Tampa Bay Rays

Tampa Bay Rays Fantasy Baseball Daily Bullpen Updates and Closer Depth Chart

Closer 1st in line 2nd in line 2016 Closer Updated
TB Grant Balfour Brad Boxberger Kevin Jepsen Jake McGee 3/26/15
(DL) Jake McGee

Previous updates:

March 26, 2015
Tampa Bay Rays — Grant Balfour made his first appearance of the spring on Monday and expects to be ready for Opening Day. All three of Tampa’s current top relievers allowed a run in the game. Jake McGee is throwing curveballs again and should be back to closing in late April or early May.

Hierarchy remains: Balfour | Boxberger | Jepsen.

March 18, 2015
Tampa Bay Rays – In the race to close games in Tampa’s sans-McGee bullpen, Grant Balfour had a few distinct advantages. He has the most experience in the role, he had expressed an interest in it, and most importantly, Kevin Cash had mentioned him as a possibility. But Balfour has missed the last few weeks of spring training following the death of his father, while Brad Boxberger has come out of the gate with three scoreless innings. With his strong start, we think Boxberger has pulled even with Balfour, and suspect the Opening Day closer will be largely determined by which player looks better over the next couple weeks.

Hierarchy remains: Balfour | Boxberger | Jepsen.

March 6, 2015
Tampa Bay Rays — Joe Maddon is gone, which perhaps means a more stable bullpen in 2015. Jake McGee will lead that group when he returns from elbow surgery, as he impressed as the closer last year when he finally got the role for good. Grant Balfour struggled mightily last season but still wants the closer job. He’ll have to compete with newly-acquired Kelvin Jepsen and Ernesto Frieri, as well as Brad Boxberger, who had a strong 2014. In addition, Jeff Beliveau had 28 strikeouts in 24 innings last season, and might be the only lefty on the team’s Opening Day roster.

Starting 2015 hierarchy: Balfour | Boxberger | Jepsen.
Holds candidates: Boxberger, Beliveau.

September 15, 2014
Tampa Bay Rays – After Jake McGee blew the save in the 9th, Jeff Beliveau picked up the scraps once the Rays re-took the lead in the 10th. It was Beliveau’s first save.

Hierarchy remains: McGee | Boxberger | Balfour.

September 13, 2014
Tampa Bay Rays — Grant Balfour pitched a perfect 9th inning last night to record his first save since July 1st.  Jake McGee threw a perfect 8th inning and should continue to see the majority of save chances.  However, with Joel Peralta giving up 5 runs in his past two outings, Balfour could see more time in the later innings.

Updated hierarchy: McGee | Boxberger | Balfour.

August 25, 2014
Tampa Bay Rays – After Jake McGee pitched a scoreless 8th and 9th inning for the Rays, Brad Boxberger picked up the save after the Rays took the lead in the 10th. We said a little while back that McGee was getting 86% of the Rays save chances — that still seems about right.

Hierarchy remains: McGee | Boxberger | Peralta.

August 20, 2014
Tampa Bay Rays — Lately it has seemed that Grant Balfour pitches only when the Rays are losing. Though that wasn’t the case when he entered the game on Tuesday night, it certainly was when he left, three runs and no outs later. Of Balfour’s 14 pitches, only two were strikes — and one of those was lined for a hard-luck triple. Grant’s struggles (he leads all relievers in walks) make Joel Peralta relevant again, if only by default.

Updated hierarchy: McGee | Boxberger | Peralta.

August 9, 2014
Tampa Bay Rays – Jake McGee pitched the 8th inning last night with a one run lead and the Rays went to Brad Boxberger for the save in the 9th.  Boxberger wasn’t able to convert the save, as he allowed a run for the first time since June 27th.  The Rays scored a run in the top of the 10th, and again they sent Boxberger out there to protect a one run lead.  This time he threw a perfect inning to finish the game.  McGee is still the closer but it looks like Boxberger could still see an occasional save chance.

Hierarchy remains: McGee | Boxberger | Balfour.

August 2, 2014
Tampa Bay Rays – In his second appearance since coming off the DL, Joel Peralta struck out the side on only 10 pitches.  McGee seems to have established himself as the Rays’ closer, but Joel Peralta could work his way back towards the set-up role with more outings like that.

Hierarchy remains: McGee | Boxberger | Balfour.

