Due to the fact that the Rays' bullpen was fleeced through free agency, so much depends upon how the starters will do this year. If they can get deep into games and help the team avoid having to turn to uncertain relief, it could be another good year at The Trop.
Fortunately, Tampa Bay has a pretty strong quintet that is peaking just as the season gets set to start.
David Price held the Red Sox to a run in 6 1/3 innings at City of Palms Park the other night. James Shields tossed seven scoreless and Wade Davis allowed one earned run in six innings in his most recent outing.
Jeff Niemann, the No. 4 starter, was the only one of the front four to give up more than a run (three earned in six frames) but he struck out six and did not walk a batter. Jeremy Hellickson, who will bring up the rear, has allowed just three runs in 11 innings.
When Tampa Bay visited Boston on Tuesday, manager Joe Maddon discussed multiple bullpen candidates. While he seemed to have confidence in all, he is hopeful to not have to make too many mound visits this season. The 2.12 ERA his rotation gave him in this final major tune-up has to make him feel pretty good about things.