Rays give their bullpen a little breathing room

by Gary Shelton on April 24, 2019 · 0 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Rays

Beeks struck out seven batters in relief./JEFFREY S KING

Tuesday, 4 a.m.

Maybe, just maybe, the Tampa Bay Rays have figured out how to ease the stress on their overworked bullpen.

It starts with Ryne Stanek, who opened his sixth game of the year for the Rays. He still hasn't given up a run.

It continues Jalen Beaks, who went 4 2/3 innings with seven strikeouts to get his first win of the year.

And it finishes up with Emilio Pagan, who earned his second save of the year to close out the Royals in a 5-2 victory. In all, the three helped a taxed bullpen -- where both Jose Alvarado and Diego Castillo have faced too much work.

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Zunino celebrates his second homer in two nights./JEFFREY S. KING

Rays' manager Kevin Cash was pleased with Beeks.

"We needed some length today and we got it from him," Cash said. "We got him built back up. The last inning to me was his most impressive. He was probably a little gassed, but he made some big pitches to keep it right there.

Pagan earned his second save for the Rays./JEFFREY S. KING

"After his first inning of work the command was a little erratic,
but he made pitches and it seemed like he got in a good rhythm and was efficient for the rest of the ballgame. It was a really strong performance.”

Said Beeks: "I knew coming in that they needed quite a few more outs than I’ve been throwing this year so I was just trying to do my best to lengthen out and see how far it can go and help the bullpen because we’ve been taxed a little bit lately so I was trying to do my job for the team.”

Pagan seems ready for the big leagues.

Wendle drove in a run with his first hit of the season./JEFFREY S. KING

"He’s been huge," Cash said. "We sent him out, bring him right back up and now he’s right in the middle of everything. That’s three in a row. We probably won’t pitch him tomorrow. We’ll probably try to stay away from him, but he’s picked us up in a big way. We ask all of these guys the situation and position that we’re in from a pitching standpoint and the efforts the last two nights have really helped.”

Pagan admitted part of his job was to five Alvarado and Castillo a break.

“It feels good,' Pagan said. "I said it on the radio after the game, to be able

Kiermaier played well in center field./JEFFREY S. KING

to give Alvarado and Diego two days of rest. Those guys have earned it and they needed it. I'm glad I could come through and get the job done to reset the backend of our bullpen going into the next series. It feels pretty good.

“I think I was just repeating my delivery. I had great command of my fastball. Getting ahead early, which makes hitters chase the breaking ball off the plate a little bit more consistently. (Martín) Maldonado had a great at-bat. I threw him everything I have. He hit one right at somebody. But I felt good with all my pitches and I’m trying to throw them all for strikes and going from there.”

The Rays play an afternoon game today against Kansas City. Blake Snell, coming off of a broken toe, will start against Jakob Junis. The game begins at 1:10 p.m. at Tropicana Field as the team goes for a sweep.

Stanek has been a consistent pitcher all year./JEFFREY S. KING


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