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.

Manny Machado, batting second, playing shortstop in his Dodgers debut

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The biggest news of the All-Star break — even bigger than the All-Star Game itself — was the trade of Manny Machado to the Dodgers. We talked about it for days, but now the talking is done: Machado is playing shortstop and is batting second in his Dodgers debut this evening against the Brewers in Milwaukee.

Machado is expected to play a little third base for the Dodgers, too, but with Justin Turner still out with a bum hop, Machado will play his preferred position. It’s not the one he plays as well, but that’s another topic altogether and is, eventually, going to be Dave Roberts’ problem.

Machado is hitting .315/.387/.575 with 24 homers and 65 RBI on the year. Those numbers all get set back to zero now that he’s in the National League, however. Tonight he begins compiling new numbers.