Playing A Little Pepper

David Price has been scratched from today’s start with some sort of illness. Jake Odorizzi will be moved up and will now pitch on normal rest. Price is listed as Sunday’s starter. If Price cannot go, Erik Bedard will likely fill in…After last night’s loss, the Rays are now 42-53, 10.5 games behind the Orioles (12 in the loss column) and back in last place in the East…Grant Balfour now has a 5.60 ERA (4.26 FIP) with 35 strikeouts and 27 walks. He will $12 million total this year and next. Meanwhile, Fernando Rodney, who wanted to come back to the Rays, has a 1.98 ERA (2.32 FIP) with 42 strikeouts and 12 walks in Seattle. He will be paid $14 million total this year and next.

Game Graph

[Will be up at game time]

Source: FanGraphs


  1. Kevin Kiermaier, CF
  2. Ben Zobrist, RF
  3. Matt Joyce, DH
  4. Evan Longoria, 3B
  5. James Loney, 1B
  6. Brandon Guyer, LF
  7. Yunel Escobar, SS
  8. Jose Molina, C
  9. Sean Rodriguez, 2B
  10. Jake Odorizzi, SP




  1. Monte says:

    Correct on Balfour----a huge mistake. In the prior six seasons he had only one in which his ERA was higher than 2.59. He has been consistently strong and saved 55 games last year. Grant looks to me like he's trying too hard, and he looks like one who won't listen to anyone.

    Rodney saved 37 games last year and had an ERA of 3.38. He looked disappointing at times. Rodney looked like a one season wonder in 2012.

    Given the numbers over the past six seasons and especially last year, I would rather have had Balfour going into the season.

    Right now I'd take Rodney. I do not know Balfour's problem but I would hope it can be corrected in time for next season.

  2. Dave L says:

    No doubt that 1/4 the way through the Rodney and Balfour contracts, it looks like the Rays should have signed Rodney.

    Yet some facts must be noted. That while the Rays did not even offer a contract to Fernando, that lack of interest was seconded by acclimation by the entire Rays media and fanbase including all here in the RI commentor section.

    I cannot recall one article in the Rays based media in any form making any argument for keeping Rodney much less lamenting the decision and preferring Rodney over Grant. It was universal 'don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out". In fact it was almost taken as a given that it wasn't really up for debate. The fact that Rodney was a ticking time bomb as you noted Monte was the inside joke all Rays observers knew that the M's were oblivious to, remember?

    We were all most likely wrong. 12 months from now we will know for sure. Like you I hope Grant turns it around.

    Post a link to any contradictory opinions by anyone in Rays land in the winter of 2014.

  3. Joe Dunn says:

    Rays have been very fortunate the last half dozen seasons with regard to free agents and closers. . . . .so they got screwed on Balfour. It happens.
    Thank GOD we have Jake the flamethrower. Thank God.

  4. doug says:

    lately Balfour is predictable...he will not challenge hitters in the strike zone, but tries to hit the edges. He is not that guy...he does not have the control to pull that off. His velocity is down so that is how he is trying to cope. I think we bought a bill of goods and did not test the product...I know I left the game Friday muttering that it was time to DFA Balfour (aka ball four).
    I was dismayed by how the bull pen was used in the two losses..If McGee is the guy he was misused in both instances, particularly on Friday, when not used at all. That is another issue...

  5. mp645 says:

    Ballfour has been a huge mistake. Rodney was a liability in Sept 2013 and he lost about 5 to 6 games directly his fault. Rodney is having a good year for Mariners though. This inconsistency with bullpen players is hammering Rays this year.
    Another issue is the starting pitchers wanting to pitch the whole game. This means the bullpen sits with nothing to do and gets stale. This isn't helpful.

    We can't afford lost games due to macho personalities.

    • zenny says:

      "Another issue is the starting pitchers wanting to pitch the whole game. This means the bullpen sits with nothing to do and gets stale. This isn’t helpful."

      Um, it's the opposite. The starters aren't consistently eating enough innings and the bullpen is getting worn out. That's mostly why they lost on Friday, for example.

  6. zenny says:

    Rodney's stats weren't great last season, but more importantly, I'll never forget the look on his face late last season, especially in the playoffs. He'd totally lost his swagger and clearly did NOT want to be on the mound in pressure situations, which is NOT the vibe you want from your closer. Add that to the facts that 2012 was an outlier in his career and he wanted a big raise, and it was a no-brainer to let him walk. I wish him well, but he's likely to implode in the second half, imo.

    Balfour is more puzzling. He was great for several seasons in a row, and while he failed the physical at Baltimore, the Rays' doctors said that the issue was something that they'd already seen and dismissed when he was here before. So unless they're wrong, his issue is mostly confidence. Again, it's a bad situation when your closer has lost his mojo... which is why he's no longer the closer.

    Hopefully he gets it back, or the Rays will be wasting a lot of money on a middle reliever.


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