Rays Option Chase Whitley to Durham, Recall Ryne Stanek

BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 25: Chase Whitley (Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 25: Chase Whitley (Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images) /

Forced to work multiple innings in recent games and with not many available arms in the bullpen, the Tampa Bay Rays have optioned Chase Whitley and recalled Ryne Stanek from Durham.

Over the past couple games, the Rays bullpen has been over worked needing more than just the usual one or two relievers. Additionally, some have worked multiple innings making them unavailable for several games as in the case of Chase Whitley who was used for multiple innings in Monday’s game against the Astros.

With that being said, the Rays have optioned Whitley to Triple-A Durham and recalled hard-throwing right-hander Ryne Stanek from the same club. Whitley threw 43 pitches in his three-inning stint in which he gave up three runs on four hits in relief of Alex Cobb who lasted just three innings.

With options remaining and the fact of not being available for a few days, it was the logical decision to option Whitley. Whitney has done an admirable job in the bullpen working in short or long relief roles. On the season, he is 2-1 with a 3.45 ERA over 47 innings in 30 games with two saves and five holds.

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Stanek’s first stint and MLB debut with the Rays came by way of Blake Snell’s demotion in May.

He would make 11 appearances going 0-0 with a 5.59 ERA over 9.2 innings before his return to Durham following his last two appearances (June 8, 10) in which he gave up five runs on seven hits that included three home runs in 2.2 innings.

On the bright side, since his demotion Stanek has been lights out at Durham. In 16 games (17.2-IP) he has struck out 22, walked only eight and is pitching to a 0.51 ERA and has held opponents to a .119 average. On the season, he is 1-0, pitching to a 1.26 ERA (35.2-IP) with seven saves, 47 strikeouts, 14 walks and has not allowed a home run.

Cobb survived a quick first inning, however everything began to unfold in the second inning when he allowed three runs on three hits and in third, the walls caved in as he gave up five runs before getting the hook in favor of Whitley.

When it was all said and done, Cobb had given up eight runs on nine hits in three innings, his shortest outing since returning from Tommy John surgery last September against the White Sox when he also last just three innings.

It was the weekend series against the Yankees that put the Rays bullpen in dire straits.  Every available relief pitcher was used, including Andrew Kittredge and Adam Kolarek who have since been optioned to Durham. As well, Whitley was the lone member who pitched multiple innings throwing two frames on Friday, and then coming back on Monday for another multiple inning stint.

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Thursday’s tally was the need for six relievers to finish the final three innings, on Friday it was two, with Whitley pitching two innings, then on Saturday five relievers were called upon to pitch the final two plus innings with Sunday having the need for five more to pitch the final 4.2 innings. Which brings us to Monday night when Jesus Sucre came to the rescue.

Sucre Saves the Day

Since the Rays would have three more games against Houston, it was important to have as many fresh arms available in the bullpen and with the Rays down 11-6 heading into the eighth inning, Rays manager Kevin Cash decided to turn to backup catcher Jesus Sucre in order to save the bullpen from any further damage.

“Kidding aside, very appreciative, I mean that’s not an easy thing to do, go out there and throw strikes,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “He saved us from having a reliever pitch.”

Sucre was making his third appearance on the mound and the first since 2015 when he would make two relief appearances for the Mariners allowing three runs on six hits and finishing with a 13.50 ERA. His results last night were not as rewarding, so-to-speak as he gave up three runs on two hits in his one inning and ending the night with a 27.00 ERA

I just wanted to have fun with Wilson over there,” Sucre said. “I was kind of laughing because he put slider down. I do have some movement (on a pitch) but I don’t think it’s a slider. So I was trying to have fun with that.”

Next: Tampa Bay Rays End the Tim Beckham Error

Here’s hoping that Jesus Sucre sticks to his real job, behind the plate and not 60 feet 6 inches in front of it.