in that situation.

Stats for starters and relievers mean nothing on this team. But why demote a guy who just pitched great for over 6 innings? Just like why would you trade players having a good year even before their free agency contract year? Oh yeah, arbitration eligible makes them costly. I can’t take it anymore. I’m seriously thinking of buying summer home far away just to get away from this team. I can tolerate the Florida heat and the threat of hurricanes but please get me away from this miserable franchise.


Gary Shelton May 27, 2018 at 10:23 am

I didn’t know they sent Banda down. Doesn’t make sense to me, either.

They evidently did that some time after the game ended. But he’ll be back in short order.


Larry May 27, 2018 at 1:48 pm

If you follow the Rays “logic”, they at times will send down guys who just pitched a lot of innings because they need to bring up a fresh arm. Never mind that this guy could be their starter / long man in another 5 days. It hurts my head to try to follow their thinking. It’s no way to run a baseball franchise is all I can say.


Gary Shelton May 27, 2018 at 7:16 pm

By the time Banda’s arm is fresh, he might be sent back up and back down four times. Right?


Larry May 27, 2018 at 8:09 pm

Could be. Have you ever seen anything so crazy as what is going on with this team? I wonder what the players really think about all of this. They always say the right things to the press but you know they have to be thinking what is going on here? Too much.

Gary Shelton May 28, 2018 at 8:27 am

Players think as many thoughts as fans think. They talk about as many.

Sending down a pitcher who can’t pitch for five days is odd, but if a team can maximize its roster, why not?

Bigger questions are coming with the trade deadline, though. Do you hang onto Hechavarria or turn it over to Adams? Do you give the everyday job to Arroyo? Is there enough pitching to move Archer? We’ll see in the days to come, won’t we?


Larry May 28, 2018 at 11:17 am

I’ve researched this and here is where it gets tricky. Once a player is sent down they can’t recall him for 10 days unless another player goes on the DL. So one would assume they would want to reward Banda for his great performance and put him in the 5 day rotation as the long man (defacto starter in their scheme) but he will not be available. This is were the frequent bullpen day strategy causes too many problems I feel. Players need a more defined role to be at their best.

I’m sure they are working the phones daily to see if there is any interest in Hechavarria along with Ramos, Miller and Gomez. Maybe others. No reason to keep Hechavarria with Duffy and Robertson available to play shortstop plus Adames down on the farm and probably being recalled in June. I don’t know what positions Arroyo can play but he deserves to play more somewhere. The big question is what will they do with Archer? Since they have so few legitimate starters it would seem they need to hold onto him but will the payroll issue override what is best for the team? This is the Rays we are talking about after all so we can probably guess the answer.


Gary Shelton May 28, 2018 at 8:06 pm

The Rays always seem to have someone who can go on the disabled list, don’t they? If not, they can beat up Refsnyder. Kidding.

I’m sure they’re working the phones. I think Archer’s contract stability might save him on a depleted staff, but I could be wrong. I often am.


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