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View From the Other Side: Rays questions for Daniel Russell of DRayBay

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MLB: Minnesota Twins at Tampa Bay Rays Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

The Blue Jays start a 3-game series with the Rays tonight in St. Petersburg.

The Rays are having a rough time of it. They are 1-9 in their last 10 games. They scored just 30 runs in those 10 games and allowed and allowed 48.

On the season they are 29-35, 4th in the AL East, a half game behind the Jays.

I sent off some questions to Daniel Russell of DRayBay.

How is the reliever as starter thing going? Are the Rays going to be doing that for this series?

On the whole it’s gone well, in that a high leverage arm has gotten to face some formidable outs early and sometimes with great results. Other times not, though, so it’s a work in progress. I wouldn’t be shocked to see one or two Openers this series.

With the All-Star ballot out, who do you see going to the game from the Rays?

Blake Snell has been pitching out of his mind this season and deserves recognition, and I’d like to think catcher Wilson Ramos stands a good chance as well. He’s been everything the Nationals had with him prior to knee surgery this year, and it’s been a gift to watch.

Can we have a quick scouting report on the starting pitchers we are likely to see?

The pitchers throwing the bulk of the innings should be rookie lefty Ryan Yarbrough, the undersized bulldog Austin Pruitt, and the guy who’d be a starter on most any other team Matt Andriese, but as indicated above, the Rays are likely using an Opener and masking who really goes to the mound until the last moment. It’s a traditional mix for each. Fastball, change, and cutter for Yarbrough and Andriese, while Pruitt breaks a big slider instead.

I hate asking this early in the season, but what do you see the Rays doing at the trade deadline?

That’s a fair question for a rebuilding team! Expect slick defender Adeiny Hechavarria (currently on DL) to be traded, and if there’s a buyer for him, Chris Archer wouldn’t surprise me.

What prospects are you looking forward to the Rays calling up this season?

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Willy Adames, Jake Bauers, and Christian Arroyo are the big three, and all of them will be playing this series, with Adames getting his second ever call up today. This is the future of the Tampa Bay Rays, you’re already facing them.

You have a few guys on the DL. Can I ask about the status of Chris Archer, Adeiny Hechavarria and Kevin Kiermaier. Who has been taking their spots?

It’s been a shared load the whole way. The outfield has Mallex Smith and Johnny Field, two would be bench players the Rays are putting to the test. The infield has had Daniel Robertson, Matt Duffy, Joey Wendle, and prospect Christian Arroyo sharing duties with a likewise eye to seeing who can stick. Meanwhile, the rotation is a free for all, with the Rays top three pitching prospects all having Tommy John surgery this year (Honeywell, De Leon, Banda).

Are you happy with what the Rays did in the Draft? Who are you most excited about?

The Rays had five picks in the first day and took the best available player with each of their first three draft picks -- I’m thankful for that. They walk away with the top HS LHP and COL LHP in the draft, a mid-first round OF who fell for injury, and even picked up a fun two-way player to keep tabs on in Tanner Dodson (CF/RHP) with a 100 mph arm. It was a good haul.

Thanks Daniel.