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Rays notes: Trip putting Rays' pitching depth to test

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Published:   |   Updated: June 18, 2013 at 06:42 AM
BOSTON -

One of the reasons executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman is so cautious when it comes to trading away his starting pitching is because once you dip into that depth, you leave yourself open to situations like the one facing the Rays today at Fenway Park.

With LHP David Price and RHP Alex Cobb on the disabled list (and RHP Jeff Niemann as well), the Rays are forced to start RHPs Chris Archer and Jake Odorizzi in the day/night doubleheader against the Red Sox. RHP Jeremy Hellickson is scheduled to pitch Wednesday.

Today is Archer's regular turn to start, and he will pitch the afternoon game. The Rays will use Major League Baseball's 26th man rule for doubleheaders and add Odorizzi to the roster for the night game.

While the Rays see promising futures for both pitchers, it's not likely they are thrilled with starting two rookies against a Red Sox offense that's sixth in the American League in hitting (.265 average) and fifth in runs (734), especially in the unforgiving confines of Fenway Park.

What's more, the Rays are expected to call up RHP Alex Colome to take Cobb's next turn in the order, scheduled for Friday when the Rays play Game 2 of a four-game series against the Yankees in New York.

This means the Rays will use three rookie pitchers on this seven-game trip. And those three should make four starts since Archer's next turn will be Sunday in New York.

Archer is 1-2 with a 4.80 ERA in three starts since replacing Odorizzi in the rotation.

Odorizzi, who joined the rotation when Price went on the DL, allowed nine runs in nine combined innings during his two starts.

Colome did not allow an earned run in 52/3 innings and recorded the win against the Marlins in his lone start of the season.

Combined, the trio have made 12 big-league starts.

Nothing but zeros LHP Alex Torres, who has allowed three hits and struck out 23 in 16 innings this season spanning eight outings, is the first pitcher since 1900, according to Elias, to have 23 strikeouts while allowing three hits in his first eight games of the season.

His 16-inning scoreless streak to begin a season is the second longest in team history behind the 21 tossed by Joe Borowski in 2005.

Add his five scoreless innings to close out the 2011 season and Torres is working on a 21-inning scoreless streak with the Rays. The team record for consecutive scoreless innings is 271/3, set in 2012 by J.P. Howell.

Aceves, of course The Red Sox also will take advantage of the 26th man rule and call up RHP Alfredo Aceves to start the first game of today's doubleheader.

Aceves was called up from Triple-A last week to pitch against the Rays during the series finale at Tropicana Field after Franklin Morales, the scheduled starter, was used during the 14-inning game played on the opening night of the three-game series. Aceves allowed a run in six innings and earned the victory in Boston's 2-1 win.

“Aceves, we can't hit that guy,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said after the game.

In 432/3 career innings against the Rays, Aceves has allowed 24 hits and 11 earned runs.

Starts with Joyce In 15 games batting leadoff this season, OF Matt Joyce is hitting .311/.391/.607 with four home runs, six doubles and seven RBIs.

Maddon is more impressed with Joyce's seven walks.

“The quality of his takes (is) a lot better, meaning he's not chasing as much like he had been at those balls down, breaking ball underneath him,” Maddon said. “He's not missing his pitch. He's accepting his walks while he's hitting the ball hard. For whatever reason, he really likes it. I didn't even realize he's slugging over .600 right now as the leadoff hitter. That's ridiculous.”

Noteworthy KC and the Sunshine Band will play a concert July 13 after the Astros-Rays game. … Maddon spent Monday's off day in his hometown of Hazleton, Pa., for the official opening of the Hazleton Integration Project's One Community Center. … The Rays are 2-7 against the Red Sox this season, batting .092 with runners in scoring position during the losses.

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