Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Rays journal: Austin Pruitt holding his own against aces

ST. PETERSBURG — Hey Austin Pruitt, what do you think about pitching against Dallas Keuchel?

Hey Austin, what about going against Chris Sale?

Pru … Corey Kluber?

Might there be a day when a young pitcher is asked what it feels like to pitch against Austin Pruitt?

"I really hope so, one of these days," Pruitt said. "That will be cool."

For the time being, the Rays rookie right-hander will have to answer questions about being matched up against some of the best starters in baseball.

The Rays have faced Yankees RHP Masahiro Tanaka, Astros LHP Keuchel and Red Sox LHP Sale in his first three big-league starts. Today he faces Indians RHP Kluber.

"He's been really challenged," manager Kevin Cash said. "You're always challenged against the hitters more than you are the opposing pitcher, but saying that, he's gone up against four really big names."

And held his own, too.

Pruitt is 1-2 in three starts but has allowed just six earned runs in 201/3 innings, with five coming in the first start in New York.

"Really impressed with the way Austin has gone out and executed his pitches, worked to the edges," Cash said. "I think the biggest thing that he has done that allowed him to have so much success over his last couple of starts is, he committed himself to throw strikes early in the count."

Pruitt began the year in the bullpen, where he struggled — 22 earned runs in 282/3 innings.

Now he's facing off against former Cy Young Award winners and opening day starters.

So how about it, Austin, what's it like pitching against aces?

"You focus a little bit more just knowing the guy on the other side throwing against you is pretty good," he said. "It kind of makes me a little more excited against that guy."

Quote of the day

"Don't do anything drastic. We're not flip-flopping the lineup or doing anything crazy. We're not benching guys for not having success."

Cash on what he can do to cure the anemic offense

Number of the day

4 Times in eight games Indians pitchers carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning against the Rays at Tropicana Field, after RHP Carlos Carrasco (below) held them hitless for 62/3 on Friday.

A day of rest

Cash made two lineups Saturday afternoon, one with 3B Evan Longoria and one without him. After Longoria tested his bruised left thumb by swinging and fielding, Cash went with the lineup without Longoria.

"I feel pretty good, but I'm just going to take a day," Longoria said. "I think I could play, but probably the smart thing to do is let it feel a little bit better. … It's a tough call for me, but I'm just trying to make the smart decision so I can be 100 percent" today.

Longoria suffered the injury during the fifth inning Friday while trying to field a hard grounder by the Indians' Giovanny Urshela.

"You know what, this isn't the worst thing for Evan," Cash said. "We ask him to play all the time. He wants to be out there all the time. If we can get him a day off his feet that might be as important as resting his thumb."

Miscellany

. CF Kevin Kiermaier (hip, back) went 0-for-4 as the DH in a rehab start for advanced Class A Charlotte.

. The Indians wore uniforms from the 1975 season while the Rays wore their standard retro uniforms Saturday during Turn back the Clock Night.

Rays journal: Austin Pruitt holding his own against aces 08/12/17 [Last modified: Saturday, August 12, 2017 9:51pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Road to Atlanta: Tell us how you really feel, Jimbo

    College

    Topped out

    TUSCALOOSA, AL - OCTOBER 21:  Rashaan Evans #32 of the Alabama Crimson Tide tackles Jarrett Guarantano #2 of the Tennessee Volunteers at Bryant-Denny Stadium on October 21, 2017 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) 775042495
  2. Journal: USF gets support on the road

    College

    NEW ORLEANS — Perhaps it was the chance to witness the first USF-Tulane game ever, or an opportunity to frolic in the French Quarter for a weekend. Or both.

    USF running back D'Ernest Johnson (2) stiff-arms Tulane cornerback Parry Nickerson (17) on a run during the second half of an NCAA college football game in New Orleans, La., Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Derick E. Hingle) LADH111
  3. Joey Knight's takeaways from USF-Tulane

    College

    1. Saturday's triumph will do little to fortify USF's strength of schedule, but its strength-of-character quotient might have increased. On the road facing an eclectic offense, the Bulls built a huge lead, then made critical plays in the waning moments after some defensive lapses. In short, they survived. Isn't …

    South Florida defensive end Greg Reaves (41) reacts after a defensive stop against Tulane during the first half of an NCAA college football game in New Orleans, La., Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Derick E. Hingle) LADH107
  4. No. 16 USF hangs on at Tulane, off to first 7-0 start

    College

    NEW ORLEANS — After half a season of mismatches, USF found itself in a grudge match Saturday night.

    USF quarterback Quinton Flowers (9) runs for a touchdown against Tulane during the first half of an NCAA college football game in New Orleans, La., Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Derick E. Hingle) LADH103
  5. Lightning journal: Tighter defense fuels hot start

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — See what happens when you keep the crease clean, limit the traffic in front of G Andrei Vasilevskiy and limit Grade A scoring chances?

    Yanni Gourde, right, gets a late first-period goal that follows a big save by Andrei Vasilevskiy.