Lowe makes his debut in big win for Rays

by Gary Shelton on April 30, 2019 · 4 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Rays

Choi celebrates his return./CHUCK MULLER

Tuesday, 4 a.m.

Some nights, the pitching is good enough. Some nights, the offense is good enough.

And some nights, the storylines are even better.

Take Monday night, when a fast start and a strong finish led the Rays to an 8-5 victory over the Kansas City Angels. Stuck in the middle of all the excess, Rays’ prospect Nate Lowe — newly promoted from Triple A — made his major league debut and wound up with a double and a walk.

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Diaz has produced for Rays./CHUCK MULLER

“It was kind of uncomfortable at first,” Lowe said. “It was a  long day getting here. To be able to put a ball on a barrel and run all the way to second is something I feel I can get used to doing a lot here. Some guys coming up talk about they belong in places. Being able to hammer that ball in the gap makes me feel I belong here.  I’m excited to see what the rest of the season holds.”

Yonny Chirinos pitched 5 2/3 innings for the Rays and gave up two of the three earned runs the team allowed. He ran his record to 4-0 with the win, however.

The Rays’ offense got a hit from every player, and the Rays took a 4-0 lead after two innings. Kansas City came close twice, but the Rays continued to score and held on.

Ji-Man Choi and Yandy Diaz each had two hits and drove in two. Tommy Pham had one hit and drove in two.

“It’s nice to have Ji-Man back,” Rays’ manager Kevin Cash said. “Every game, Yandy is doing something. We’re fortunate to have him. His plate discipline is good. He’s fearless hitting with two strikes. If he doesn’t like his pitch, he’ll lay off it until he gets it.”

The Rays play the Royals again tonight at 8:30 p.m. at Kaufman Stadium. Blake Snell pitches for the Rays against Kansas City’s Jakob Junis.


{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Larry Beller May 1, 2019 at 3:34 pm

I liked the strategy last year when Chirinos was a total unknown more than I do this year when we have seen his potential of being a very effective starter. A lot of teams use starters who are much worse than Chirinos so that’s not an issue to me.

In addition nobody is talking about the negative trickle down effects of that strategy. By tying up Stanek in the Opener role Cash limits his options on who he can use in the 8th and 9th inning when there is a chance to win a game. Having another option or 2 for those roles would keep his best relievers fresher for the long season.

Of course the Rays are the team of the opener. That’s their baby and they aren’t going to abandon it. I realize I’m not going to change anything by posting these comments so I will stop as of this post. Sorry to beat a dead horse.

Wouldn’t be fun if we did have that type of influence though?


Gary Shelton May 1, 2019 at 8:19 pm

Larry, anyone who says that Chirinos has been bad doesn’t know how many outs there are. My only question is if he’s had enough time to establish himself as a starter.

Still, I’m all for all the influence I could get.

A story: I was once on a roll, suggesting the Rays should draft Reggie Cobb (they did) and Keith McCants (they did). I suggested they should sign Dexter Manley (they did). My wife said “It’s like you’re running this team.” I repeated that to Rich McKay once and he said “Well, you were doing a lousy-ass job.”

Put me in my place.


Larry Beller April 30, 2019 at 12:54 pm

The Rays have built a stellar minor league system that is producing talent which gives the team lots of depth. Their record is reflective of that.

I keep banging the drum for Chirinos to start without the opener. The Rays could use another reliable late inning reliever and Stanek could be that guy if he wasn’t opening so much. Do you have any stats on Chirinos record starting vs coming out of the bullpen? If the numbers show he more effective out of the bullpen I’ll shut up.


Gary Shelton April 30, 2019 at 9:11 pm

Larry, the honest truth is that the Rays like Chirinos more as a versatile guy in their opening strategy than than do as a starter. We can both yell all we want, but they’re committed to this. They aren’t necessarily looking for a fourth starter. Cash the other day said that he likes the way that Stanek and Chirinos complement each other. Take that for what it’s worth.

The numbers? Chirinos got seven of his 10 starts last season. He didn’t look like the second coming of anything special. He was 0-3 with a 4.73 ERA in those games. He had some good innings, but he had work to do.

This year, he’s been much better. He’s 2-0 in his three starts, 4-0 counting all of his work. His ERA is 0.75. I’ll be honest, I don’t know why Stanek goes first and he goes second except they want Stanek to deal with the top of the batting order. (And Stanek has been very good).

I like Chirinos. I think he’ll throw some meaningful innings. But to argue for him at this point is to argue against the opener’s strategy twice a week, and the team likes the opener. I can see your argument. But I think he has a little more work to do before he’s a slam dunk starter. But what do I know?


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