Tampa Bay Rays (28 days until Opening Day)
Yesterday: Tampa Bay Rays 9, Indians 7.
The Good: Scott Dohmann retired all 4 batters he faced, including the final out of the 6th inning with the bases loaded…Another errorless game for the Rays who have 21 in the spring. Only 6 teams have committed fewer…
The Bad: Rays pitchers had their streak of 21 innings without a walk end in the 3rd and then proceeded to walk 7 on the day including one with the bases loaded by Grant Balfour and hit a batter by Andy Sonnanstine….
The Telling: Elliot Johnson got the start at third base over Joel Guzman as Willy Aybar continues to nurse a sore hamstring. Either Johnson or Guzman will get the opening day assignment if Aybar is not ready to go.
DEVIL RAYS WEBTOPIA…
- Obligatory Public Service Announcement: We will be hosting the 2nd Annual Opening Day Tampa Bay Rays Live Blog here at RI. So feel free to stop by and join in on the shenanigans as participation is certainly welcome.
- Want a good indication that Scott Dohmann will be named to the roster over Grant Balfour? Try this quote from Balfour: “It’s tough to go out there and pitch every time knowing that you’re either on the team or off the team…It’s tough, having that pressure on you, I must admit.” Excuse me? You know what else is pressure? Coming in to the game with a 1-run lead and runners on 2nd and 3rd. Funny…We thought pressure was something a relief pitcher needs to be able to handle. The whole point of this battle for the final spot in the bullpen is to send you guys out there every time knowing a job is on the line and seeing how you handle it. [St. Pete Times]
- The Rays are tied with the Cubs and White Sox for most hit batters in spring training with 17. James Shields has 4 all by himself, which is the second most in the spring. As per a discussion in the comments section a few days ago, on the surface it appears like Joe Maddon and Jim Hickey are emphasizing the importance of pitching inside with the benefit outweighing the occasional hit batter. Now we see that this is also being implemented at the minor league level as Durham pitching coach Xavier Hernandez is preaching the same method to the minor leaguers, in particular Chris Mason who was the AA pitcher of the year last year. Mason has hit 5 batters in camp this spring. [Montgomery Advertiser]
“I’ve always emphasized it,” Hernandez said. “Being at the Triple-A level and going to the major leagues at the end of last year, I realized that it’s not only important, it’s imperative.”
- Acording to Outs Per Swing Evan Longoria already has more AAA experience than all of the following third basemen combined: Albert Pujols, Alex Gordon, Ryan Zimmerman, Miguel Cabrera and Kevin Kouzmanoff. He also has the same experience as David Wright and is only 3 games short of Ryan Braun. [Outs Per Swing]
- Rays of Light picked up a nice not-very-surprising tidbit about Elijah Dukes. Apparently he went MIA from the Nats for “non-baseball matters”…We’ve said it before, we will say it again. We don’t care if Glenn Gibson never throws another pitch, the Rays made a great trade to get rid of that ticking time bomb. [Rays of Light]
- The Sports Illustrated Baseball Preview issue is out and here is a link to the Rays preview. [ESPN]
- David Pinto goes to PECOTA to show that the Rays have the best rotation in the AL East, and that takes into consideration that starting pitchers will miss time and uses Jason Hammel in place of Edwin Jackson. [Yahoo! Sports]
- Here is another projection for the Rays pitching staff. [Baseball Musings]
- RJ Anderson answers 5 questions about the Tampa Bay Rays at The Hardball Times. [The Hardball Times]