Rays continue to win..in spite of the bullpen

By Ken Filler
Apr. 30, 2019

The Tampa Bay Rays coming off a two game sweep of the Boston Red Sox still have the best record in baseball at 18-9 and have the best pitching in MLB with a team ERA of 2.95

The starting pitching has been outstanding. Tyler Glasnow is 5-0, Charlie Morton 3-0, last years Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell is 2-2. Yonny Chrinos is 3-0 in a opener-fourth starter role.

The area of concern is the bullpen and the Rays are have already started the Durham shuffle and we are just one month into the season.

Ryan Yarbrough who was pounded in two relief efforts which raised his ERA over eight was optioned last week. Emilio Pagan was next man up and he has pitched well in his outings especially in the closer role.

Coming into the season Diego Castillo and Jose Alvarado were the odds on favorites to close out games as Kevin Cash elected to go with the closer by committee approach. But Pagan has come up and been outstanding.

In seven innings of work pagan has 1.23 ERA with eight strikeouts and three saves. Pagan was one of the last guys cut coming out of spring training so the odds were good we would see him again at some point this season.

The big difference is that Pagan has added two to three MPH on his fastball which now tops out at 96-97 MPH. That has made a big difference.

Wilmer Font has also not been real sharp giving up eight runs in eleven innings of work raising his ERA to 6.55. He may be the next to go to Durham with another bad outing.

Mike Franco has been good at Durham posting a 2-0 record with a 2.35 ERA and Andrew Kittredge who has a 4.50 ERA would be the best candidates to be given the next chance at a shot in the Rays pen.

The highly touted Colin Poche is 0-2 with an ERA over 11 so I wouldn’t think he would get a chance anytime soon.

-Nate Lowe will be making his MLB debut in Kansas City tonight. Lowe was called up from Durham today due to the fact the Rays needed another left handed bat in the lineup. Lowe had an uneventful spring hitting .162 with seven hits. All seven of his hits went for extra bases including four home runs.

Lowe has been red hot at Durham hitting .300 with three homers and an OBS of.987. Lowe will play primarily at first.

-The Rays continue to struggle at the gate as they are averaging just over 14,000 a game which is 29th out of 30 teams in attendance.

Outside of the season opening series against Houston and the three game set against Boston, the Rays have had one game were they drew over 10,000.

I get the competition has not been good. Baltimore, Kansas City and the Chicago White Sox, three of the worst teams in baseball.

The Rays are an exciting young team and with the start they have had to the season you would think a few more fans would make the drive to St. Pete to see the best team in baseball.

Let’s hope as the summer season gets closer more folks will get excited about the Rays and show their support.