July 29, 2014
Tampa Bay Rays – After notching his fifth post-All-Star-Break save on Monday, Jake McGee has now closed out Tampa victories in six of his last seven appearances. Will he get every opportunity for the surging Rays the rest of the way? With Joe Maddon around, probably not. But if he’s getting 86% of the save chances, that’s good enough to kick our closer-by-committee asterisk for the time being.

Hierarchy remains: McGee | Boxberger | Balfour.

July 27, 2014
Tampa Bay Rays — Brad Boxberger pitched a scoreless 8th inning and Jake McGee picked up his 11th save of the season last night.  Boxberger has allowed zero runs in July and has recorded a win, a save, and six holds this month.  Jake McGee has gotten the last three save opportunities for the Rays and has converted each one.

Updated hierarchy: McGee | Boxberger | Balfour.

July 24, 2014
Tampa Bay Rays — Brad Boxberger to Jake McGee: two perfect innings with five strikeouts. A fella could get used to this. And get well soon, Joel Peralta; hope you don’t have that nasty chikungunya virus.

Hierarchy remains: McGee | Balfour | Boxberger.

July 21, 2014
Tampa Bay Rays – We were again getting close to removing the asterisk next to Jake McGee’s name — it seemed like he’d finally been established as the one and only 9th inning guy in Tampa. But yesterday, Joe Maddon decided to use him in the 8th, and instead sent Grant Balfour out for the 9th. Balfour struggled, and eventually had to be pulled for Kirby Yates, who picked up his first career save. So we’re still in committee mode here, though McGee is still getting the vast majority of save chances.

Hierarchy remains: McGee | Balfour | Boxberger.

July 15, 2014
Tampa Bay Rays – You could really play buy or sell with the Rays’ bullpen in the middle of the game thanks to Joe Maddon’s hijinks. TRADE DEADLINE BUY/SELL: None

July 14, 2014
Tampa Bay Rays – The Rays had a nice, civilized 9th inning on Sunday, with Jake McGee taking over for a stellar David Price and pitching a 1-2-3 inning with 2 Ks. Every time this happens, we hope it’s a harbinger of some normalcy in Maddon-land, and thanks to the All Star break, we’ll be able to live with that blissful vision for the next four days.

Hierarchy remains: McGee | Balfour | Boxberger.

July 12, 2014
Tampa Bay Rays — Grant Balfour came on for the 9th inning of a tie game yesterday and promptly gave up three runs, while only recording one out.  Joel Peralta also gave up two runs in his last time out.  Meanwhile, Brad Boxberger pitched a scoreless inning last night and hasn’t given up a run in his last 9.1 innings of work.  Boxberger has already received one save in the Rays crazy committee and could see more chances if Balfour and Peralta continue to struggle.

Updated Hierarchy: McGee | Balfour | Boxberger.

July 10, 2014
Tampa Bay Rays — Time for our daily look at the bullpen you don’t want anything to do with! Use of would-be closer in the eighth inning? Check. Five pitchers called on to get the final seven outs? Check! Rookie Kirby Yates brought in at the highest-leverage moment to yield a game-winning home run? CHECK! The Rays have Thursday off, giving Joe Maddon the chance to take a fresh look at all of his bullpen options, then return to using them in baffling and inconsistent ways.

Hierarchy remains: McGee | Balfour | Peralta.

July 9, 2014
Tampa Bay Rays — After using each of the three other members of the Tampa closer committee in turn, Joe Maddon has now called on Jake McGee in three straight save situations. McGee didn’t make it easy on Tuesday, giving up two runs in the ninth, but he got out of trouble in the end. It’s still a committee until mad genius Joe Maddon says otherwise, but McGee remains the best guy to own.

Hierarchy remains: McGee | Balfour | Peralta.

July 5, 2014
Tampa Bay Rays —   Yesterday it was Jake McGee’s turn again in the Rays’ committee and he didn’t disappoint, pitching a scoreless 9th for his 4th save of the season.  However, the most important work out of the bullpen came from Brad Boxberger.  Boxberger, who picked up the save on Wednesday, came on with the bases loaded and nobody out in the 6th inning.  He was able to limit the damage to one run by getting a double play and a strikeout.  Boxberger came back out for the 7th and struck out 2 batters in a perfect inning of work.  This is still very much a committee, and Joel Peralta pitched a scoreless 8th yesterday so it is hard to put Boxberger on the hierarchy yet, but with 51 Ks in 33.1 innings, he could move ahead of Balfour and Peralta as the primary righty in the committee if he continues to pitch well.

