Tampa Bay Rays: Projecting AL East’s Opening Day Starters

Tampa Bay Rays: The Opening Day starters have been announced and baseball is on the way. We break down every Opening Day starter in the NL East Division.

The Tampa Bay Rays and the AL East will only play interdivisional games against the conveniently located NL East teams, in an effort to minimize travel. Yesterday, we covered the NL East’s probable Opening Day starters, today we take a look at the AL East.

Tampa Bay Rays – NL East Opening Day Starters (probable and announced)

New York Yankees: Gerrit Cole (probable)Not only did Gerrit Cole sign a $324 million contract with the Yankees this offseason, but he threw 5 2/3 innings in just his second intrasquad game of summer camp, striking out nine and allowing no runs.

Boston Red Sox: Eduardo Rodriguez (probable) –  Chris Sale announced he would miss the 2020 season due to Tommy John surgery and the team traded David Price to the Dodgers before he announced he’d sit out the 2020 season. That left the likely candidate as Eduardo Rodriguez who finished last season with a 3.81 ERA. Rodriguez has been absent from camp as he tested positive for COVID-19. The Red Sox say he’s been throwing into a net at home and are hopeful he’ll be back soon. Tyler Glasnow returned to the Rays yesterday and threw 49 pitches on his first day, exceeding three innings. It’s possible Rodriguez shows up in time to get the nod. If not, Eovaldi (the fourth option just a few months ago) would be the guy.

Baltimore Orioles: John Means (announced) – Means finished second in the AL ROY voting by posting a 3.60 ERA and also earned an All-Star appearance. His 12 wins accounted for 22% of the team’s total victories. Means had a solid 1.135 WHIP and walked just 2.2 batters per nine.

Toronto Blue Jays: Hyun Jin Ryu (probable) –  Ryu signed an $80 million deal with the Jays this offseason to be their ace. He took the ERA crown with a 2.32 ERA last season, which was actually worse than his 1.97 ERA in 15 starts the previous season. Ryu has a career ERA of 2.98 over six major-league seasons.

Tampa Bay Rays: Charlie Morton (probable) Charlie Morton finished third in AL Cy Young voting last season and after stating that his goal was to pitch at least five innings in his first start, he executed five innings of work in just his second simulated game. He says he feels great and his curveball looks sharp. Meanwhile, Blake Snell said his elbow feels fine but hasn’t surpassed three innings of work in camp yet. With Morton being as close to mid-season form as he can be, and possibly entering his final season (hopefully not), plus when you factor in his excellence last season, he’s the guy that should get the nod.

To check out which teams have announced their Opening Day starters from around the league, check out Sarah Langs’ writeup at MLB.com.

Tampa Bay Rays – News Around the MLB

Next: NL East Opening Day Starters

Do you think Morton earned the nod or should it go to Snell? Let us know in the comments below!

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