Jamal has been a writer for Bleacher Report since 2010 focused strictly on the Rays. He has had his work featured on websites such as Forbes, USA Today, CBS Sports, Houston Chronicle and the LA Times. Jamal is a special correspondent for 620wdae.com covering the Tampa Bay Rays.
In two weeks the Tampa Bay Rays starting pitching depth has transitioned from a surplus to a deficit.
The names Alex Cobb, Matt Moore, Jeremy Hellickson and Alex Colome normally might sound like the pieces of a future rotation that can continue the Rays’ winning ways past the likely departure of David Price. Instead, they are the starting pitchers that are unavailable as the team enters the third week of the season.
Cobb is the latest pitcher to be added to the disabled list with a strained oblique following his start Saturday against the Cincinnati Reds. He is expected to be out four-six weeks.
Just a few days prior to that Matt Moore was sent to the disabled list with elbow soreness that may require Tommy John surgery depending on the outcome of his throwing sessions this week. Even if the sessions go well, the Rays may still decide to rest him for a while longer.
Coming into the season Hellickson was already out until at least June. He told WDAE’s Steve Duemig on Opening Day that even if he felt ready sooner, he doubts if the team would let him pitch. It would be even more illogical for the team to try to rush him back now with two more starters down.
The Rays now have to piece together a rotation that can provide the team with quality starts so they can stay among the top of the AL East.
This could have been an opportunity for Colome to add value to the Rays and fill-in for a few starts. Since he is unavailable due to his suspension for 50 games due to testing positive for PED.
The three-man competition for the fifth starter job in spring training now looks like it could be the back end of the rotation until players return. This is not good.
Using Cesar Ramos as a starter means the bullpen does not have an experienced long reliever. Heath Bell, Jake McGee and Joel Peralta are not the men for that task. Opponents are batting .300 against Brandon Gomes and .320 against Josh Lueke which leaves some concern to leave them in for extended innings.
Erik Bedard has rejoined the team after being passed over for the rotation initially and not signing a major-league deal with any other club. Perhaps this is his time and he can show his potential and fill the void seamlessly.
If the replacement pitchers can do their jobs as the next men up, all is well. If not, the next six weeks can feel like an eternity for the Rays.
Someone better wrap Price and Archer in bubble wrap.
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