Oct 2, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Fernando Rodney (56) celebrates after defeating the Cleveland Indians in the American League wild card playoff game at Progressive Field. Tampa Bay won 4-0. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Rested Bullpen Could Be Key to Tampa Bay Rays' Comeback


What has gone  right for the Rays so far against the Boston Red Sox? Not much. Matt Moore came apart after Wil Myers‘ enormous misplay in right field and David Price fell far short of expectations in Game 2. The only Rays hitters to manage an OPS over .700 are Kelly Johnson, Sean Rodriguez, James Loney, Evan Longoria, and Ben Zobrist. But Zobrist is just 1 for 7, Longoria doesn’t have an extra-base hit, Rodriguez has done nothing other than hit a home run, and Johnson has a grand total of one plat e appearance. We all know how bad the defense has been. Finally, there is the bullpen, which has allowed 4 runs in 4.2 innings pitched, a 7.71 ERA that can’t be exactly what the Rays had in mind. However, the Rays bullpen does have one real advantage: the entire relief corps, especially the late-inning relievers, have been used so little.

Fernando Rodney still hasn’t pitched and you can be guaranteed that he’ll be pumping 100 MPH fastballs when he finally does. Joel Pertala has endured a heavy workload this season and has struggled quite a bit of late, but now he is rested and should look strong when he comes back. Alex Torres tossed just one inning in Game 1, and he should be able to not only pitch in Game 3 but give the Rays two or three innings if necessary. Despite him pitching in Game 2, the Rays should have no qualms using Jake McGee in the final three games of the series if the need arises. Then there is usual starting pitcher Chris Archer, who threw 1.1 innings in Game 1 but could provide three or four frames if necessary in Game 3, 4, or 5. The Rays have all their weapons at their disposal and Joe Maddon will not hesitate to go to his bullpen early. Madddon decided to leave both Matt Moore and David Price in apparently beyond their breaking point, but expect a quick hook for both Alex Cobb in Game 3 and Jeremy Hellickson in Game 4 knowing that he has a full array of relievers behind him. The Rays are going to have it rough as they try to come back in this series. But with the help of their well-rested bulpen, they hope to finally hold down the Red Sox offense and turn a laugher of an ALDS into their most exciting series yet.

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Tags: Chris Archer Fernando Rodney Joel Peralta Tampa Bay Rays