Now Commenting On:

Rays bullpen mowing down the opposition

Rays bullpen mowing down the opposition

Rays bullpen mowing down the opposition
BALTIMORE -- Rays manager Joe Maddon says he frets about his bullpen more than anything else, but over the past week the group hasn't given him much to worry about.

In Thursday's 6-2 loss to the Orioles, Chris Davis' seventh-inning solo homer against Burke Badenhop snapped a streak of 21 consecutive scoreless innings for the Rays 'pen. The group racked up 33 strikeouts during the stretch, which dated back to July 18.

"You're not going to go to the final game of the season and win it without strong starting pitching and a great bullpen," Maddon said. "We have a nice balance back and forth, they seem to be relatively well and healthy. I think going into the last two months of the season for me, as a manager, I know that it's important to keep these guys frisky and fresh. If there's anything I agonize over on a daily basis, it's the bullpen. I don't agonize over anything else. I promise you that."

Maddon said his task of keeping the 'pen in top shape has become significantly easier since Kyle Farnsworth returned to action on June 30 after missing the start of the year with an elbow injury.

By using Farnsworth in eight games, Maddon has been able to give his other relievers rest when they need it.

"It's always about taking care of the bullpen," Maddon said. "And if you take care of the bullpen, you can play the last game of the year and win it."

Fernando Rodney has earned most of the headlines for converting 28 of 29 saves and posting a 0.81 ERA, but Maddon has been pleased by the contributions of many others.

Wade Davis and Jake McGee have both posted sub-three ERAs, while J.P. Howell hasn't surrendered a run in 17 innings since June 14.

Even Joel Peralta, whose 4.15 ERA is one of the 'pen's highest, has impressed Maddon. Removing Peralta's worst two outings, his ERA is just 2.61.

"People are going to be absolutely confused by [Peralta's ERA]," Maddon said. "That's just a couple bad outings. This guy has been unbelievably lockdown for us."

Boys and Girls Club of America

©2014 MLBAM, LP. All rights reserved.

The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions. Use of the Website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy (updated May 24, 2013).

View MLB.com in English | En Español