Beeks, who's competing for one of the "bulk reliever" roles in the Rays' bullpen, has caught manager Kevin Cash's eye with improved velocity in recent outings, Juan Toribio of MLB.com reports. "He continues to impress," Cash said. "That long at-bat [on Friday], I don't know if he's capable of doing that last year. He just kept throwing strike after strike. Really encouraged."
Beeks' unsightly spring line -- one that includes an 8.31 ERA -- doesn't tell the whole story regarding the 25-year-old's progress toward a potential Opening Day roster spot. The southpaw, who was acquired in the Nathan Eovaldi trade with the Red Sox last July, made some tweaks to his delivery earlier this spring, which included shortening up his back arm during his motion. That's led to an uptick in velocity with his fastball, which is up as high as 94 mph after averaging 91.8 mph last season. In conjunction with pitching coach Kyle Snyder, Beeks is also working on adding depth to his slider, with the goal of making it a viable complement to an arsenal that already includes a fastball, curve and changeup.
Beeks allowed two earned runs on four hits over 1.2 innings in a 7-3 Grapefruit League split-squad win over the Tigers on Friday. He struck out two and now sports an 8.31 ERA across 8.2 spring innings over six spring appearances.
Other concerning metrics in Beeks' spring resume include a .385 BAA and 2.08 WHIP, as well as four total home runs allowed. The 25-year-old southpaw is battling for a "bulk" reliever role in the Rays' staff this season alongside the likes of Ryan Yarbrough and Yonny Chirinos, and although Friday's final line was far from pretty, he still earned praise from manager Kevin Cash for a 12-pitch showdown against Dustin Peterson, Juan Toribio of MLB.com reports. "That long at-bat, I don't know if he's capable of doing that last year," Cash said. "He just kept throwing strike after strike. Really encouraged."
Beeks (4-1) got the win Wednesday, pitching three shutout innings with two strikeouts while allowing four hits and three walks against the Braves.
Beeks was tabbed as the long man in Wednesday's "bullpen" day, and though an hour and six minute rain delay limited his outing to just three innings and 49 pitches -- both of which were season-low totals since joining the Rays -- it was still enough to pick up the win for a third straight outing. The rookie southpaw has a 2.63 ERA with 24:13 K:BB in 27.1 innings since the start of August, and he figures to continue serving in a similar capacity down the stretch.
The rookie southpaw wasn't particularly sharp against his former club, throwing 59 of 97 pitches for strikes, but the Tampa offense did more than enough damage to cover for him Beeks now has a 5.20 ERA and 23:13 K:BB in six appearances and 27.2 innings since being traded to the Rays, and he should continue filling a regular long-relief role down the stretch.
Beeks is expected to pick up most of the innings Friday against the Red Sox, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.
Diego Castillo will "open" Friday's tilt, but it will be Beeks who is tasked with eating multiple innings. Beeks threw 4.0 scoreless frames against the Red Sox in his last outing, notching three strikeouts and allowing just three baserunners.
|9/30/2018 vs Toronto|
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|2014||R-Gcl Red Sox||0||0||0.00||2||0||0||0||0||5.0||3||0||0||0||0||0||8|
|2016||AFA-Salem Red Sox||4||4||3.07||13||13||1||0||0||67.1||67||25||23||9||4||24||55|
|2016||AA-Portland Sea Dogs||5||4||4.68||13||13||0||0||0||65.1||72||37||34||6||2||28||56|
|2017||AAA-Pawtucket Red Sox||6||7||3.86||17||17||0||0||0||95.2||86||45||41||10||2||33||97|
|2017||AA-Portland Sea Dogs||5||1||2.19||9||9||1||1||0||49.1||35||12||12||3||3||22||58|