The Tampa Bay Rays arrived in Toronto this weekend with the only winning record in the American League East. They were 10-3 entering Friday’s games, with a 1.98 team earned run average that was easily the best in the major leagues.
And they had used an opener only twice. Creating the position of opener — essentially a reliever who starts the game and works only an inning or two — helped the Rays surge to 90 victories last season. But the notion that Tampa Bay intended to blow up pitching as we know it was always misguided.
The Rays, after all, had the A.L. Cy Young Award winner last season, Blake Snell, and signed him to a five-year, million contract extension in March. Their No. 2 starter, Charlie Morton, signed as a free agent in December and will earn million this season and next, the highest salary in team history.
Their third and fourth starters, Tyler Glasnow and Yonny Chirinos, both 25, combined to go 5-0 in their first five starts, allowing two runs in 29 innings, with 32 strikeouts and four walks.
So, yes, the Rays believe in elite starting pitching. They do not believe in mediocre pitching of any kind, and have not had much of it so far.
“We tried to put ourselves in a position to have a lot of interesting depth,” said Chaim Bloom, the Rays’ senior vice president for baseball operations. “There’s a lot of guys with great upside.”
Morton, 35, took years to realize his upside as a young pitcher with Atlanta and Pittsburgh. He finally discovered it with the Houston Astros, when he learned to attack hitters with curveballs and high fastballs instead of trying to induce contact with sinkers. He won Game 7 of the American League Championship Series and of the World Series in 2017, and earned his first All-Star selection last season.
Morton, too, loves the traditional role of a starting pitcher.
“I grew up idolizing starting pitchers, so from a fan’s standpoint, and from someone that’s been a starter his whole career, essentially, I would like to see starting pitchers always have a place in the game,” Morton said. “There’s a balance between the poetic nature of the game — the nostalgic part of it, how the game flows, the mystical part of it — and the win/loss part, that you have to win. We’re trying to find a balance in that.”
Last summer — after trading Chris Archer to Pittsburgh (for Glasnow and outfielder Austin Meadows) and Nathan Eovaldi to Boston — the Rays found that balance with regular use of the opener, allowing pitchers like Chirinos and Ryan Yarbrough to work the bulk of a game after a reliever had gone through a few tough hitters to start.
Chirinos pitched four to seven innings in each of his last 10 appearances last season, without starting any of those games. His E.R.A. in those games was 3.04. Yarbrough went 16-6 over all but started only six times. The Rays will adjust their roles this season based on matchups, to maximize their chance of success and avoid that dreaded mediocrity.
The Yankees and the Boston Red Sox will always have a significant financial edge on the Rays, whose million payroll is less than the combined 2019 salaries of the Yankees’ Giancarlo Stanton, Masahiro Tanaka and Jacoby Ellsbury.
But Tampa Bay is supplementing its major league roster with products from a farm system that Baseball America ranked No. 2 in the game, after San Diego’s. Shortstop Wander Franco, pitcher Brent Honeywell and the two-way player Brendan McKay all rank among MLB.com’s top 30 prospects.
“That’s where we have to be,” Bloom said. “We’ve put a lot of effort over the last few years into making sure the system was as deep and robust as possible. We need depth, we need top-end talent, and we need to have a steady flow of championship-caliber players, so we put a lot of energy and focus on that.”
It is very early, of course, but those young players have helped the Rays open their biggest lead in the A.L. East since mid-May 2011, when they led by two and a half games.
Their only current player who was on a major league roster then: Morton, naturally. With a home in Bradenton, Fla., and four young children, he has found the perfect spot for a contract he said would be the last of his career.
“I didn’t know what to expect, just because, historically, the Rays haven’t spent a lot of money on free-agent starting pitching, ever,” Morton said. “So I wasn’t thinking, ‘I’m the guy.’ When they called and we got the impression they were going to be pretty aggressive, I started to get excited and my wife got excited. We tried not to get our hopes up, because we knew that this was an ideal situation. But for it to work out the way it did, it’s kind of unbelievable.”
Kramer Robertson was 10 years old in 2005, the first time he cut down a basketball net to celebrate an N.C.A.A. championship for the Baylor Lady Bears. The second time, in 2012, he was 17.
Last Sunday, though, he was all grown up and playing for the Springfield Cardinals, a Class AA team in the St. Louis farm system. Robertson could not be in Tampa, Fla., for the national title game with his mother, Kim Mulkey, the Baylor coach, and his sister, Makenzie Fuller, the associate director of team operations.
Instead, Robertson was on the Cardinals’ team bus, about halfway between Fayetteville, Ark., and Tulsa, Okla., huddled with teammates around a phone that was streaming the broadcast. Just minutes before tipoff, Mulkey had sent him a text message about his game. Now he was watching hers, exulting from afar as the Lady Bears beat Notre Dame in a thriller, 82-81.
