ST. PETERSBURG — Jason Adam is one of the Rays’ newest relievers, having signed a split contract with Tampa Bay during Spring Training. The right-hander has fit right in, though, working eight hitless innings to start the season. It’s the second-longest streak of hitless appearances to start a season in club history, behind only Scott Aldred’s streak of 11 in 1999.
Overall, the Rays bullpen entered Friday’s series opener against the Twins with a 2.83 ERA, sixth best in the Majors, while leading the league with 95 1/3 innings pitched. In their previous seven games, including two designated bullpen games, the relief corps recorded a 1.11 ERA while holding opponents to a .142 average.
We caught up recently with Adam to talk about the arms and personalities in Tampa Bay’s bullpen, plus the memorable no-hit bid he took part in.
MLB.com: Apparently J.P. Feyereisen has said watching this bullpen is like watching a continuous PitchingNinja highlight reel. What’s it like, from your perspective coming over here for the first time, seeing this bullpen in action?
Adam: It’s unbelievable. It’s like everyone’s nasty, and then everyone who comes up (from the Minors) is just gross. The Rays are obviously good at what they do, taking guys with good stuff and just making us better, so it’s an awesome place to be.
MLB.com: We know all about how they put together a staff with different arm angles and pitch mixes and everything, but are the personalities in the bullpen pretty similar?
Adam: Yeah, it’s just a bunch of idiots out there — myself included (laughs). Bullpen guys in general are just fun guys to be around, and this is an especially fun team. It’s laid back, messing around. Then the phone rings, and it’s business.
Adam: I knew. But I was throwing in the fifth, so at that point, it was getting borderline. And then, I mean, I was not sharp by any means, so I’m like, “All right, Jason, just freaking throw the ball over the plate.” (laughs) But then after I came out (after the sixth inning), that’s when it was like, “You’re getting into the seventh, eighth, ninth. All right. Let’s go, boys.” … When I was with the Jays, (Justin) Verlander threw one against us. I’ve never pitched in one, so that was cool. Then to walk it off, that was sick. A roller coaster.