BOSTON -- Monday's Rays game in Chicago against the White Sox has been changed from an 8:10 p.m. ET start to a 2:10 p.m. ET first pitch due to anticipated cold weather.Rays manager Kevin Cash said his team will not be affected by the change."I talked to [Monday's scheduled starter
BOSTON -- Monday's Rays game in Chicago against the White Sox has been changed from an 8:10 p.m. ET start to a 2:10 p.m. ET first pitch due to anticipated cold weather.
Rays manager Kevin Cash said his team will not be affected by the change.
"I talked to [Monday's scheduled starter Chris Archer] yesterday," Cash said. "He was in support of it. Realistically, I think we'd rather play when it was warmer than at 7 o'clock. That's fine."
Cash chuckled when asked if he looked forward to getting into a rhythm where his team is playing at night every day.
"That or 80-degree weather," Cash said.
Cash did allow that the Rays' schedule to start this season has been "different."
"Look, we came out of Spring Training kind of on the schedule that we've been playing right now [with day games]," Cash said. "You always talk about at the end of Spring Training that you've gotta have some night games to get reacclimated to your normal schedule. We came out of Spring Training knowing that we had a bunch of day games, so it hasn't interfered too much. The off-days, maybe not allowing us to get into a rhythm maybe hasn't been ideal, but we just have to handle it."
With the start-time change in Chicago, all three games will be matinees, making it seven of eight contests on the Rays' current road trip.
"Actually, [moving the starting time is] probably the best thing," veteran outfielder Denard Span said. "Because in Chicago this time of year, at nighttime, once that sun goes down, it's a whole new animal.
"So as baseball players, we're more programmed to play night games. That's part of our routine and part of our recovery system. But I think this time of year I'd rather play all day games with the weather being as cold as it has been."
According to Span, handling the different schedule is "just one of those things as a professional. You have to try and stay ready."
"There have been some curveballs on this road trip, with the weather," Span said. "That's the northeast. You just have to stay ready as much as possible. That's the only thing I know to do, really.
"I've been in situations where you had rain delays for two or three hours, and as soon as you think you're not going to play, the weather clears up and you play the games in 30 minutes. The last thing you want to do is get caught off guard. You've got to keep your guard up."
On Thursday against the Red Sox, Yonny Chirinos became the first pitcher to make the first start of his career at Fenway Park and not allow a run in at least five innings since Atlanta's Hiram Davies did it in his Major League debut on May 21, 2005, according to Elias Sports Bureau.
Chirinos was the first pitcher to be used for the Rays' "Bullpen Day," which called for an expectation that he would pitch three or four innings tops. But he pitched so efficiently that he went five. Eight of Chirinos' 15 outs came on three pitches or fewer.
"Pretty remarkable for a young guy, seven or eight days in the big leagues, to come in on Opening Day at Fenway Park, 30-degree weather and put up zeroes," Cash said. "The most telling thing was when we misplayed the ball in center field, man on third with no outs.
"He almost acted like nobody was on third base for the first two outs. He just kept making pitches, getting ahead of hitters, get weak contact. Then, once you get two outs, I think the motivation to really strand them comes in there. But very, very impressed with Yonny's overall mindset, conviction and performance."
Cash heralded the effect Chirinos had on Rays fielders by working fast.
"That's something we talked about this offseason, Spring Training. A lot of those guys who played behind [Chirinos] in [Triple-A] Durham last year raved about him," Cash said. "They loved playing behind him because it's a contact-oriented approach. He's going to keep the defense active probably more times than not with a lot of ground balls. Defenses, they appreciate that. When you get 3-2 on everybody in the deep counts, that's when you can have a little bit of a mental lapse."
While Cash lauded Chirinos' performance, he wasn't about to commit to making the right-hander his third starter.
"I think all of those [long guys pitching on bullpen days] have done enough," Cash said. "They've pitched really well. I know there was a hiccup in New York with Austin [Pruitt], but other than that, our long relievers, per se, have thrown the ball really well for us. We're just going to have to see how we get through today's start, and tomorrow's. And then we have Arch and Blake [Snell] coming back, then see what we do on Wednesday before the off-day."
Anthony Banda, who came to the Rays in the trade that sent Steven Souza Jr., to the D-backs, showed well Friday night in his first start for Durham. Banda is Tampa Bay's No. 16 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline.
The left-hander scattered four hits while striking out eight in five scoreless innings against the Charlotte Knights, catching Cash's notice along the way.
"I heard he threw really well," Cash said. "Efficient, he threw a lot of strikes. No walks, six K's, seven K's, whatever it was. Once he got optioned down, [pitching coach] Kyle [Snyder] and I went and watched a couple of his starts. Highly motivated to get up here, perform well. I don't think you can ask for a better start than what he just provided."
Kiermaier's flu-like symptoms
Kevin Kiermaier did not start Saturday due to flu-like symptoms. However, the Rays' center fielder was expected to be on the bench by gametime and available for duty. Cash wanted Kiermaier to get some extra rest in addition to not being around the other players until the last minute to reduce the risk of him being contagious.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com.