Alvarado Experiment Blows Up for the Rays

by Gary Shelton on August 25, 2019 · 0 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Rays

Alvarado has sputtered since May./JEFFREY S. KING

Sunday, 4 a.m.

Forget about whether Jose Alvarado can save a game.

At this point, you have to ask if he can save his career.

Alvarado, the one-time closer of the Tampa Bay Rays, blew up early Saturday in a 7-1 loss to the Baltimore Orioles. Alvarado, in a three-month funk, was a disaster in the role of a team opener.

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Brosseau's homer was the only run for the Rays../CHUCK MULLER

Alvarado threw 24 pitches, and only nine were strikes. He walked three batters and threw two wild pitches and managed only one out. Alvarado has one save since May 26.

This was a grand experiment to see if Alvarado, in a less pressurized situation, could perform as an opener. He didn't.

After the game, Alvarado complained of elbow pain. Manager Kevin Cash said Alvarado was headed to the disabled list.

“He’s hurt," Cash said. "He's complaining of some elbow issues. We’re probably going to IL him and send him back to St. Pete.

Cash pulled Alvarado in the middle of an at-bat to Pedro Severino.

"He had no chance to throw the ball over the plate at that point," Cash said. "I  didn’t want another run to come in on the wild pitch."

So what to do with a wild pitcher in the middle of a wild-card race? Alvarado's elbow discomfort might be a saving grace.

"We're a better team when Jose’s throwing the ball well," Cash said. Obviously, (if he's) healthy now. We’re a better team. We’ve seen how he can contribute and really impact the back end of our bullpen.  The front end, whatever. It's  unfortunate. It's been an unfortunate season to date."

Austin Pruitt came on to get a double play, and the Rays escaped the first with only one run allowed. But Pruitt gave up six in the next five innings, including a grand slam to Severino. He gave up three homers in all.

The Rays managed just six hits, including two each by Tommy Pham and Mike Brosseau.

The Rays close out their series with Baltimore today at 1:05 pm.. Diego Castillo will open for the Rays against Dylan Bundy.

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