While much is made of LHP Jake McGee and RHP Brad Boxberger, the Rays are getting big outs from a pair of rookie relievers — RHP Kirby Yates and LHP Jeff Beliveau.
Yates tossed his sixth straight scoreless appearance in Sunday’s 4-2 loss to the Yankees. He’s allowed only two base runners during that stretch.
“He’s just a couple of moments away from being very consistent when he truly believes he belongs here, I can do this, because his stuff’s good,” manager Joe Maddon said. “I think he’s doing really good work and he needs a little more time.”
Beliveau, who has been up and down between Triple-A Durham and the Rays five times this season, remained in the bullpen last week when the Rays recalled RHP Brandon Gomes because Maddon said he deserved to stay on the major league roster.
“Beliveau, first of all, is not afraid,” Maddon said. “I like that he can get righties and lefties out. Fastball does not know either side. He’s a strike thrower. He’s gotten some hitters out in really tough moments.”
The schedule doesn’t get any easier for the Rays, who are trying to make a run at the second wild-card spot.
The next 10 games are against the Tigers (three), Blue Jays (three) and Orioles (four), with the final two series on the road. The Orioles have a comfortable lead in the AL East, while the Tigers and Blue Jays are chasing the Royals for the second wild-card spot.
Heading into Monday’s action, the combined winning percentage of the teams remaining on the Rays schedule is .512, with 28 of their final 38 games against teams with winning records.
And the run begins tonight against RHP Max Scherzer (14-4, 2.98), the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner.
3B Evan Longoria has 22 RBIs in the 27 games since the All-Star break. He had 44 RBIs in the 97 games before the break ... According to Baseball America, the Rays signed 16-year-old Venezuelan LHP Francisco Sanchez for $675,000 ... The Ray Team took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge on Monday and challenged the USF SunDolls and the Bucs cheerleaders.