Hierarchy remains: McGee | Balfour | Peralta.

July 3, 2014
Tampa Bay Rays — It’s unclear precisely what good deed Brad Boxberger performed to get the latest nod in the ninth from mystic philosopher-king Joe Maddon. All we know for sure is that if you want a reliable source of saves, Tampa relievers aren’t for you.

Hierarchy remains: McGee | Balfour | Peralta.

July 2, 2014
Tampa Bay Rays — Oh, Joe Maddon. No one was surprised to see him call on Jake McGee to face the Yankees’ 2-3-4 hitters in a one-run eighth. A few people were surprised when he summoned Grant Balfour to nail down the save with the same score in the ninth. But everyone was surprised when Maddon revealed his reasoning in a postgame statement and tweet: he was rewarding Balfour for the good “karma” he sensed as the embattled reliever walked his octogenarian Aussie grandmother through the lobby of the team hotel. Some Rays fans called the move brave, but honestly, with the way the Yankees have been hitting lately, Granny B could have taken the mound herself.

Hierarchy remains: McGee | Balfour | Peralta.

July 1, 2014
Tampa Bay Rays – Every time we think Jake McGee has creeped closer to claiming the ninth-inning duties for the Rays, Joe Maddon reminds us that he truly believes in his committee. On Monday, he had McGee face the Yankees’ 2-6 hitters in the eighth inning before allowing Joel Peralta to pitch to the bottom of the order in the ninth. His plan was foiled, however, when a Brian Roberts’ solo shot off Peralta tied the game. It’s clear that Maddon wanted his best reliever to face the Yankees’ best hitters, and it’s thinking like that which will keep the Rays’ committee alive and well.

Hierarchy remains: McGee | Balfour | Peralta.

June 29, 2014
Tampa Bay Rays – Jake McGee picked up his second save in two days on Saturday.  Grant Balfour worked the 8th inning ahead of McGee in game 1 of the doubleheader on Friday and did it again yesterday.  It is also worth noting that Joel Peralta gave up 2 runs in the 7th inning with the Rays losing in game 2 of the doubleheader on Friday.  McGee looks to be moving ahead of the other members of the Rays committee and could be establishing himself as the primary closer.

Hierarchy remains: McGee | Balfour | Peralta.

June 23, 2014
Tampa Bay Rays – It seems pretty common for managers to declare “Committee!” after their stopper proves ineffective, but Joe Maddon is actually following through on it. There have been four saves since Grant Balfour lost his full time job, and Balfour, Juan Carlos Oviedo, Jake McGee, and Joel Peralta have all gotten one of them. (Peralta picked his up on Sunday.) We still like McGee the best of the four, but it may take some time for someone to distinguish themselves.

Hierarchy remains: McGee | Balfour | Peralta.

June 20, 2014
Tampa Bay Rays – The best thing Grant Balfour has going for him is a manager hellbent on getting him back to the 9th inning.  But he’s also put together a modest line since being demoted two weeks ago (4.2 IPs, 1 ER, 3 H, 5 Ks, and 1 BB), and for a guy who spent much of the year with a 6+ ERA and more walks than strikeouts, this constitutes tremendous progress.  Last night, he got the 9th inning in a 5-run game (pitching behind Joel Peralta, who got the 8th), and struck out the side.

Updated hierarchy: McGee | Balfour | Peralta.

June 17, 2014
Tampa Bay Rays – Committees can be maddening for fantasy owners, and Joe Maddon hasn’t helped matters by the way he has gone about the late innings. Joel Peralta pitched the seventh before giving way to Grant Balfour, who struggled through one out of the eighth. Jake McGee, who appeared to be the leading candidate for saves, was called upon to bail him out and instead allowed an inherited runner to score, tying the game. The Rays regained the lead in the bottom half of the inning and it was Juan Carlos Oviedo who picked up his first save since he was Leo Nunez in 2011. After the game, Maddon insisted that there’s “no need” to settle on one closer, and that it’ll be the opponents’ batting order that dictates who enters the game. We still think McGee is at the head of the committee, but at this point it really could be anyone who gets the call at any particular moment.

Hierarchy remains: McGee | Peralta | Balfour.

