Tampa Bay Rays
Rays notes: Back of bullpen gets needed work
Manager Joe Maddon saw enough from RHP Jeremy Hellickson after five innings Sunday against the Indians and decided it was time to go to the bullpen.
But that had nothing to do with Hellickson and everything to do with RHP Kyle Farnsworth, who needed the work; and RHP Joel Peralta, LHP Jake McGee and RHP Fernando Rodney, who needed work, too.
“These guys needed to pitch,” Maddon said. “From the point from where they needed to not pitch they got to a day where they needed to pitch, and it worked out well. They all covered. It was nice. It was perfect.”
The work by the long relievers during the first two games of the series kept those four in the bullpen. And, given today's off day, Maddon didn't want them going too long between appearances.
“I was counting days will all these guys,” Maddon said.
Farnsworth hadn't pitched since May 24. Rodney's last appearance was May 30 and he faced one batter.
Farnsworth and company allowed just two hits during the final four innings. Rodney, pitching in a non-save situation, threw just six pitches.
The bullpen, which did not allow an earned run in 16 innings during the series with the Indians, will be rested Tuesday when they begin a three-game series in Detroit.
Speaking of Hellickson Hellickson gave up nine hits — six with two outs — but allowed just three runs to earn his third win of the season in the Rays' 11-3 victory.
He did so by keeping the ball down in the strike zone and forcing the Indians to hit his pitch. He did not allow a home run for the first time in eight starts and would have had a shutout if not for a fly ball to the right-center field wall that fell between CF Sam Fuld and RF Matt Joyce.
“For the most part I threw my fastball where I wanted,” Hellickson said. “They hit a lot of good pitches, a lot of pitches that were down, so I was right where I wanted to be.”
About that non-catch It was a rough weekend in the outfield for Joyce. On Friday a ball hit him in the back as he jumped toward the wall to make a catch.
On Sunday he was tentative on the third-inning fly ball by Yan Gomes.
The wind took the ball away from Fuld and back toward Joyce, but Joyce didn't make the play.
“I regret not calling him off and just not getting it,” Fuld said. “To me at the time, it looked like he would be able to catch it easily.”
Joyce said the wind and sun played a role but admitted his defense could use a tuneup. He said he will take fly balls before batting practice Tuesday in Detroit.
“Just because I'm feeling a little uncomfortable out there,” he said. “I think it's something that will work itself out.”
Longo goes yard Indians RHP Matt Langwell made his major-league debut in the eighth inning Sunday and 3B Evan Longoria made it a memorable one by hitting Langwell's second pitch into the right-field seats for a two-run homer.
“It was one of those days for him,” Longoria said. “Heck, at least he's here, right?”
It was the first home run in 20 games for Longoria, who tied Joyce and LF Kelly Johnson for the team lead with 10.
“Home runs are nice, but really just trying to get back into the swing of things, try to feel better at the plate, have better at-bats, swing at better pitches,” Longoria said. “That was the thing that was making me successful at the beginning of the year when I went through that little streak.
“I was swinging the bat well and swinging at good pitches that were in the zone. I got away from that. Hopefully take some of the momentum from (Sunday), enjoy the off day and carry it over to the next series.”
Moore moves to Tuesday LHP Matt Moore will pitch Tuesday in Detroit and be followed by RHP Alex Cobb and RHP Roberto Hernandez.
Moore was scheduled to pitch Thursday's series finale but he was moved up after throwing just 11 pitches in his rain-shortened one-inning outing Friday.
“I didn't want to throw the last game in Detroit, sitting on one inning, that I believe is getting a little bit of the cobwebs,” Moore said.
This also gives Cobb one more day to let the cut on his right middle finger heal.
“I feel like my finger is pretty much healed now, but one more day can't hurt anything,” Cobb said.
Noteworthy SS Yunel Escobar apologized to Maddon when he returned to the dugout after not running hard in the eighth inning on his line drive that reached the right-field wall. … LHP David Price is up to 105 feet in his long-toss program. He could throw his first bullpen this weekend. … CF Desmond Jennings was given the day off Sunday. … LHP Alex Torres will remain with the team for the foreseeable future, Maddon said. … The Rays acquired minor-league RHP Erik Hamren from the Braves' Class AA team for future considerations and assigned him to Double-A Montgomery. Hamren appeared in 14 games in 2011 with the Padres. … The start time for the June 23 game against the Yankees in New York is 2:05 p.m.