ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – When Jalen Beeks was shown warming up in the bullpen during the third inning Sunday at Detroit, the immediate thought was that something was wrong with Drew Rasmussen.
Fortunately, Rasmussen was not injured. Manager Kevin Cash has noted in recent weeks that managing the workload among those in the rotation is going to be key down the stretch. After all, outside of Corey Kluber, who with less than 200 innings on the mound the last four seasons due to arm and shoulder injuries that have his workload being monitored as well, there are not a whole lot of innings at the major league level.
*Shane McClanahan pitched 123 1/3 innings for the Rays last season as a rookie and came into this year with 251 innings as a pro. He has logged 128 1/3 innings in 21 starts this season.
*After retiring all nine Tigers he faced Sunday, Rasmussen has been on the mound for 91 1/3 innings this season, a total identical to his MLB career total coming into this season. He thrown 268 innings as a professional.
*Jeffrey Spring came into this season having thrown 129 1/3 innings over the course of four seasons at the big-league level, all in relief except for two appearances as an opener with Texas in 2018. his year, the southpaw, who started the season in the bullpen before joining the rotation, has thrown 79 1/3 innings to nearly double his previous career high of 44 2/3 innings with the Rays last season.
Against that backdrop, Cash and pitching coach Kyle Snyder will continue to keep close tabs on his starting pitchers. The Rays have the benefit of a very strong and flexible bullpen, plus the fact more arms will be available in the coming weeks as pitchers — Matt Wisler, JT Chargois, Josh Fleming and possibly Yonny Chirinos and Tyler Glasnow, who looked good in a bullpen session over the weekend – come off the injured list.
Yu the man: The sample sizes are small, but it worth noting that since being claimed off waivers from the Pirates on July 5, Yu Chang is hitting .341 (14-for-41) with a homer, a pair of doubles and five RBI. He has safely in six straight starts, during which he is batting .444 (8-for-18). His walk with the bases loaded in the ninth inning drove in the only run the Rays would need in their 7-0 win Sunday at Detroit.
The native of Taiwan, who turns 27 on August 18, has started at second, short and third. He homered in the second inning and pitched the eighth inning of Saturday’s 9-1 loss to the Tigers, allowing a pair of runs on a homer by Jonathan Schoop. Chang became the second player in team history to hit a homer and allow a home run in the same game. Pitcher Esteban Yan did the trick in 2000 against the Mets in a game he homered and sacrificed in his only two plate appearances that season. Yan’s only other career plate appearance resulted in a single with St. Louis in 2003.
Walk in the (ball)park: The Rays drew six walks in Sunday’s 7-0 win at Detroit. Three of the walks were issued during a seven-run ninth by losing pitcher Gregory Soto. That gave them 27 walks in the four-game series to set a team mark for most walks in a series. The previous record of 26 was during a four-game series against visiting Cleveland in 2010. The Rays trotted to first a team-record 13 times on Friday night.
Yandy Diaz drew four walks (in three games) during the Detroit series and heads into Tuesday night at Milwaukee having drawn 58 walks, which is tied for third in the American League.
Plenty of relief: The bullpen has a 2.47 ERA (12 ER in 43 2/3 innings) in the last 11 games. In Sunday’s win against the Tigers, five relievers combined for six shutout innings. Ryan Thompson, who did not appear in the Detroit series, has been particularly hot out of the ‘pen with a streak of 15 consecutive scoreless appearances (15 2/3 innings) dating to June 21. Jason Adam is unscored upon in 13 of his last 14 outings and Brooks Raley 10 of 11.
Brewtown visit, Phillips’ return: The Rays start two-game series in Milwaukee on Tuesday night (8:10 ET), which will be followed by a matinee (2:10 ET) on Wednesday. The Rays, who get to see Willy Adames again, lost twice to the Brewers at Tropicana Field in late June….The Rays have another day off Thursday before welcoming Brett Phillips back to the Trop where they will host the Orioles for a three-game weekend series beginning Friday night. Phillips, who was designated for assignment last Monday before being dealt to Baltimore for cash considerations prior to last Tuesday’s trade deadline, is 2-for-11 with six strikeouts in four games with the O’s.