June 16, 2014
Tampa Bay Rays – It’s been obvious that Jake McGee has been the best arm in the Rays bullpen this year.  But even when Grant Balfour began to struggle, there were various reasons — arbitration considerations, usage, his left-handedness — to think that he wasn’t going to be the first man to get a save chance in Tampa’s new committee.  (And, he wasn’t.)  But despite the lack of save chances, the stars have been aligning for McGee ever since the Rays made the switch.  He pitched the 9th inning of a 1-run loss — behind Joel Peralta — in the first day after the Rays declared a committee last week.  Grant Balfour picked up that weird, 7-out save on Wednesday, but Joe Maddon went out of his way after the game to point out that McGee was unavailable.  Two nights ago, he likely would’ve gotten a save chance, except that the Rays scored a bunch of runs in the 9th.  And yesterday, after David Price turned in 8 solid innings, it was McGee who closed the door in the 9th.  There are still way too many dynamics in play to anoint McGee the new full time closer, and after all, this was just his first save.  But with that finally out of the way, we’re inching him to the head of the Tampa committee.

Updated hierarchy: McGee | Peralta | Balfour.

June 14, 2014
Tampa Bay Rays — The Rays used Joel Peralta in the 8th inning last night with a 3 run lead.  They added 2 more runs in the top of the 9th so there was no save opportunity for anyone.  Jake McGee did end up coming on for the last out of the game and likely would have gotten the save if the Rays had not tacked on more runs.  Peralta was warming up for the save in the 9th the other night so it seems like this is a true committee.  We still like Peralta but we would also not be surprised if McGee saw the next save opportunity.

Updated hierarchy: Peralta | McGee | Balfour.

June 12, 2014
Tampa Bay Rays — Huh. In a one-run game, Joe Maddon summoned Juan Carlos Oviedo in the sixth, watched him get one out and hit a batter in the seventh, brought in Cesar Ramos as a LOOGY, and then let deposed closer Grant Balfour finish the inning. When the Rays scored two in the bottom of the seventh, Maddon sensed an opportunity to help the embattled Australian regain some confidence — so out he came to pitch a perfect eighth. And though Joel Peralta was up and warming prior to the ninth inning, it was Balfour who finished the game, earning a surprising 2.1-inning save. After the game, Maddon explained that the closer committee is still in effect, but it seems he’d like the Goose Gossage of New South Wales back in the role as soon as possible.

Updated hierarchy: Peralta | Balfour | McGee.

June 11, 2014
Tampa Bay Rays — It’s fun to talk about, but until the team finally wins a game, the Tampa closer committee will remain a matter for philosophers, theologians, and Seminole medicine men. Juan Carlos Oviedo might get the first shot at breaking the curse tomorrow, since Joel Peralta was used Tuesday in a high-leverage spot in the eighth, and Jake McGee followed him with a 20-pitch ninth. If that happens, we can’t rule out the possibility that Oviedo takes the job and runs with it, perhaps earning up to one save per month for the flailing Rays. Watch out for Kirby Yates as a dark horse candidate too; he’s been a lights-out closer for the AAA Durham Bulls.

Hierarchy remains: Peralta | McGee | Oviedo.

June 9, 2014
Tampa Bay Rays – The Rays will go with a closer-by-committee for the time being, announced Joe Maddon this morning.  Grant Balfour will be part of that committee, but as mentioned in our previous update, we like Joel Peralta to get the next save chance, with Jake McGee and Juan Carlos Oviedo also involved.  Balfour will have to work his way back to the 9th inning, which seems unlikely given his terrible ratios thus far.

Updated hierarchy: Peralta | McGee | Oviedo.

June 9, 2014
Tampa Bay Rays – Grant Balfour gave up five more runs on Sunday and now has a 6.46 ERA. Joe Maddon wouldn’t say if Balfour had finally lost the job that he should’ve lost a long time ago, but it seems silly to keep running him out there. Until we see evidence that Balfour has lost the job, all we can do is speculate, but the three candidates to take over the job right now are Joel Peralta, Jake McGee, and Juan Carlos Oviedo. Oviedo (the former Leo Nunez) had a better chance at the job before allowing a run in three consecutive outings last week. McGee clearly has the best stuff, averaging more than a strikeout per inning and currently rocking a 1.59 ERA, but just three days ago, he was pitching in the 6th inning. That leaves the veteran Peralta, who despite a rough start to the season, has continued to pitch the 8th inning and has managed to hold the opposition scoreless in 13 of his last 14 outings. Stressing that we don’t have any hints from inside the clubhouse about what happens next, we still think Peralta has a narrow lead in the race to replace Balfour.

