SEATTLE — The Rays settled on their rotation for the Red Sox series that begins Tuesday at Tropicana Field: LHP David Price, RHP Alex Cobb and RHP Jeremy Hellickson.
Price and Cobb will stay on their regular five days, while Hellickson, who was scheduled to pitch Tuesday, will be pushed back two days to give him some rest.
Missing is RHP Chris Archer, who would have been scheduled to pitch Thursday’s finale had he remained on his five-day schedule. But Monday’s off day — the Rays’ last day of the season — enabled the team to push Archer’s start back one day and afford him a little rest during the final month of the season. Archer will start the opener of the three-game series next weekend at Minnesota.
“I don’t feel any more tired than anybody else does at this point of the season,” Archer said. “We’ve been going since February, so nobody’s going to feel 100 percent. I feel good, though. I’m in a good place mentally. Physically, I feel the same as I did two weeks ago when I pitched well. I feel the same as I did a month ago when I pitched well. I don’t think tired is the right word. I feel ready to go. That’s how I feel.”
Archer, who starts tonight against the Mariners, has pitched 156 innings this season when you combine his work at Triple-A Durham with the 106 innings he’s pitched for the Rays. He threw a combined 157ß innings last season between Durham and Tampa Bay. The Rays do not want their pitchers to increase their innings pitched by more than 20 percent. Archer will make five more starts unless the Rays skip him again, something they can do with RHP Roberto Hernandez and RHP Jake Odorizzi, once Odorizzi rejoins the major league roster.
Archer said he understands the thought process and said he would not be upset if he misses a start or two.
“We’re looking at what’s best for the team right now, and what’s best for me long term,” he said. “I want to pitch, there’s no doubt about that.”
Big day for Crain
RHP Jesse Crain (right shoulder strain) played catch Friday at 135 feet and will throw his first bullpen session today since coming to the Rays on July 29 in a trade with the White Sox.
“He’s eager to do it. I’m eager to watch it,” manager Joe Maddon said. “Talking to him, he has this cautious optimistic approach to the day, even to the conversation.”
A good session today will start the process of his joining the bullpen during the final week of the regular season. He will likely needed four more bullpen/simulated games to get ready to face major league hitting.
A setback today will likely end his season.
“It would be almost impossible,” Maddon said for Crain to return.
Team Wil explained
3B Evan Longoria said he made up the Rays T-shirts with “Team Wil” printed on the back for one reason: to get OF Wil Myers to wear a T-shirt around the clubhouse that has a Rays logo.
“He never wears any Rays stuff,” Longoria said. “So I figured if I got him something with ‘Rays’ on the front and his name on the back he’d be more inclined to wear it.”
Longoria said it was purely coincidence that the shirts arrived the day after Myers’ two-home-run game. Also, Longoria said he had only 20 made because the players don’t all wear the special T-shirts the make for each other during the season.
The Rays snapped their streak of consecutive games hitting into a double play at 11 when they didn’t hit into a double play Thursday. ... Price, who took the loss Thursday, has lost consecutive starts for the frist time since July 20-Aug. 2, 2011.