Jeffrey Springs throws six no-hit innings as the Tigers are swept by the Rays

street. PETERSBURG — Rays manager Kevin Cash knew the least he could do was break the bad news himself.

Jeffrey Springs was impressive through six innings on Sunday, holding the Tigers without a hit, striking out 12 of the 19 batters he faced and allowing just one walk.

But he threw 81 pitches and was making his first outing of the year, with more building to do. Because of the way the Rays are so protective of rookies, Springs’ day’s work was done no matter what he said in unless it really wasn’t that hard.

Instead of sending pitching coach Kyle Snyder, Cash approached the talented left-hander in the dugout.

“I wouldn’t do that with Kyle,” Cash said. “They need to love Cale. If they don’t like me, that’s fine.”

That first batter from seventh batter, Riley Greene, made his way to a home run on Grander first baseman Luke Raleigh and reliever Colin Butch couldn’t make play spoil any further suspense about the Rays completing the batter.

But that hardly spoiled the day, as they cruised to a 5-1 victory, sweeping the Tigers to open the season 3-0 for only the fourth time in their 26-year franchise history.

“We should be very happy,” said Cash.

Rays pitcher Jeffrey Springs said in the sixth inning that he understood manager Kevin Cash’s decision to remove him after the inning, after he threw 81 pitches. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]

Springs was an important cause on Sunday, mixing his new sweeping break ball into his fastball change-up repertoire, working the forward on the charges and getting 13 swings and fumbles, with 58 strikeouts overall.

He became the second pitcher in modern major league history (since 1901) to hit 12 or more strikeouts in six (or fewer) hitless innings, joining Jose Berrios (2021).

See also  Bryce Harper Phillies is expected to return Tuesday versus the Dodgers if he is cleared

“I just try to keep mixing and moving, focus on my strengths, the things I like to do — speed up hitters and slow them down, kind of pick and choose when to throw the fastball,” Springs said. “But overall, I felt like I could spin it really well and keep it off balance.”

Springs performed well last season, enough to earn him a four-year, $31 million contract extension with options and ramps, and had a stellar spring, throwing 14 shutout innings over four games with 24 strikeouts.

“We talked about the camp he’d had,[and]he might have improved a little bit,” Cash said. “That was just a great performance, lots of swinging and misses, and tons of named hits. His stuff probably plays to an all-time high, and he uses it as best you can.”

Springs’ teammates, including the two with the most hits, heaped praise.

“I’m so proud of him,” Jose Serre, who had the lead single, said via team interpreter Manny Navarro. “Watching that change from midfield, it was unbelievable.”

Want more than just a score box?

Want more than just a score box?

Subscribe to our free radiology report newsletter

Columnist John Romano will be sending you the latest radiology insights and analysis to keep you in the loop on a weekly basis through the season.

You are all signed up!

Want more of our free weekly newsletter in your inbox? Let’s get started.

Explore all of your options

“Very happy for him. I wouldn’t have wanted to hit him, just because there was nobody to hit him,” Randy Aruzzarena, whose 436-foot homer in the fourth gave the Rays a 1-0 lead, added through Navarro.

See also  Cory Seager is on the list of people with a sprained right thumb
Rays III, Isaac Paredes (17), and left fielder Randy Arzarena, right, celebrate Arosarina's four home run, which opened the scoring.
Rays III, Isaac Paredes (17), and left fielder Randy Arzarena, right, celebrate Arosarina’s four home run, which opened the scoring. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]

Poche and Raley said there wasn’t much they could have done about Greene’s hit. Raleigh, still learning the position, played again to jump; And Poche, who falls to the side of third base from a mound, won’t get the better of Greene. “The short answer is he’s fast, and I’m slow,” Pucci said.

When Poche finished raving about Springs’ good looks, he joked that he feels somewhat bad for him: “Six innings, he hit 12, so I guess he can live with himself (Sunday). You can’t have it all sometimes.”

Springs said he didn’t know for sure that he finished after six, and that he hadn’t looked at the pitch count. He knew he had gotten some quick stuff, felt good and wasn’t too tired. But as much as he “obviously” wanted to return to seventh, he said he respected Cash’s decision.

Cash said it was “kind of a pain” given what Springs had done, but “not really” a tough call.

“Sometimes we have to protect them from themselves,” he said. “I fully respect how much he pitched six innings without a hit. … I apologized to him, but I felt like sometimes we just have to make some decisions that are better for the team.”

Springs said he understood.

“I thought I was in a good place,” he said. “But when he says I’m done, I’m not going to question him at all. That’s his job, management. And my job is just doing shows. I’m good with it.”

“Hopefully, there will be another chance I can talk to, maybe next time on the road.”

See also  Winners and losers at NFL trade deadline: Vikings get their QB; Why did the Bears add Montez Sweat?

• • •

Sign up for the Rays Report weekly newsletter to get fresh perspectives on the Tampa Bay Rays and the rest of the majors from sports columnist John Romano.

Don’t miss the latest with college sports from the Bucs, Rays, Lightning, Florida College, and more. Follow our Tampa Bay Times sports team on Twitter Twitter And Facebook.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *