Rays’ bullpen shuts down the Yankees

by Gary Shelton on April 11, 2021

in general

Kittredge had an impressive outing./JEFFREY S. KING

Sunday, 4 a.m.

Andrew Kittredge? Jeffrey Springs?

You could see the puzzlement in the faces of the mighty New York Yankees as they walked from the plate. Who are these guys? Where did they come from? And don't they know who we are? What is happening to the bats in our hands?

Ryan Thompson? Cody Reed? Chris Mazza?


The bullpen of the Tampa Bay Rays -- without its mainline arms -- shut own the Yankees Saturday afternoon. Pressed into action early when starter Chris Archer suffered a forearm strain seven outs into the game, the collective bullpen threw 6 2/3 innings of two-hit baseball to lead the Rays to a 4-0 victory over the Yankees.

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It re-established the expectations of a bullpen that was supposed to be among the bright spots on the team. Early this season, it has not been. For goodness sake, the bullpen hadn't notched a 1-2-3 inning since opening day. To dominate the Yankees and their batting order was impressive.

"They were outstanding," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "I think we woke Kittridge up to get him into the game. They all did a really nice job. Anytime you shut out a team in major league baseball, it’s saying something. When you do it in that fashion against that lineup, it’s really saying something, given that Chris could only go 2 1/3."

Archer was at the start of an impressive outing himself -- four of the seven batters he retired were by strikeouts -- when he felt the outside of his forearm tighten.

"He said it felt like it tightened up," manager Kevin Cash said. "It kind of zinged him on a pitch. i don’t even think he was totally sure if he should come out or not, but this early in the season and considering how important he is, we’re going to be very cautious with how we’re going to go about these situations. We felt it was best to get him out right then."

Archer didn't feel it was a serious injury, either.

“The outside art of my forearm was tight," Archer said. "I thought it was something that comes and goes. Things come and go, but it lingered. I found myself altering how I was throwing a little bit. It wasn’t worth it.

"Fortunately, it’s nothing serious. There is definitely some tightness that I need to get out. We took the precautions we did and I’m really glad the bullpen stepped up.  Kittredge coming in in that situation is really, really tough. He's coming in ice cold. He’s not anticipating coming in for a few innings given how the game was going."

Archer hadn't had any problems with the elbow beforehand.

“It's kind of one of those things that popped up out of nowhere," Archer said. "I haven’t had any issues with my forearm at all. I don’t know what caused it but it came up out of nowhere."

Archer was pleased with what he saw from the bullpen.

“It was he best I’ve seen Springs throw since the spring," Archer said. "Kittredge came In with a runner on second and left him stranded. Thompson came in a did what he did by screwing people into the dirt. Mazza stepped up big. I don’t know if he did that even in spring training. Diego (Castillo) doesn’t have to be used in a four-run game. Overall, it was just huge."

The Rays scored all of their runs early, getting home runs from Austin Meadows and Randy Arozarena, who was three-for-five. Francisco Mejia had a two-run single.

The Rays try to complete a sweep today against the Yankees and starter Jordan Montgomery. The Rays have not announced who they will start in the game, which begins at 1:10 p.m. at Tropicana Field.

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