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Pitching Rotations – Rays vs. the A.L. East

Opening Day for the Rays is a week away and I am concerned about their pitching rotation. The Rays have their rotation already set with Zach Eflin leading the charge by taking the mound for game one of the new season. Having the rotation set a week ahead of time is good and bad. The good part is that the staff can prepare ahead of time. Numerous injuries to pitchers made it easy to piece together a rotation of available pitchers. This week the Rays added Jacob Waguespack to the rotation. This free agent signing has not pitched in the MLB since 2020. In three spring training games, Waguespack has thrown to 37 batters in 8.2 innings, striking out eight but allowing seven hits and five runs. The rotation is alarmingly shallow. No other team in the division has their rotation set. Let us compare rotations.

Rays Rotation

Zach Eflin

Aaron Civale

Zack Littell

Ryan Pepiot

Jacob Waguespack

Orioles Rotation

During the offseason, the O’s picked up Cy Young award winner Corbin Burnes. Burnes will face the Angels on Opening Day. Like the Rays, the Orioles are dealing with injuries. Number two starter, Kyle Bradish, is expected to miss most of April and parts of May with a right UCL sprain. Brandish had a record of 12-7 and impressive WHIP of 1.04 last season. Lefty John Means is recovering from Tommy John surgery. Means has not seen a full season since 2021. Neither pitchers are expected to make the Opening Day roster.

Corbin Burnes

Kyle Bradish

Grayson Rodriguez

John Means

Tyler Wells

Cole Irvin

Julio Teheran

Red Sox Rotation

The Red Sox have a healthy squad. All seven rotation pieces are fit for regular season action. Brayan Bello has been tasked with Opening Day duties. Bello will be the youngest Opening Day starter since Aaron Sele in 1995. Last season he provided the Red Sox with 12 wins. Improvements are expected from Bello. He has been receiving mentorship from Hall of Fame pitcher and countryman Pedro Martinez.

Brayan Bello

Lucas Giolito

Nick Pivetta

Kutter Crawford

Garrett Whitlock

Tanner Houck

Josh Winschowski

Yankees Rotation

The Yankees are scrambling to fill the hole left by Gerritt Cole. Cole, reigning Cy Young Award winner, shook the Yankee Universe with an elbow injury. After an MRI, no damage was discovered. Cole will be out for April with a projected return date in May. Nestor Cortez will fill in as the ace of the staff and be the Opening Day starter. Nasty Nestor has been anything but nasty. Cortez has an ERA of 8.10 for the spring. In 10 innings he has given up nine runs.

Gerritt Cole

Nestor Cortez

Carlos Rodon

Marcus Stroman

Clark Schmidt

Cody Poteet

Clayton Beeter

Lucas Weaver

Blue Jays Rotation

Blue Jays ace Kevin Gausman is suffering from shoulder fatigue. An injury list stint is not needed according to the Blue Jays. Gausman is scheduled to face the Pirates in the last spring training game. Gausman’s shoulder will be reassessed then. Jose Berrios has already been entrusted as the Opening Day starter. Alek Manoah is also dealing with shoulder issues. During spring training, Manoah pitched 1.2 innings and only faced 11 batters. This shoulder issue might be a remnant from last season. In 2023, Manoah made 19 starts with 87.1 innings resulting in a 3-9 record. In 2022, Manoah was an all-star and finished third in the Cy Young Award voting with a 16-7 record.

Kevin Gausman

Jose Berrios

Chris Bassitt

Yusei Kikchi

Alek Manoah

Bowden Francis

Yariel Rodriguez

Every team has injuries to work around. However, the American League East is vicious. A poor start to the season can put a team in a challenging predicament to overcome. The season is a marathon and not a sprint. A solid performing pitching rotation is the foundation to a successful season. I said I was concerned about the Rays pitching rotation. Hopefully, no more injuries will occur and maybe a surprise overachiever will present himself too. I would really like to see Brenden McKay make it back from the minors. Until then, Rays Up!


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