Cash relaying urgency to Rays pitchers

Cash relaying urgency to Rays pitchers

NEW YORK -- While the Rays are hardly in panic mode, manager Kevin Cash did acknowledge a sense of urgency regarding the rest of the season.

That sense of urgency will likely affect decisions that are made -- particularly in relation to the pitching, as pitchers might not be afforded as much time to get out of trouble.

"We've communicated [the sense of urgency to the staff]," Cash said. "I know [pitching coach Jim Hickey] has communicated it really well, saying we feel like we're in a playoff baseball mode right now. And that's what we're going to do going forward.

"So those guys are very aware if they pitch in the fifth, sixth or seventh, bump it up an inning or two. It's kind of all hands on deck and they've done great responding to that."

A "for instance" took place Wednesday night in Baltimore when starter Erasmo Ramirez got lifted after four innings with the score tied at 4.

"Had that been a month ago, Erasmo continues to pitch and we try to allow an extra day for one of the relievers avoiding that reliever," Cash said. "Winning games is always a priority. We have to play catchup a little bit. And if we think it's the right time to get the bullpen involved, we'll do that. That's not to put extra pressure on anybody who starts, but we like our bullpen."

Brandon Gomes, who normally pitches in the sixth, seventh or eighth innings, took over for Ramirez.

"I was up in the fourth and went in the fifth," Gomes said. "That could be a little more of a common occurrence. Especially with the amount of weapons that we have. We're deeper than most teams in that the guys who have been called up can be plugged into spots."

Matt Moore, who will start Saturday, allowed that the pitchers understand the situation.

"I think that's been the case since I've been here, epecially this time of year," Moore said. "They like to call them meaningful games and usually they do manage them kind of like it's a playoff situation.

"If it's a tight ballgame, there's going to be some action in the bullpen early, late. There will be some matchups. ... That's the way they've done it in the past, so I don't see them doing anything different."

Bill Chastain is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.