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Cash's pregame decision comes up huge

Rays manager scratched Ramirez 25 minutes before game time
MLB.com @wwchastain

A pregame decision by Kevin Cash to scratch Erasmo Ramirez from his scheduled start yielded great benefits for the Rays' manager and his team Tuesday night in a 2-0 win over the Orioles at Camden Yards.

Ramirez was scheduled to make his second start of the season, but the prospect of bad weather prompted Cash to start reliever Austin Pruitt instead. He did not want Ramirez to start, have to sit in the event of a rain delay, then not be able to continue, essentially burning his start.

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A pregame decision by Kevin Cash to scratch Erasmo Ramirez from his scheduled start yielded great benefits for the Rays' manager and his team Tuesday night in a 2-0 win over the Orioles at Camden Yards.

Ramirez was scheduled to make his second start of the season, but the prospect of bad weather prompted Cash to start reliever Austin Pruitt instead. He did not want Ramirez to start, have to sit in the event of a rain delay, then not be able to continue, essentially burning his start.

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"The decision came at about 6:40 [p.m.] to avoid Erasmo from starting because we were under the impression that we were going to have rain around 8 or 8:15," Cash said. " ... We just kind of adjusted on the fly real quick. We were kind of in the same boat [Monday] night with [Chris Archer] starting [and bad weather looming]."

The rookie right-hander came through with three scoreless innings, holding the Orioles to one hit and a walk while striking out three, before turning things over to Danny Farquhar to start the fourth.

Farquhar got two outs then Jumbo Diaz took over the relay and carried the baton for 1 1/3 scoreless innings. Chase Whitely followed with three scoreless innings to bridge the gap to Alex Colome. The Rays' closer got the final three outs to complete the shutout by the Rays' bullpen.

"Obviously, the rain never came but it worked out in our favor," Cash said. "All of the bullpen did a tremendous job of stepping up; Pruitt, Whitley, [Farquhar], Jumbo, and, of course, Colome at the end."

Pruitt, who started for most of his career, made his first Major League start. When a reporter asked if his first Major League start had been what he'd dreamt of, Pruitt laughed.

"No, that wasn't the way I planned it, but it was cool the way it happened," Pruitt said.

Ramirez, who warmed up at the end of the game, will not start Wednesday, rather he'll be available to give the bullpen length.

The Orioles found out that Ramirez had been scratched approximately 20 minutes before the start of the game.

"Got a call from Kevin that they were going to start Pruitt," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "We go over all of them in the advance meeting. We have all the information we need.

" ... You've got to tip your hat to them. But what people miss, it's kind of the way the game changed. You're seeing all kind of different stuff and it's not always the starter. So many adjustments have to be made, and when they're all operating like they were tonight, it's really a challenge."

Cash acknowledged that having guys in his bullpen like Pruitt and Whitley gives the team versatility since they are able to pitch multiple innings and that "helps us a ton."

"Everything kind of worked out for us," Cash said. "We were really fortunate."

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.

Tampa Bay Rays, Erasmo Ramirez