Hierarchy remains: Balfour | Peralta | McGee.

May 26, 2014
Tampa Bay Rays – Joel Peralta has had his problems with the long ball this year, which has led to a high ERA for the usually-reliable veteran, but despite Jake McGee’s dominance, Peralta has consistently been the 8th inning guy all year long.  However, McGee owners had reasons to feel optimistic yesterday, as Peralta, for the first time, was summoned in the 7th, rather than the 8th.  He gave up his fifth home run of the season — a 2-run shot to Jonny Gomes — and saw his ERA climb to 5.24.  Though we’re not ready to deem McGee the heir apparent just yet, any small shift in the Rays pen is worth mentioning, given Grant Balfour’s struggles.

Hierarchy remains: Balfour | Peralta | McGee.

May 23, 2014
Tampa Bay Rays – We’ve mentioned Grant Balfour’s ratios here before, but it truly is incredible to see a pitcher with peripherals this bad continue to get the ball in the 9th inning. After walking two (and getting annoyed with the crowd for booing him) in a blown save on Thursday afternoon, Balfour now has 18 BBs and just 15 Ks in 18.1 innings pitched. He’s already on the Hot Seat, though he might hang on to his job in part because the Rays ended up winning their game in extras. But Joel Peralta — and maybe Jake McGee — is definitely worth a speculative pick up at this point.

Hierarchy remains: Balfour | Peralta | McGee

May 17, 2014
Tampa Bay Rays – Grant Balfour picked up his 8th save by pitching a perfect 9th inning last night, just one night after being removed from a save opportunity without recording an out.  Manager Joe Maddon said that Balfour is still his closer.  Balfour may have given himself a little more leeway with his outing yesterday, but we still think Maddon will have to think about changing things up if Balfour has another outing like Thursday.

Hierarchy remains: Balfour | Peralta | McGee.

May 16, 2014
Tampa Bay Rays – Summoned to protect a three-run lead, Grant Balfour walked the first two batters he faced (the 8 and 9 hitters) before allowing an RBI single.  Balfour was then yanked by Joe Maddon, and watched from the clubhouse as Brad Boxberger gave up a walk off 3-run HR to Mike Trout.  Balfour wasn’t happy about being removed, but the quick hook shows how little trust Maddon has in him at this point.  Already on our Hot Seat, Balfour (15.1 IPs, 6.46 ERA, 1.63 WHIP, 11 Ks, 14 BBs) is probably just one more blown save from losing his job — if he hasn’t done so already.

Hierarchy remains: Balfour | Peralta | McGee.

April 26, 2014
Tampa Bay Rays – Grant Balfour gave up a walk off grand slam last night, and while that’s all well and terrible, we’re actually even more worried about his ratios so far this year — 10.1 innings with 7 Ks and 9 BBs.  There’s no shortage of arms in the Tampa bullpen: Joel Peralta has been as reliable as ever, Jake McGee has a 0.90 ERA — heck, there was even a Leo Nunez Juan Carlos Oviedo sighting this week.  With Balfour’s health in question even before the year began, we have to think he’s on a short leash.  Grant Balfour to Hot Seat.

April 14, 2014
Tampa Bay Rays – A day after Jake McGee got an 8th hold inning for the Rays, Heath Bell was called upon to pitch in the 7th of a game that the Rays were losing by four.  Bell didn’t help matters, allowing two earned runs and raising his season ERA to 5.40.  His peripherals aren’t great so far, either, and at age 36, he’s got to start proving that he still belongs.  Hierarchy change: Jake McGee to 2nd in line, replacing Heath Bell.

March 13, 2014
Tampa Bay Rays – The irascible Australian Grant Balfour, rejected by Baltimore, will be out to prove something to his division rivals. Ranked #14 in our preseason closer rankings.

March 11, 2014
Tampa Bay Rays –Almost an Oriole, Grant Balfour returns to the Rays this season as the team’s closer. He was 38-of-41 in save opportunities last season in Oakland and will replace Fernando Rodney, who departed for Seattle. The Rays feel they have the best bullpen in baseball, and they have plenty of options behind Balfour. Juan Carlos Oviedo, Heath Bell, Joel Peralta and Jake McGee all figure to factor in Joe Maddon’s late-inning plans. Bell struggled last season, but if Peralta struggles Bell may see his more high-leverage time. Starting 2014 hierarchy: Closer – Grant Balfour, Set-up – Joel Peralta, 2nd in line – Heath Bell.

