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Tampa Bay Rays News and Links: Testing pitching depth

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Chirinos, Morton and McKay are all on the IL

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Boston Red Sox Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Rays news

Yeah, there were a lot of baserunners in the Rays 8-7 Monday night victory over the Red Sox, but how does a nine inning game go just shy of four and half hours? Last night’s 8-2 victory over the Red Sox zipped by at 3 hours 25 minutes.

You can never be too rich, too thin or have too much pitching, am I right? Charlie Morton is on the 10-day IL with shoulder soreness. Kevin Cash hopes he will not be out much longer than those ten days.

But just yesterday we learned bad news about Brendan McKay, who had been at Port Charlotte after testing positive for COVID soon after reporting to Summer Camp. He too has been shut down now:

And last night, Andrew Kittridge threw exactly five pitches before grimacing in pain and grabbing his right arm. You can see that pitch here:

The report is a sore elbow that will be re-evalulated; he’s still listed as “day to day” and has not been placed on the IL. If you are wondering, the only pitcher on the 40-man roster who is not either injured or already activated is Anthony Banda. Banda is part of the so-called taxi squad that travels with the team; he could be added to the active roster should Kittredge be placed on the IL.

And it would be nice if Snell could get through five innings tonight!

Around the league

One of MLB’s COVID-19 safety measures has been less rotation of umpiring crews. Umpires fly on team charters (usually they are on separate commercial flights) and often stick with one team through several series. ($)

Marcus Stroman has opted out of the remainder of the season due to COVID concerns. It’s worth noting that Stroman had been sidelined with a calf injury, and so was not in the Mets rotation. He has also, by this date, earned enough service time to ensure that he will become a free agent at the end of the season.

We know that pitchers are all about sticking to a routine. Tyler Kepner has asked some pitchers how they are coping in a year when routines are thrown out the window ($).

If you like looking under the hood, I highly recommend Ben Lindbergh’s deep dive into the strangely low BABIP numbers we have seen this season. Spoiler alert — he doesn’t have a convincing explanation, and this early in the season it could just be noise, but he’s got some great hypotheses.

Eno Sarris has a similar-ish article, looking for explanations of an overall lack of offense. ($)

Marc Carig doesn’t think the Rays have been much fun to watch this year (I’m not sure I disagree, although the last few games have been less of a grind).($)

Despite COVID-19 outbreaks on the Cardinals and Marlins, Rob Manfred is cautiously optimistic that the MLB season will proceed as planned.

And speaking of COVID-19 protocols, we already knew that Cleveland pitcher Zach Plesac had been sent into quarantine and required to drive himself home from Chicago after a rule-violating night out in Chicago. But a day later it was revealed that he had company — his fellow pitcher Mike Clevinger had been bar hopping with him. Clevinger however hadn’t admitted this and did fly home with his teammates. He is also now quarantining. I guess some guys are hoping the season gets cancelled?

Finally, what about those Lightning? Some of you may already be Tampa Bay Lightning fans; others may have ended up watching their first round playoff match because it preempted the Rays broadcast. They beat Columbus 3-2 in a game that had multiple overtimes and lasted over six hours. This article has some fun tweets about this marathon game.