Jun 3, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (39) slides into third base after hitting a triple during the third inning as Miami Marlins third baseman Casey McGehee (9) waits on the throw at Marlins Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
The Tampa Bay Rays’ season-opening homestand is already over, but they will actually remain in the Sunshine State as they take on their natural rivals, the Miami Marlins. It is the earliest interleague series in Rays history, which is interesting enough, but we also already know that crazy things are coming in the first game.
Tonight, the Rays will start right-hander Steve Geltz. Geltz has looked really good in his first two appearances for the Rays, but he’s starting now? He hasn’t started a single time among his 256 professional appearances! Did the Rays have another two starting pitching injures overnight? The good news is that they did not, and their reasoning for using Geltz is quite sound.
Geltz is starting because the Rays intend to pinch-hit for their pitchers in this game as often as possible. Given that their team isn’t exactly an offense juggernaut, it is hard to argue with that. If they take the lead, expect them to go with either of their actual starting pitchers, Erasmo Ramirez and Matt Andriese, for three or four innings. Will this strategy work? That’s a great question. At the very least, though, it is great to see the Rays continue to innovate.
I also talked with Ehsan Kassim of Marlin Maniac about the Marlins, and I also answered some questions for him about the Rays. The interviews are on the next two slides.
Next: Interview With Ehsan