The Tampa Bay Rays played an exciting game last night, beating the New York Yankees 7-6. James Shields got knocked out of the game in the 6th, which oddly enough led to six relievers pitching the final four innings. One notable absence from this game was Kyle Farnsworth, who unfortunately for the Rays won’t be returning anytime soon. He was only expected to miss a few games due to his elbow injury, but as Marc Topkin tweets, Farnsworth will be expected to miss a significant amount of time:
Losing Farnsworth for any length of time is bad news for the Rays. Last season Farnsworth was absolutely dominant, going 5-1 with 25 saves, posting a 2.18 ERA and striking out nearly a batter an inning. The addition of a cut fastball has been critical to his success, allowing him to cut down on the number of homers allowed.
While Farnsworth is on the disabled list Tampa’s manager Joe Maddon will likely use a closer by committee. Joel Peralta becomes the favourite for the 9th inning, as he was previously the set up man for Farnsworth. And Peralta isn’t a bad option to have, as he posted a 2.93 ERA with 61 strikeouts against 18 walks last season for the Rays. CC Sabathia
In some positive news for the Rays, Maddon also said that BJ Upton would be close to playing in a minor league game soon. Upton would make a huge impact on this lineup, as in the short term the Rays are forced to use Ben Zobrist in right and Desmond Jennings in center. Upton’s return would give them another quality bat against lefties, and you despite how well they hit against last night this team is fairly vulnerable against southpaws. His return would also improve the outfield defence, which would be among the best in the game.
The Rays continue their series against the Yankees tonight at 7:10. Hiroki Kuroda (13-16, 3.07 ERA in 2011 with the Los Angeles Dodgers) makes his debut for the Yankees against David Price (12-13, 3.49 ERA in 2011).