Is Iglesias on the bench because of his quadriceps, shin or all of the above?
“All of the above,” manager Brandon Hyde said during today’s Zoom conference call with the media.
“It’s a well-deserved day off for him. He’ll be available off the bench. He actually wanted to be available off the bench in the second game last night as well. But yeah, giving him a breather today.”
Iglesias has put aside his defense-first reputation and slashed .375/.400/.508 with 14 doubles in 34 games. His absences will cost him a shot at the batting title in the American League.
The media covering the team will cast its votes for Most Valuable Oriole and Iglesias is one of the leading candidates. Anthony Santander appeared to be the favorite prior to straining his oblique, but also is under consideration in a shortened season.
Hyde was asked for his input, a conversation that usually happens off the record during the dugout scrum. He took a diplomatic approach, like a father refusing to single out his favorite child.
“I think Santander, the time he was here, was definitely that choice,” Hyde said. “Now it’s up to you if you feel like that earned full year of consideration. Is that fair?
“It’s hard to argue against José Iglesias and what he has meant to us when he’s playing, and the year that he’s had has been phenomenal, so I don’t think you can go wrong with either one of those.”
Hyde later endorsed the medical staff, led by head athletic trainer Brian Ebel.
Reliever Hunter Harvey is bothered by the drop in his strikeout totals this summer, with only three in 6 1/3 innings. He expressed some frustration in a recent Zoom call.
The explanation is clear to pitching coach Doug Brocail and he believes that Harvey also knows it.
“Harv’s frustration with his split, he has the answer, he just doesn’t do it,” Brocail said. “I ask him, ‘What’s the problem?’ ‘Well, I’m not throwing it like the fastball.’ ‘Well, there you have it’ Think fastball, let it rip and good things happen. He wants to see the swing and miss. He wants to see the break. If he just forgets about all of that and just throws the fastball with it, that’s when it’s really, really good, and that’s what he has to get down to.
“The problem is, Harv has kind of been stretched out, we’re kind of careful with Harv and it’s one of those things that, I’m ready for him to pitch every other day - five, six times in a 10-12 day period and I just don’t think we’re there yet. Hopefully next year, that’s where we’re at and he’s either setting up or closing. It’s a huge, huge, huge arm. We all know that. We got to see a glimpse of it last year and this is an exciting kid. He’s not afraid of anything.
“I think If he just gets out there and uses it and thinks fastball with it, he’ll be fine, because that’s when we see that it’s really, really good.”
César Valdez had a streak of 11 1/3 scoreless innings until Game 1 of yesterday’s doubleheader, when he allowed two runs in the seventh inning and took the loss. Brocail is no less impressed with him heading into tonight.
“Time-tested,” Brocail said. “This is a guy that’s a king at home. He’s a strike-thrower with everything. I don’t know how many changeups he has, but five of them do five different things. Breaking balls slide, he has an up-shoot slider. The one thing we don’t see a lot of is fastball. We just don’t see enough of it to realize if it plays at 95 (mph) because of all the soft stuff or if he can locate it. I’m sure he can locate it well. We just see so much off-speed.
“This guy, he knows what he’s doing, he’s been in baseball a long time, and even when he’s not in the big leagues in the United States, he’s down dominating in the winter leagues. I think he gives us a different look out of the ‘pen. He got his first win, his first save in I don’t know how many years. I’m glad I was a part of it, especially the save, because it was a special time for him. He proved to himself he could come back and pitch at the big league level and I would hope that we have decisions to make, especially with him, because he’s done a fine job.”
Veteran Alex Cobb makes tonight’s start following the rookie tandem of Dean Kremer and Bruce Zimmermann in yesterday’s doubleheader and first-year pitcher Keegan Akin in Wednesday night’s game against the Braves.
Cobb’s importance on the staff grew with the transition to youth.
“He’s the one guy that’s pitched in this division for a while, so he knows the teams,” Hyde said. “He’s really the only one in our pitching staff that has actually pitched in real big games and pitched in postseason-type environments. To have him there as a guy with experience, a guy that’s done it before, a guy that’s had success in the big leagues, somebody for them to lean on ...
“He’s had some really good years and we just don’t have that type of experience in our clubhouse, especially on our pitching staff.”
Said Brocail: “We’ve been kind of battling the blister issue all year. I think hopefully we’re over that. This guy knows how to pitch. He’s a big league pitcher, he pitches off his split, which makes his fastball better. I think you’re going to see an awesome pitchers’ duel tonight. He’s thrown two sides in between, it’s really been good.
“He’s been working on a few things so that he can get back away from the delivery he picked up after his Tommy John. We’re trying to get him more stable on his back side, that he can have a better path to the plate, and I just think that’s going to add deception. And hopefully I’m right. I hope we see a massive pitchers’ duel tonight.”
For the Rays
Yoshi Tsutsugo DH
Randy Arozarena LF
Brandon Lowe 2B
Mike Brosseau 3B
Nate Lowe 1B
Manuel Margot CF
Hunter Renfroe RF
Willy Adames SS
Michael Perez C
Tyler Glasnow RHP