TORONTO -- Joel Peralta has been the Rays' eighth-inning guy out of the bullpen for the last several seasons, but Joe Maddon elected to use Kyle Farnsworth to start the eighth in Friday night's 8-5 win over the Blue Jays.
The Rays had just taken a 6-4 lead in the top of the eighth when Farnsworth took over for starter David Price to pitch to Edwin Encarnacion. Maddon explained the move.
"I want to try and get Farnsworth more involved and I wanted him on that one hitter," Maddon said. "He was on Encarnacion, period. Even if he had gotten him out, that was it. So I wanted him to go in there to try and shorten, if you look at Peralta's body of work to this point, it's been rather large. So if I can shorten his body of work in a good matchup, I'm going to try and do that sometimes. And there it was. And Encarnacion versus Farnsworth is a good matchup, according to how we do things."
Farnsworth ended up walking Encarnacion and Peralta came in to record the next three outs.
Farnsworth "got ahead and then he walked him, so what," Maddon said. "But he did make some nice pitches on him. Joel was going to come in for the next hitter regardless."
Peralta has already appeared in 50 games this season.
"I don't want to run him into the ground," Maddon said. "We expect to play a lot longer, beyond the last game of the regular season. I've got to take care of him, he's so valuable. That was the perfect opportunity to do it."
Peralta is behind whatever his manager wants to do.
"I'm totally OK with it, I'm OK with any decision they make with the game and me," Peralta said. "I have nothing to complain about. I kind of like Farnsworth to have more games, because I think the more he pitches the better he's going to be and we need all the help we can get."
In Saturday's 4-3 win over the Blue Jays, Maddon let lefty Alex Torres, who had already thrown two scoreless innings, start the eighth, and he walked righties Jose Bautista and Encarnacion. Peralta replaced him and walked Adam Lind before escaping the jam by retiring the next three hitters, with two strikeouts.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.