Rested bullpen leads Rays to victory

by Gary Shelton on June 6, 2021

in general

Castillo struck out the side in the ninth./JEFFREY S. KING

Friday, 3 a.m.

When a baseball team succeeds, there are a lot of reasons why. Credit slices up pretty liberally.

You can talk about the starting pitching, or you can talk about the improved hitting. You can talk about the defense, and you can talk about the power.

With the Rays, however, the conversation begins with the bullpen.

That bullpen was stellar again on Saturday in the Rays' 3-0 victory over the Texas Rangers. It went four innings and allowed just two hits and no runs, striking out seven. It continued a tear in which the team has re-established itself as a weapon.

Consider this: On April 23, not so long ago, the Rays were 10-9 and asking for volunteers for their bullpen. They kept giving up leads, and home runs, and as a unit, they had a 5.40 ERA, 13th in the American League. Since then, they've had a 3.33 ERA, third in the league.

It was that way again Saturday, when a rested bullpen took over for Rich Hill and kept the Rangers at bay. Hill, the reigning American League pitcher of the month, threw five shutout innings and allowed just two hits. But Ryan Thompson, Jeffrey Springs, Pete Fairbanks and Diego Castillo -- in order -- shut down the Rangers.

 “They were good from the Diego to Pete to Springs and definitely Thompson," Cash said. "All of them had their challenges, but they looked very criss. It’s amazing what two days can do for them when they're off . Maybe I should learn from that a little bit more."

The Rays got five solid innings from Hill, who was pulled after throwing just 59 pitches. Hill said he understood "the standard operating procedure' on the Rays.

The Rays didn't do a lot offensively, either. But they got a two-run single from Austin Meadows in the first and a solo homer from Manuel Margot in the eighth.

For Meadows, it was his 37th RBI in his last 30 games. Meadows has 46 RBI for the season, second in the American League.

The Rays play the Rangers again today at 2:35 p.m. in Arlington. Dave Dunning will pitch for Texas. A bullpen day is scheduled for the Rays.

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