Tampa Bay Rays (5 days until Opening Day)
Yesterday: Tampa Bay Rays 10, Jays 0.
The Good: Rays pitchers combined on a shutout without walking a batter and striking out 8. Jason Hammel was limited to 4 innings in the game so that the relievers could catch up on their work (Hammel continued to work in bullpen after his 4 innings), but was very effective. He did not allow a run and gave up only 3 hits and did not walk a batter. He struck out 2…Five relievers, that will all be on the opening day roster, combined for 5 shutout innings, with only 2 hits and no walks with 6 strikeouts…Another errorless game…Jonny Gomes was 3-4 with his 4th home run of the spring…Eric Hinske had a double and a RBI.
The Bad: Guess we could put Cliff Floyd here for going 0-3 and lowering his spring average to just north of the Mendoza Line (.205), but that is a stretch as spring numbers don’t mean much, but they mean even less for veterans.
The Telling: Elliot Johnson started at short and played the first 8 innings. Right off the bat in the first he successfully turned a double play and later handled a ground ball cleanly. Johnson needed to show he could handle short if he is going to be a utility player off the bench while Ben Zobrist is on the DL.
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.
- In case you missed it late yesterday, we have a poll going to gauge the reaction of RAYSHEADS to the demotion of Evan Longoria and see what you think the Rays should have done. [Rays Index]
- Several Rays are not happy about the demotion of Evan Longoria including Jonny Gomes…They must not have asked Willy Aybar and Joel Guzman their thoughts. [St. Pete Times]
If I say I commit to winning, he’s on my team for sure. I think everybody wearing a Tampa Bay hat and uniform wants that guy here. I don’t think it’s a good day on the players’ end and for everybody in a uniform.
- Joe Maddon is taking a very a conservative approach with Scott Kazmir. Kid K will play catch the next few days and may throw from a mound some time next week. And yes, he was officially placed on the DL. [The Heater]
- Gary Shelton shows that the Rays will improve in 2008 and the biggest reason is the bullpen, especially considering the Rays in essence traded Shawn Camp, Ruddy Lugo and Brian Stokes for Troy Percival, Dan Wheeler and Trever Miller. [St. Pete Times]
- This is the extreme example of the uninformed bashing that some people are tossing at the Rays since the Evan Longoria demotion…And for the record, the Rays do not have the worst winning percentage in baseball history. There are 20 franchises in history with lower winning percentages. [Mike Responts]
- Drays Bay found a stat that shows that Dioner Navarro is one of the better catchers in baseball at blocking pitches in the dirt and preventing runs. [DRays Bay]
- Most previews should have this title. At least this blog is honest enough to admit it, and that earns points in our book. [The Ballclub]
- Willy Aybar is trying to put his troubled past behind and is relishing his fresh start. [St. Pete Times]
- Brian Anderson, who attempted a comeback from Tommy John surgery this spring with the Rays, has accepted a position with the team in which he will assist pitching coach Jim Hickey and the front office with scouting. [Rays Report]