September 25, 2013
Tampa Bay Rays — Jake Odorizzi picked up a three-inning save on Tuesday as the Rays shut out the Yankees. No hierarchy change.

September 24, 2013
Tampa Bay Rays — After nearly three months on the disabled list, All-Star set-up man Jesse Crain was finally activated on Monday. If he’s truly healthy, he should soon pass Jake McGee as Tampa’s top seventh-inning option. No hierarchy change.

September 4, 2013
Tampa Bay Rays — Starter Roberto Hernandez picked up the first save of his eight-year major league career with 3.2 scoreless innings in a 7-1 win. No hierarchy change.

August 28, 2013
Tampa Bay Rays — After Joel Peralta struck out the side in the eighth inning, Fernando Rodney entered and blew his eighth save of the season. The Rays fell to 3-12 in games where they have blown leads in the seventh inning or later. With the Rays in the heart of a pennant race, they can’t afford to keep losing this way. Fernando Rodney to Hot Seat.

July 30, 2013
Tampa Bay Rays — The Rays took a gamble on Jesse Crain; if he’s able to return from his injury with the same form he exhibited earlier in the season, he’ll be in the thick of the bullpen mix with Joel Peralta and Jake McGee down the stretch. Hierarchy change: Jesse Crain to 2nd in line (DL).

July 17, 2013
Tampa Bay Rays — Fernando Rodney isn’t the most reliable closer in the league, but the Rays are still likely to stand pat at this year’s trade deadline. TRADE DEADLINE BUY/SELL: None.

July 12, 2013
Tampa Bay Rays – Fernando Rodney had the night off on Thursday, and Jake McGee who got the save in his absence.  The opp likely would’ve gone to Joel Peralta, but Peralta had to be summoned in the 8th inning to bail the Rays out of a sticky situation.  But McGee has been pitching very well lately, having only allowed 3 runs in his last 24.2 innings, and his usage over the past week suggest that he’s basically sharing the set-up role with Peralta at this point.  No hierarchy change.

June 1, 2013
Tampa Bay Rays – Cesar Ramos went three innings for the save on Friday.  No hierarchy change.

May 26, 2013
Tampa Bay Rays – Joe Maddon on Saturday gave Fernando Rodney yet another vote of confidence after the closer’s fifth blown save of the year.  But with his ERA now at 6.05 on the season, Rodney remains on the hottest of Hot Seats, and Joel Peralta’s continued efficiency makes him a great speculative add, if he’s available.  No hierarchy change.

May 18, 2013
Tampa Bay Rays – As predicted in yesterday’s vulture save watch, Joel Peralta recorded the save last night.  Fernando Rodney was warming up in the 9th but Joe Madden did not need to bring him in as Peralta pitched a perfect 9th.  No hierarchy change.

May 17, 2013
Tampa Bay Rays – After another dreadful outing, Fernando Rodney now has a 5.28 ERA and 3 blown saves in 10 tries this year.  Joe Madden gave him a vote of confidence after the game, saying: “I’m not really concerned yet. I’m not running away from Fernando. We’ll get him right.”  We are, though, especially with reliable set-up man Joel Peralta (1.96 ERA) having another solid season.  Fernando Rodney to Hot Seat

May 13, 2013
Tampa Bay Rays – Jake McGee picked up his second 7th-inning hold in the past week on Sunday.  McGee has an extremely high ERA, but it’s mostly due to one horrible outing he had in early May.  On the rare night when both Fernando Rodney and Joel Peralta were unavailable, he’d likely get the save opp.  Hierarchy change: Jake McGee to 2nd in line, replacing Jamey Wright. 

May 2, 2013
Tampa Bay Rays – An ugly April for the Rays bullpen has spilled into May, as 7th inning man Jake McGee gave up 5 runs on Wednesday against the Royals.  McGee’s ERA jumped from 6.48 to 11.00 after the shellacking, and with hard-throwing righty Kyle Farnsworth struggling, the Rays may have to start leaning on journeyman Jamey Wright to get a few high-leverage outs late in games.  Wright has been one of the few reliable arms in Tampa, with a 1.54 ERA in 12 games so far.  Hierarchy change: Jamey Wright to 2nd in line, replacing Jake McGee.

April 11, 2013
Tampa Bay Rays – Jake McGee pitched the 7th inning last night, a role he has settled into nicely.  Kyle Farnsworth, meanwhile, hasn’t pitched in many high-leverage situations in the early going.  Hierarchy change: Jake McGee to 2nd in line, replacing Kyle Farnsworth.

