Mar 20, 2015; Port Charlotte, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Drew Smyly (33) sits in the dugout looks on against the Toronto Blue Jays at Charlotte Sports Park. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
For the next four days, the Tampa Bay Rays get to sit back and relax. Today is an off-day, and then the team will throw Chris Archer, Nate Karns, and Jake Odorizzi in their three-game series against the Boston Red Sox. Those three have been the Rays’ most reliable starters, and while it is unclear how they will perform, they give the team confidence as they go to the mound.
Once we arrive at Friday, though, things will start getting crazy. Lined up to start on April 24th and 25th are Erasmo Ramirez and Matt Andriese, a pairing that doesn’t exactly prompt excitement. The good news, though, is that the Rays have two pitchers with considerably more promise that are moving towards coming off the disabled list: Drew Smyly and Alex Colome.
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The Rays reportedly wanted to see Smyly for another rehab start, but are they willing to let him return five days earlier? Yesterday, he threw 68 pitches, setting him up for 80 to 90 offerings in his next start, and the Rays can certainly expect that number of pitches from him to go better than a similar number from Ramirez or Andriese. At the same time, it may be worthwhile for the team to make sure he is fully stretched out when he returns, and you have to wonder whether they are concerned at all about whether he is ready.
Colome’s situation is more complicated not because he is less healthy, but simply because of bad luck. His last rehab start was on April 16th and he threw 58 pitches. He would be set to throw more offerings than Smyly in his next rehab outing, but there is one big problem: that next rehab outing is scheduled for tomorrow, not lining him up to return until April 26th. If the Rays like, they could have him throw 25-30 pitches and then have him return to the big leagues on three days’ rest, but that is far from ideal.
With those facts in mind, the Tampa Bay Rays have the following options for their starting pitchers on April 24th and 25th: 1) start Ramirez and Andriese in some order, 2) start Andriese and have a bullpen day, 3) start Andriese and either Smyly or Colome, 4) start Smyly or Colome and have a bullpen day, 5) start both Smyly and Colome, or 6) start Andriese and a Triple-A call-up. Let’s go through all of those possibilities in the next few slides. The final slide is a one-page view if you would prefer that.
Next: Option 1: Starting Ramirez and Andriese