“We were in the middle of nowhere, we barely had service, but I was fired up,” Robertson, a shortstop, said by phone the other day. “The first thing I thought to do was FaceTime my brother-in-law. I was not expecting him to answer, I was just so excited and I wanted to be there so bad. But then it said, ‘Connecting,’ and the first face I saw was my mom’s. I didn’t know what to say, so I just started screaming.”
Robertson’s brother-in-law, Clay Fuller, is a former minor leaguer with the Los Angeles Angels. His father, Randy Robertson, is a former quarterback for Louisiana Tech, where Kim Mulkey was an All-American point guard. She has coached at Baylor since 2000, turning around a team that went 7-20 the season before she arrived and setting a powerful example for her son.
“I’ve seen how she’s handled failure and success with humility and never wavered in her morals,” he said. “She always taught me, ‘Nothing great ever gets done without enthusiasm.’ I’ve remembered that throughout my baseball career, especially in the minor leagues, where it can get monotonous and it’s easy to get complacent.”
There was little chance of that on Tuesday against the Tulsa Drillers, who started Clayton Kershaw, a three-time Cy Young Award winner making a rehabilitation start as he recovers from shoulder soreness. Kershaw, who is scheduled to start for the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday, pitched five shutout innings before Robertson led off the sixth with a home run off a high fastball.
It was the first homer of the season for Robertson, and it gave him his own highlight in a memorable week for his family. Back home in Texas, his mother was watching.
“I got to my phone, and my mom was so excited,” Robertson said. “She was like, ‘No you didn’t!’ Normally I would try to play it off, but in a situation like that, I was going to embrace the moment, not try to be too cool. That was special.”
Groundskeepers of the Atlantic League can stand down. There will be no movement of the pitchers’ mounds this season — and, if common sense prevails, not anytime soon.
With strikeout rates rising every season since 2006, Major League Baseball has been searching for ways to stimulate action on the field. The independent Atlantic League will be a testing ground for some experimental playing rules. The most radical proposal was scheduled to take effect at midseason, with the distance between the pitching rubber and home plate moved back by two feet, to 62 feet 6 inches.
On Wednesday, the Atlantic League announced that this change would be delayed until the second half of the 2020 season, and that another change — the use of radar tracking technology to help umpires call balls and strikes — would be introduced gradually this season, not on opening day in late April.
Given the fragile nature of pitchers’ arms, moving back the mound for the first time since 1893 would seem to invite even further injury risk. The change could also discourage pitchers from joining the Atlantic League, because of possible injury and because the distance in affiliated ball — where the athletes aspire to be — remains 60-6.
