Erasmo Ramirez was inserted into the Tampa Bay Rays rotation out of necessity. With Blake Snell ready to return to the majors, he is heading back to the bullpen, where he belongs.
During his tenure with the Tampa Bay Rays, Erasmo Ramirez has filled a variety of roles. Mainly a starter in 2015, his first season in Tampa Bay, he was a solid pitcher, posting an 11-6 record with a 3.75 ERA and a 1.133 WHiP. Last year, Ramirez made only one start, working in every imaginable spot in the bullpen. Once again, he pitched well, posting a 3.77 ERA and a 1.279 WHiP, making a start and picking up two saves.
This year, Ramirez once again started the year in the bullpen. However, as fate would have it, he was once again thrust into the starting rotation, as the Rays dealt with injuries and ineffectiveness. The hope was that Ramirez would, once again, provide the Rays with worry free innings until the rotation was healthy once again.
Instead, he faltered as a starter. While the beginning of his tenure in the rotation went well, he struggled after picking up the save in the Rays 15 inning marathon against the Twins. Taking the ball to start against the Rangers the following day, Ramirez allowed four runs in 2.1 innings. In his five starts since picking up that save, Ramirez has a 8.46 ERA and a 1.881 WHiP, with opponents producing a .354/.402/.573 batting line against him.
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Now that Blake Snell has been brought back up to the majors, Ramirez will once again be back in the bullpen. To be fair, it is for the best. With his recent performance as a starter, Ramirez has a bloated 6.05 ERA and a 1.448 WHiP over his eight starts. Meanwhile, in relief, he has posted a 3.05 ERA and a 0.871 WHiP, striking out 15 batters while issuing only four walks.
As the Rays have had their struggles in the bullpen, putting Ramirez in a relief role has the added benefit of helping to solidify the relief corps. He can slot back into his role as a multi-inning fireman, stopping rallies and helping to protect the bullpen if the starter struggles. It is a role that Ramirez has proven to be perfect for.
The Tampa Bay Rays Jack of all Trades is heading back to the bullpen. For both Erasmo Ramirez and the Rays, it is where he belongs.