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WEDNESDAY GAME NOTES

Plus thoughts on Boxberger's recent rant.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Two nights ago Brad Boxberger, the American League leader in saves up until this week, had another rough outing. It was his tenth loss on the season, and he had some frustrations to vent. Marc Topkin captured his feelings and posted them in a column this morning.

In short, Boxberger has been shouldering the most high leverage innings, and therefore has been used early in games when starters have been pulled, and late in games when the best reliever is needed.

Many are quick to be upset with Boxberger here. The best reliever on the Rays has 10 losses, and while operating as the closer, has not been given any such title. And why should he? This team is "smart" and "doesn't believe in labels" that connote classic baseball team roles, or garner things like respect. We don't have a captain, as most teams do not, and we don't have a closer, which most teams do. Maybe the Rays are trend setters. Or maybe the Rays are guarding their pocket books! Arbitration loves things like "being the closer" right?

Or maybe the Rays are just using their best pitcher when they need their best pitcher.

That's where I sympathize. Way back in May there were three great pitchers in the Rays bullpen, former closer Jake McGee and recently traded for Kevin Jepsen. As of this week, McGee is injured and unavailable, and Jepsen has been traded away. Neither have been replaced on the roster, the team has just shuffled other guys like Alex Colome and Enny Romero in their place. Consequently, if there's a high leverage situation, we call the Box.

10 losses. Those are glaring. Maybe those situations that led to those losses wouldn't come about so often if the bullpen weren't so frequently used. That seems to be his main complaint, and it seems to be a perception problem. The Rays have the fourth most innings pitched by relievers this season, but the sixth most is the Yankees, and the seventh most is the Royals. Those are good teams, and the difference from them to the Rays is ten innings.

Boxberger is frustrated, he has complaints. That's ok, I have a lot of complaints too. This has not been a great Rays season, starting with myriad injuries and ending with a whimper at the trade deadline. We're middle of the pack, you should be angry too.

Read more about Boxberger's struggles here.

- DR

TODAY'S STARTING PITCHERS:

PITCHER W L ERA FIP AVG HR K% BB% GS IP
Chris Archer 12 11 2.95 2.68 .213 17 30.5% 6.6% 30 192.1
Luis Severino 3 3 3.35 4.63 .238 6 23.6% 10.6% 7 37.2

When Archer takes the mound tonight, he'll be in position to make some Rays history as he only sits three strikeouts behind Scott Kazimir's single-season mark of 239. It'll be a nice accolade for the Rays right-hander, who is syre to receive at least some votes for the Cy Young award. Unfortunately, Atcher has somewhat struggled during the second half of the season as a lack of command has impeded his ability to pitch deep into games.

Archer's last time out was on Friday against the Red Sox where he was only able to register five innings, while allowed three runs on five hits, struck out eight and walked two hitters and he wound up receiving a no-decision for his efforts,

Luis Severino Scouting Report:

Severino joined the Yankees rotation in early August and he's been a solid member of their staff. He's given up two runs or less so far in five of his first seven appearances in the majors, however, his last outing was the worst of his career.

He was only able to record just one out in third inning, by that time he had already allowed six runs on six hits, meanwhile he three and struck out four in a loss to the Blue Jay.

His arsenal:

PITCH VELOCITY FREQUENCY vs LHB vs RHB
Fastball High 90's

53% vs LHB

***

53% vs RHB

Anywhere in the zone Anywhere in the zone
Sinker High 90's

00% vs LHB

***

00% vs RHB

Sporadic Non-existent
Slider Low 90's

29% vs LHB

***

38% vs RHB

Stays near the bottom of the zone Low and away from the zone
Change High 80's

17% vs LHB

***

09% vs RHB

Stays below the zone Stays below the zone

His splits:


TBF

AVG

OBP

SLG

HR

K%

BB%

vs LHB

93

.266

.376

.430

3

17.2%

14.0%

vs RHB

68

.203

.250

.391

3

32.4%

5.9%

HOME

87

.234

.322

.481

5

25.3%

11.5%

AWAY

74

.242

.324

.333

1

21.6%

9.5%

Today's Lineups

NEW YORK YANKEES TAMPA BAY RAYS
Jacoby Ellsbury - CF John Jaso - DH
Brett Gardner - LF Mikie Mahtook - LF
Alex Rodriguez - DH Evan Longoria - 3B
Brian McCann - C Logan Forsythe - 2B
Carlos Beltran - RF James Loney - 1B
Greg Bird - 1B Steven Souza - RF
Chase Headley - 3B Nick Franklin - SS
Didi Gregorius - SS Kevin Kiermaier - CF
Dustin Ackley - 2B Rene Rivera - C
Luis Severino - RHP Chris Archer - RHP