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DRaysBay Pressbox Dispatch: April 16, 2016

On Cash as BP pitcher, Erasmo keeping secrets, and KK's baby blues not so blue

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

DRaysBay was fortunate to have press access to Saturday’s satisfying win over the Chicago White Sox.  Nomo has provided us with an able recap of the onfield action; here are some additional observations from the clubhouse and the press box.

Clubhouse photo

Good baseball teams compartmentalize.

Kiermaier on gloves and bobbleheads

The big news of the pregame session?  Kevin Kiermaier’s eyes are green!  Asked about his bobblehead, he said:

"Awesome….the facial hair is great, I take a lot of pride in my facial hair. I'm glad they got some green eyes in there because everyone wants to say they are beautiful blue eyes. They're green. I think sometimes they get to hazel but they have never been blue. I’ve looked at these eyes for 25 years, 26 next week, and they are green."

Oh yeah, he’s also really honored to get his Gold and Platinum gloves, which were presented to him before last night's game.  The Gold Glove will spend the season in the Ted Williams museum, but it’s not yet clear where the Platinum glove will be housed.  KK says he’ll use these awards "as motivation. I’d like to be in this conversation for many years."

Steven Souza, Jr, stats nerd?

Souza spoke with appropriate graciousness about the fan who was hit by his foul ball on Friday.  He was then asked, in anticipation of Sunday’s family day, what his favorite subject had been when he was in school.  His answer?  Math. "I like to solve things," he noted, and math came naturally to him.

This gave DRB an opening to ask whether he uses math as a baseball player. His response:

"Oh, man, if math is not in baseball, I don’t know what is. There are so many statistics and sabermetrics I almost have to simplify it, because you can really overthink the variables in baseball."

Pre-game rituals

Kevin Cash pitches batting practice.  I’m not sure whether other managers do this on a regular basis, but it is a part of the Cash’s pregame routine you may not be aware of, and at least yesterday, Rocco Baldelli was involved in fielding drills.

Just as the Rays prepared to start BP, some White Sox players were engaged in a spirited frisbee toss.

Cash on consistency

When he came on board last year, Cash said that one way he would likely differ from his predecessor was that he liked to provide his players with more consistency and predictability.  His remarks on how he would fill in for the injured Kiermaier and Forsythe reinforced this approach.

There are a few players who know they will be expected to play utility roles, he said, while others have set positions.

"Desmond is our left fielder and we’re going to keep him there as much as possible," according to Cash.  Hence his decision to use the very capable Guyer in center for what is hoped to be a brief stint replacing Kiermaier.

Erasmo Ramirez -- great performance, winning personality, and good with secrets.

From his pre-game comments, Cash made clear that Ramirez would go 60 – 65 pitches.  Who would have guessed this would have taken him well into the 6th inning?

Indeed, he might have been able to go even deeper, had he not experienced a blip in the fourth inning, hitting a batter and then giving up a "double" to Frazier that looked a whole lot like the fly ball that led to the Forsythe-Kiermaier collision the night before.  This time, with Souza and Beckham converging, there was no collision but also no catch, as the shallow fly ball fell beyond Beckham’s outstretched glove for a double.

In the post-game interview, Topkin teased the pitcher about having managed to keep it a secret that he was starting today.  Erasmo laughed and insisted that he had only been told it was "possible" he would start so in fact he hadn’t been holding anything back.

The outlook is similar for Thursday’s game, with "TBD" as the scheduled starter.  Could Ramirez get the call?  It's likely, but you won't hear it from him!