Bullpen lifts the Rays to a win over the Blue Jays

by Gary Shelton on June 13, 2018 · 0 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Rays

Stanek is getting more comfortable as an 'opener.'/JEFFREY S. KING

Stanek is getting more comfortable as an 'opener.'/JEFFREY S. KING

Wednesday, 4 a.m.

On Bullpen Day, are the Tampa Bay Rays supposed to use their whole bullpen?

It certainly seemed like it Tuesday night, when the Rays pieced together a fine pitching performance from six relief pitchers. None of the pitchers threw more than 2 2/3 innings, but only one of the five (Austin Pruitt) gave up an earned run in a 4-1 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.

It was the team's third win in four games, and it brought the Rays within four games of .500 (31-35).

Ryne Stanek opened for the Rays and retired the six batters he faced. Pruitt then came in, followed by Johnny Venters, Chaz Roe, Jose Alvarado. Sergio Romo got his second save of the season.

Romo earned his second save of the season./JEFFREY S. KING

Romo earned his second save of the season./JEFFREY S. KING

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Bauers takes second and third on an overthrow./JEFFREY S. KING

Bauers takes second and third on an overthrow./JEFFREY S. KING

"I think the story of the game is the bullpen and the way
they came in and pieced it together," said Rays' manager Kevin Cash. "They limited a pretty hot offense coming into this series, for sure. (Ryne) Stanek set the tone. Then Austin (Pruitt) comes in, gets some outs for us. We had a decision to make. Do we want to see if we can piece it together and match up early on or not? We chose to match up.

Adames singles to left for the Rays./JEFFREY S. KING

Adames singles to left for the Rays./JEFFREY S. KING

"We were fresh enough to do that. We will see how they come in tomorrow, but the bullpen was very impressive today. Offensively, Wilson (Ramos) gets us on the board with a big two-run homer and then Joey Wendle with the big pinch hit and Mallex (Smith) with another RBI.”

The Rays started Willy Adames, Jake Bauers and Christian Arroyo, the first time the team has started three hitters aged 23 or younger since July of 2008 (Evan Longoria, Reid Brignac and Melvin (then B.J.) Upton Jr.

Cash was impressed with his team's defense, including back-to-back plays when Adames caught the ball, whirled and threw to first for the out and.

Arroyo also had a single to help the Rays./JEFFREY S. KING

Arroyo also had a single to help the Rays./JEFFREY S. KING

then Bauers made a diving stop.

“Willy (Adames’) play, spinning around and then Jake (Bauers’) play," Cash said. "You don’t see many first basemen in baseball make that play.”

Adames looks comfortable, Cash said.

“He does," Cash said. "Seeing the ball well. It’s always nice when you come up, especially now that it’s his second time, to come up and have some success and put together some really good at-bats. I like talking about his offense, but I probably would prefer talking about his defense. That’s going to help us in the long run quite a bit -- him making plays. We’ve been spoiled with such a good infield defense. It looks like he’s coming in and doing his part.”

Alvardo got five outs in the victory./JEFFREY S. KING

Alvardo got five outs in the victory./JEFFREY S. KINGA

The Rays found plenty of offense with a two-run homer by Wilson Ramos and run-scoring singles by Joey Wndle and Mallex Smith.

Stanek said he was getting more comfortable with the "opener" role.
"It’s definitely something like anything where the more you do something, the more comfortable you are going to be. Being out there for my fourth (start), it’s becoming more normal and it’s not a surprise when they (tell me). ...my job is to go out and pitch whenever my name is called whether that be to start or relief or whatever. I’ll be ready when my name is called.”

The Rays go for a sweep today when Wilmer Font pitches against J.A. Happ. The game begins at 1:10 p.m. at Tropicana Field.

Ramos homered to give the Rays an early lead./JEFFREY S. KING

Ramos homered to give the Rays an early lead./JEFFREY S. KING

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