Many have suggested that Cesar Ramos is not fit for the starting rotation. I’d imagine some of you reading this might be one of those who may feel this way. I, on the other hand, feel as though he got the short end of the stick coming out of Spring Training — a feeling that’s bolstered every time he’s taken the mound since. Sure… He flubbed his first start of the season against the Reds. Since however, he’s tossed 10 innings of one run ball, including his impressive start Saturday night against the White Sox. Ramos put together an efficient 5 IP/4 H/0 R/2 BB/0 K/65 pitches (39 strikes, 60% K/BB)/9 GO/6 FO outing, in the Rays three-game, skid-ending, 4-0 win against the White Sox.
Having grown from his outing against the Reds, while improving on his outing against the Yankees, Ramos pounded the outer and lower reaches of the zone Saturday night, inducing his fair share of weak contact off the bats of the mightily productive White Sox hitters. He was able to work through a pair of high leverage innings, and came out unscathed. Ramos pitched around a leadoff double in the third inning, and got out of a bases loaded situation in the fifth — all the while, preserving the shutout.
The Third Inning
Gordon Beckham led off the third by hitting one of the only hard hit balls of the night; shooting a laser of a liner to right field. Wil Myers quickly fielded the play and returned the ball to Yunel Escobar as Beckham slid into second. Escobar had a chance to tag him before Beckham got to the bag, but he could not handle what was a pretty good throw from Myers. Beckham was safe at second with no outs. Adrian Nieto came to the plate with the Sox threatening, and promptly grounded out to second — moving Beckham to third with only one out. Adam Eaton was next, but he hit a comebacker to Ramos, keeping Beckham at third. Finally, he got Marcus Semien to line out to Longoria, consequently stranding Beckham at third.
Ramos ran into trouble once more in the bottom of the fifth, and he again worked through the jam.
The Fifth Inning
The Rays lefty yielded a leadoff walk to Alejandro De Aza, who moved to second on a base hit by Beckham. With two on and no outs, Nieto hit a sacrifice back to Ramos — giving the Rays an out, but moving the runners to second and third. Ramos, again, got Eaton to hit a comebacker to the mound. Ramos calmly looked De Aza back to third, before firing the ball to James Loney to put away the White Sox’s speedy center fielder for the second out of the inning. With two outs, Ramos walked Semien, bringing a very dangerous Jose Abreu to the plate with the bases loaded. We all know how this could have ended. Instead, Ramos got Abreu to end the inning by grounding out to Evan Longoria, who fired the ball — on a hop — to Loney.
Ramos departed after allowing a leadoff single to Dayan Viciedo in the sixth, giving way to Brandon Gomes. But why pull Ramos when he’d done so well? Konerko was one of the only opposing hitters to put together a pair of good at-bats against Ramos. With the leadoff runner on first, a sharply hit base hit off the bat of Konerko, could have scored Viciedo from first. It made sense to pull Ramos after only 65 pitches, which gave him the opportunity to leave the game on somewhat of a high note. It could also be argued that he’s not fully stretched out yet. Maddon let Ramos throw 15 more pitches this time around, and I’d imagine he’d be allowed to throw 80 pitches (or so) in his next start, five days from now.
Gomes needed just four pitches to get a double play ball from Paul Konerko, and a fly ball out from Alexis Ramirez. He went on to throw two more superb innings of no hit, no walk ball — striking out one along the way. Juan Carlos Oviedo came out to pitch in the bottom of the ninth inning.
With spotty command, Oviedo gave up a leadoff walk to Viciedo. Grant Balfour got started tossing the ball pen just in case. But the Rays righty got Konerko swinging (…swatting?) at a filthy change-up, while Viciedo moved to second on defensive indifference. With one out and a runner in scoring position, Ramirez fouled out to first for the second out of the inning. Viciedo moved to third on a wild pitch thrown by Oviedo, before De Aza grounded out to second, finishing the shutout for the Rays. Oviedo has a lot of movement on his pitches, and I’d imagine his fastball command will come around sooner than later.
The Rays’ scoring looked a little something like this:
The New What Next
The bullpen preserver himself, David Price, will take on White Sox prospect Scott Carroll, who will be making his Major League debut. It’s widely predicted Monday’s game could be rained out. If so, a win today would be the Rays first road series win of the season.
Rays 4/27/14 Starting Lineup
- To answer the elusive question: yes, a manager CAN get ejected in this post replay era — just ask Joe Maddon, who was canned for arguing balls and strikes from the dugout.
- The Rays needed 117 pitches (70 strikes) to finish their shutout against the White Sox. John Danks needed 123 (63 strikes) to finish 5.2 innings.
- Marc Topkin writes, “Got to wonder, the way things have been going, if the Rays won’t soon consider expanding to an eight-man bullpen to add depth and flexibility (and maybe a second lefty). That would mean going to a three-man bench and either cutting loose OF Brandon Guyer (who rarely plays anyway) or sending down INF Logan Forsythe or, less likely, INF Sean Rodriguez.”
- Topkin went on to say, “Given RHP Josh Lueke‘s repeated failures in high-leverage situations at the big-league level, at what point does the Rays’ patience evolve into stubbornness?”
- RHP Jeremy Hellickson is scheduled to throw off the mound today at the Trop for the first time since elbow surgery.