“Any pitcher that has significant major league time, I think, would be very apprehensive to try to make that change at that stage of his career,” said the agent Tom O’Connell, whose client Jon Niese signed with the Long Island Ducks on Wednesday. “Thankfully, we’re not going to have to make that decision. But I would be very concerned next year if I’m a former major league player that’s trying to make a comeback — very concerned.”
Niese, 32, pitched in the majors from 2008 through 2016 before missing the last two seasons recovering from knee surgery. He is one of two members of the Mets’ 2015 World Series team to sign with the Ducks for this season, with outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis.B:
广东36选七最新开奖结果查询“【为】【何】【救】【他】【们】？” 【赤】【游】【的】【大】【脑】【袋】【上】，7747【紧】【张】【的】【询】【问】【着】【江】【浔】。 【江】【浔】【却】【奇】【怪】【的】【看】【了】【它】【一】【眼】。 “【为】【何】【不】【救】？” “【你】……” 7747【咬】【着】【唇】，【却】【问】【不】【出】【什】【么】，【因】【果】【对】【于】【他】【们】【这】【些】，【不】【是】【没】【什】【么】【用】【吗】？【还】【在】【乎】【这】【点】【因】【果】？ “【既】【然】【生】【活】【在】【这】【片】【世】【界】，【自】【然】【逃】【脱】【不】【了】【这】【片】【世】【界】【的】【规】【则】，【不】【过】……【这】【些】【都】
【还】【好】【过】【来】【的】【时】【候】，【没】【有】【带】【很】【多】【东】【西】，【当】【我】【们】【退】【房】【以】【后】，【发】【现】【还】【有】【不】【少】【时】【间】，【便】【在】【地】【图】【上】【搜】【了】【搜】【附】【近】【有】【没】【有】【什】【么】【还】【值】【得】【一】【看】【的】【地】【方】，【最】【后】【竟】【然】【发】【现】【了】【天】【坛】【离】【我】【们】【并】【不】【远】。 【顺】【着】【南】【广】【场】【对】【面】【的】【那】【条】【路】【往】【前】【走】【去】，【差】【不】【多】【走】【了】【一】【公】【里】【多】，【就】【见】【到】【了】【天】【坛】，【那】【是】【一】【座】【很】【有】【标】【致】【性】【建】【筑】【的】【地】【方】。 【等】【我】【们】【到】【天】【坛】【门】【口】【的】【时】【候】，
【太】【后】【转】【头】【看】【见】【我】，【忽】【地】【停】【住】【身】：“【听】【说】【你】【住】【在】‘【梨】【花】【伴】【月】’，【每】【日】【还】【要】【来】【松】【鹤】【斋】【请】【安】，【实】【是】【难】【为】【你】【了】。” 【从】【未】【见】【太】【后】【如】【此】【和】【颜】【悦】【色】【过】，【我】【一】【怔】【神】【的】【功】【夫】，【乾】【隆】【笑】【道】：“【她】【年】【纪】【小】，【每】【日】【多】【走】【几】【步】，【当】【散】【心】【罢】【了】，【皇】【额】【娘】【不】【必】【心】【疼】【她】。” 【我】【受】【宠】【若】【惊】，【原】【本】【还】【有】【些】【拘】【谨】，【看】【来】【没】【人】【在】【太】【后】【面】【前】【嚼】【舌】【根】【子】【时】，【她】【对】【我】
【小】【家】【伙】【们】【中】【午】【玩】【的】【都】【不】【愿】【意】【回】【家】。 【泪】【姐】【站】【在】【自】【家】【二】【楼】【阳】【台】【上】【喊】【了】【好】【几】【次】，【爱】【菜】【也】【没】【回】【去】，【最】【后】【不】【得】【不】【亲】【自】【跑】【了】【过】【来】。 【瑶】【瑶】【也】【差】【不】【多】，【宁】【语】【婷】【怎】【么】【劝】【都】【不】【行】。 【她】【想】【要】【和】【小】【伙】【伴】【一】【起】【吃】【饭】【饭】，【何】【况】【还】【是】【方】【叔】【叔】【烧】【的】【呢】。 “【算】【了】，【就】【让】【孩】【子】【们】【在】【这】【里】【吃】【吧】，【人】【多】【还】【热】【闹】。”【方】【圆】【劝】【道】。 【最】【后】【泪】【姐】【和】【宁】【语】【婷】广东36选七最新开奖结果查询【迟】【到】【多】【天】【的】【完】【本】【感】【言】······ 【首】【先】【要】【说】【声】【对】【不】【起】，【我】【让】【很】【多】【人】【失】【望】【了】，【我】【没】【能】【坚】【持】【下】【去】，【我】【夭】【折】【了】，【哭】【泣】【中】······ 【这】【本】【书】【写】【到】【现】【在】，【遗】【憾】【很】【多】，【没】【能】【呈】【现】【一】【个】【完】【整】【的】【故】【事】，【但】【同】【时】【收】【获】【也】【很】【多】，【尽】【管】【成】【绩】【很】【不】【理】【想】，【但】【有】【人】【一】【直】【在】【支】【持】【我】，【这】【就】【是】【我】【最】【大】【的】【收】【获】。 【要】【知】【道】，【许】【许】【多】【多】【的】【书】，【成】【绩】
【眼】【瞧】【着】【殷】【泽】【的】【身】【影】【逐】【渐】【被】【黑】【暗】【淹】【没】，【游】【凌】【看】【了】【眼】【捡】【了】【不】【少】【干】【柴】【回】【来】【的】【保】【镖】，【然】【后】【对】【元】【林】【他】【们】【说】【道】：“【你】【们】【就】【一】【点】【都】【不】【担】【心】【他】【会】【遇】【到】【什】【么】【危】【险】【吗】？” 【这】【个】【队】【伍】【到】【底】【怎】【么】【回】【事】？【队】【员】【之】【间】【看】【起】【来】【和】【谐】【关】【系】【好】，【可】【到】【了】【这】【个】【时】【候】，【又】【放】【任】【队】【友】【一】【人】【过】【去】，【而】【他】【们】【则】【是】【老】【神】【在】【在】【的】【烤】【火】，【聊】【天】？ 【就】【一】【点】【都】【不】【担】【心】【队】【友】【的】【安】
【本】【书】【烂】…【咳】，【完】【本】【了】。 【写】【在】【完】【本】【感】【言】【之】【前】，【为】【何】【这】【几】【天】【没】【有】【更】【新】。 【主】【要】【是】【这】【几】【天】，【我】【在】【看】【自】【己】【写】【的】【这】【几】【十】【万】【字】，【想】【看】【看】【还】【能】【不】【能】【再】【拯】【救】。 【之】【所】【以】【没】【有】【开】【单】【章】【说】，【是】【不】【想】【给】【一】【些】【还】【喜】【欢】【本】【书】【的】【读】【者】【希】【望】，【到】【时】【候】【像】【现】【在】【看】【到】【完】【本】【感】【言】【这】【四】【个】【字】，【估】【计】【要】【把】【我】【喷】【的】【体】【无】【完】【肤】。 【但】【看】【了】【两】【遍】【后】，【发】【现】【书】【确】【实】【已】