OAKLAND, Calif. – Rays manager Joe Maddon did not announce the starter for today’s game before Saturday night’s game, because who starts today was based on who was needed to pitch Saturday.
Confusing? Not really.
RHP Roberto Hernandez is scheduled to pitch today, but the Rays would rather he didn’t face the left-handed-heavy A’s lineup. Lefties are batting .305 against Hernandez this season.
To avoid what has the potential to be a heavy bullpen day, the Rays could just use all relievers. LHP Alex Torres, LHP Cesar Ramos or RHP Jamey Wright could find themselves throwing multiple innings, with one of the three used as the starter. The bullpen will be a little thicker today when RHP Josh Lueke is added as part of the first wave of September call-ups.
RHP Chris Archer will start Monday in Anaheim. If Hernandez is not used today, he could find himself starting Tuesday in Anaheim. That would allow LHP Matt Moore to rejoin the rotation Wednesday and push LHP David Price back one day, a move that will set up Moore, Price and RHP Alex Cobb to face the Red Sox on the upcoming homestand.
Welcome back, DY
DH Delmon Young will be added to the roster today, along with C Chris Gimenez and Lueke. DH Luke Scott will return from the disabled list.
The plan is for Young to DH against left-handed pitchers and select righties.
“Just trying to pick the right moments to play against the righties, and he will play against the lefties,” Maddon said. “He will get a chance to make an impact.”
Jennings dropped to ninth in order
CF Desmond Jennings, who entered Saturday’s game batting .114 since returning from the disabled list after breaking the middle finger on his left hand, batted ninth for the first time this season.
Maddon moved SS Yunel Escobar to No. 2 in the order to get a hotter bat in front of 2B Ben Zobrist and 3B Evan Longoria.
Jennings said before the game that his finger is not an issue with his slump.
“I just think it’s more of a timing issue having been off for a bit, and he’s not quite comfortable yet,” Maddon said.
Zobrist’s team-record streak of consecutive errorless games at second base ended at 81 on Friday after his throw to first to start the fifth inning sailed past James Loney.
Price walked the next batter, Chris Young, then allowed a one-out, three-run homer to Kurt Suzuki to give the A’s a 3-1 lead in a game they won 4-3.
“I don’t think (Price) walks Chris Young unless that error is made,” Zobrist said. “He was just cruising until that point. I just threw it a little bit too hard and too high. It just got away from me. It happens every once in a while. It’s kind of a bummer that it really cost us.”
It was Zobrist’s first error since May 13. It was his first throwing error since Sept. 24, when he was playing shortstop.
Closer Fernando Rodney was locked in the dugout bathroom for about 15 minutes during the eighth inning Friday. O.co Coliseum security frantically searched for a key while Rays players and staff tried to kick the door in and break the lock with a weighted bat.
“He was a locked-in closer (Friday) night,” Maddon said.
Meanwhile, the Rays scored twice during the rescue effort to tie the score at 3.
“It was pretty funny, actually,” Maddon said. “And we should have sent him back in there for another two runs, we’d have been fine.”
Eventually the doorknob was broken and Rodney was freed. A new doorknob was in place before Saturday’s game.
“Umpires looking in. Players looking in. What’s going on there?” Maddon said.
“It was pretty entertaining. Hey, listen, it got us back in the ballgame.”
RHP Jeremy Hellickson threw a bullpen session Saturday and will join the team Tuesday, said Maddon, who added he is not sure when Hellickson will return to the rotation. … The plan for RHP Jesse Crain is to throw off the mound when the road trip reaches Seattle. That would put him on pace to return by the final week of the season.