February 24, 2013
Tampa Bay Rays – Starting 2013 hierarchy: Closer- Fernando Rodney, Set-up- Joel Peralta, 2nd in line- Kyle Farnsworth.

July 13, 2012
Tampa Bay Rays – Fernando Rodney’s dominance has been one of the biggest surprises of the season, and with Kyle Farnsworth recently returned from the DL, the Rays are unlikely to add any bullpen arms. TRADE DEADLINE BUY/SELL: None.

July 1, 2012
Tampa Bay Rays – Kyle Farnsworth pitched his first inning of year on Saturday, logging a scoreless frame in the 7th inning. The former closer immediately slots in to the Rays late-inning hierarchy, and could push Joel Peralta for the 8th inning role. Hierarchy change: Kyle Farnsworth to 2nd in line, replacing Jake McGee.

June 14, 2012
Tampa Bay Rays – Jake McGee pitched a perfect inning in a losing effort on Wednesday, lowering his ERA to 1.69. JP Howell, meanwhile, has not rediscovered the velocity that made him such a dynamic reliever two years ago and has struggled, particularly in recent weeks. Hierarchy change: Jake McGee to 2nd in line, replacing JP Howell.

May 5, 2012
Tampa Bay Rays – Joel Peralta recorded a one-out save on Friday. As noted in the vulture save watch, Fernando Rodney had been used a lot lately, so he was given a night off. No hierarchy change.

April 20, 2012
Tampa Bay Rays – JP Howell pitched the 7th inning yesterday while the game was still close. Joe Maddon seems more willing to use Howell to pitch to both righties and lefties, while Jake McGee has settled into more of a LOOGY role. Hierarchy change: JP Howell to 2nd in line, replacing Jake McGee.

April 9, 2012
Tampa Bay Rays- Fernando Rodney closed out Sunday’s game against the Yankees, notching his second save in as many days. It seems that Joel Peralta’s leash was at short as it could be, as Rodney will close until Kyle Farnsworth returns from the DL. Hierarchy change: Fernando Rodney to Closer, Joel Peralta to Set-up.

April 8, 2012
Tampa Bay Rays- Joel Peralta was brought in to stop the Yankees rally yesterday, but only faced two hitters, the second of whom hit a HR off him. Jake McGee was then brought in for one batter before Fernando Rodney came in to close it out. Based on Peralta’s success filling in as closer last year, he figures to get another shot, but could be in danger of losing the job should he falter again. Joel Peralta to Hot Seat.

April 5, 2012
Tampa Bay Rays- Kyle Farnsworth was on the Rays’ 25-man opening day roster yesterday, but today, he’s been placed on the disabled list after complaining of elbow soreness. Joel Peralta will see save opportunities in his absence. Hierarchy change: Joel Peralta to Closer, Fernando Rodney to Set-up, Jake McGee to 2nd in line, Kyle Farnsworth to DL.

March 20, 2012
Tampa Bay Rays- Joe Maddon’s 2012 group looks much like the 2011 version of the bullpen – and that’s a good thing for the Rays. Starting 2012 hierarchy: Closer- Kyle Farnsworth, Set-up- Joel Peralta, 2nd in line- Fernando Rodney.

Sept. 26, 2011
Tampa Bay Rays- Kyle Farnsworth pitched his first inning in several weeks on Saturday, so the Rays gave him Sunday off and turned to Joel Peralta for the save. No hierarchy change.

Sept. 19, 2011
Tampa Bay Rays- Kyle Farnsworth is still out for at least two more days, and Joel Peralta picked up another save in his absence on Sunday. No hierarchy change.

Sept. 18, 2011
Tampa Bay Rays- Joel Peralta picked up the save last night with Kyle Farnsworth still on the shelf. Farnsworth is due to return on Wednesday or Thursday, so Peralta may get one or two more opportunities to close. No hierarchy change.

Sept. 13, 2011
Tampa Bay Rays- Kyle Farnsworth will be out a few days as he recovers from some shoulder soreness. Joel Peralta picked up the save last night and will close until he gets back. No hierarchy change.

Aug. 28, 2011
Tampa Bay Rays- Joel Peralta got the save last night as Farnsworth was unavailable due to a sore elbow. Madden said Farnsworth should be able to pitch tomorrow. No hierarchy change.

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