THE GOOD: Jason Hammel. Hammer made an early statement for the final spot in the rotation with 4 scoreless innings, allowing only 3 hits. Hammel is yet to allow a run in 6 spring innings with an impressive 5 strikeouts to only 1 walk. The key to Hammel’s chances of being in the rotation will likely ride on his ability to be consistent and avoid walks. Check and check…Evan Longoria. In 3 spring games, Longoria is showing no signs of a potential sophomore slump. 2 more doubles on Sunday…Carl Crawford’s legs. Two triples on Sunday and all of the sudden CC looks like the CC we haven’t seen since 2007…
THE BAD: Gabe Kapler. The likely platoon mate with Gabe Gross is 0-9 this spring…Elliot Johnson committed his second error of the spring. Johnson’s future with the Rays depends on his ability to play consistent defense at several different positions.
THE TELLING: Joe Maddon used a lineup that featured a number of regulars…Carlos Hernandez‘ second outing was so-so. He gave up 2 runs, but both were unearned. He did allow 2 hits, a walk and threw a wild pitch in 2.1 innings. If Hernandez wants to force his way into discussions about the 5th spot in the rotation, he needs to be strong each time out.
DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- Joe Maddon will start using his Big 4 starting pitchers on Saturday. [Rays Report]
- Jason Hammel says he has never been more confident than he is right now and Joe Maddon says Hammer is has been a “different cat” since he nailed down a save against the Red Sox last September…Still think we are crazy to project Hammel as the 5th starter? [St. Pete Times]
- NPR did a recent story (with audio) on the challenges the Rays face this season when it comes to attendance (thanks Carlos). [NPR via Facebook]
- Joe Maddon says if the team can stay patient and Fernando Perez can become a better hitter from the left side then the Rays may get “somebody really special.” [Tampa Tribune]
- David Chalk of Bugs and Cranks provides us with some video clips of some recent appearances by Matt Garza on some national programs. [Bugs and Cranks]
- The Rays Party finds Jeremy Cummings’ lack of spring appearances for the Rays conspicuous. [The Rays Party]