Rays

The Rays are going to blow out “TBD’s” arm

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As we’ve noted several times recently, the Tampa Bay Rays are going with a four man + a bullpen day rotation this year. I have my reservations about that. I think it’ll work for a while but, eventually, when the off days come farther apart and the battle plan experiences more actual contact with the enemy, it’ll start to break down. Possibly because their relievers get tired, possibly because pitchers start to bristle at not having strictly-defined roles. Maybe some combination of those factors sinks it, but either way, I don’t think it’ll be successful in the long term.

An early test will come this weekend. Thanks to today’s snow postponement in New York, Opening Day starter Chris Archer can go on full rest tomorrow and Blake Snell on Wednesday. That’s good for the Yankees games, but it means that today’s original plan — a bullpen day — is now moved into this weekend’s series against the Red Sox. Which makes for two bullpen and/or TBD days in the same series:

Seems to me that if there is any chance of the bullpen days thing working, it’d be better for them to not have to use the scheme twice in the same series. Not that “TBD” necessarily means a bullpen day consisting of the same arms. They could call an actual starter up, of course. Or, perhaps, they can shuffle different relievers up and down during the Red Sox series to make sure they’re not overtaxed. Still, seems rather dicey going with three starting pitches and bailing wire at the moment.

Oh well. At least it gives a chance to break out the poetry:

First we throw Archer, then we throw Snell
Then Jacob Faria and it’s snowy as hell.
Then again with Chris Archer and once more with Snell
Then Jacob Faria and on the rest we won’t dwell.

Cardinals tab Miles Mikolas for Opening Day start

Miles Mikolas
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The Cardinals have selected right-hander Miles Mikolas as their Opening Day starter, the club revealed Saturday. It’ll mark the first career Opening Day start for Mikolas, who is scheduled to go up against the Brewers when the team hits the road on March 28.

The 29-year-old righty was a strong contender for the 2018 NL Cy Young Award, earning All-Star distinctions and pitching to a career-best 18-4 record with a 2.83 ERA, 1.3 BB/9, 6.5 SO/9, and 4.3 fWAR over 200 2/3 innings. He’s positioned to lead the Cardinals rotation in 2019 as well, with former Opening Day starters Carlos Martínez and Adam Wainwright and some combination of right-handers Jack Flaherty, Michael Wacha, Alex Reyes, and John Gant behind him.

Manager Mike Shildt told reporters that Flaherty, Wacha, Wainwright, and Martínez had all been considered for the honor, but admitted that Opening Day honors were ultimately handed to Mikolas “in recognition of [his performance] last year.” The Cardinals are scheduled to play a four-game set against the Brewers to start the season and will stop over in Pittsburgh for another two games before returning to St. Louis for their opening homestand against the Padres on April 4. Additional pitching assignments have yet to be announced.