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Tampa Bay Rays – Is It Closing Time On Openers?

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OAKLAND, CA - MAY 28: Chris Archer #22 of the Tampa Bay Rays pitches against the Oakland Athletics in the bottom of the first inning at the Oakland Alameda Coliseum on May 28, 2018 in Oakland, California. MLB players across the league are wearing special uniforms to commemorate Memorial Day. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - MAY 28: Chris Archer #22 of the Tampa Bay Rays pitches against the Oakland Athletics in the bottom of the first inning at the Oakland Alameda Coliseum on May 28, 2018 in Oakland, California. MLB players across the league are wearing special uniforms to commemorate Memorial Day. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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Having Tampa Bay Rays’ manager Kevin Cash start relievers to begin the game has become a distraction.  There have been both positive and negative reactions.

We’ve seen it.  Sergio Romo can start a few games.  In the end, with mixed results.  Ryne Stanek looked pretty good. How would that look in, say, the ninth inning?

Last week, I wrote that starting relievers was “innovative”. Even supported the idea.  Now, I’m having second thoughts.

Yes, only a week or so has passed since I last wrote on this.    But, I’m wondering how good the Tampa Bay Rays could be if they played it straight.  What if they let each of their pitchers pitch in the roles they are accustomed to?  Ryan Yarbrough appears to be a starting pitcher.  Possibly a middle of the rotation starter.  Arhcer and Snell are locked in. Faria was, before he got hurt.  I don’t think the Rays struggle to win with five starting pitchers. Why are they pretending as if they wouldn’t?

Yonny Chirinos is making his way back from the disabled list.  Nathan Eovaldi will start tomorrow night.  Yarbrough has been outstanding in six inning stints as the second man in.  Matt Andriese would like to start and an argument could be made that he should. The Rays just traded for Andrew Moore, who is a starter with big league experience.  They wanted him and felt he was worth Alex Colome and Denard Span.

Next: Could the Rays compete for a wild card berth?

I ask.  Why are the Rays playing around with Sergio Romo starting games?  I often wonder why Romo still has a roster spot.  What if the Rays come close to the final wild card spot and miss out?  Will this “opener” thing be looked at as the reason they were close or the reason they failed?  I’ll suggest the latter.

Will the Rays change their ways?

With Snell starting tonight and Eovaldi tomorrow night, the Rays will have legitimate starters beginning games the next two nights.  But, of course, that leaves Thursday afternoon as the next “open” spot.  If the pattern holds, Sergio Romo will get the open.  Then, Ryan Yarbrough will follow.   It will be their turn in the rotation.

I’m at the point where I’d like the Rays to set a rotation and see what this team can do.  Thy seem to be trying to do this with their starting lineup on the field, for the most part.  It would be fun to see the results if they put their pitchers in a reliable role and watched what they could do.

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