The GBT – The Good, The Bad and The Telling sandwich, where The Bad is nice and lean and the The Telling is ripe.
THE GOOD: Jeff Niemann. The Giraffe allowed just 1 run in 3.2 innings. The big numbers were 6 strikeouts and 0 walks…Sean Rodriguez. Making the start in RF, Rodzilla hit his 4th home run and is now 10-25 in the spring…Reid Brignac. He was 0-2 at the plate, but made some strong defensive plays at SS…Justin Ruggiano. He is not getting a lot of playing time in the early innings, but he did hit his 3rd home run of the spring and went 2-4 getting the start in LF.
THE BAD: The Bullpen. Mike Ekstrom and Joe Bateman combined to give up 7 runs (5 earned) in 3 innings…Carlos Pena. Another 0-3 and he is now 0-18 with just 2 walks. But maybe more telling is that Pena has only struck 4 times in that 0-18. When Pena struggles, he strikes out. A Lot. Last year, he struck out once every 3.5 plate appearances. This spring it is once every 5.
THE TELLING: Sean Rodriguez got the start in RF on Sunday…BJ Upton hit 2 home runs on Saturday (both to the opposite field). The last time Upton hit 2 HR in a regular season game was July, 2007 in Yankee Stadium…Matt Garza worked 5 innings on Saturday…Hank Blalock DH’d on Saturday (Pat Burrell was in RF, lord help us all) and went 0-3 with a walk…Dioner Navarro will play tomorrow…Matt Joyce might still be a week away.
DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- RJ Swindle, Jason Cromer and Craig Albernaz are the latest cuts as they were reassigned to minor league camp.
- Stuart Sternberg wants balanced scheduling and more playoff teams. He also suggested that the line between “the haves and the have-notes” could become “problematic” in the next 10 years. [Rays Report]
- Joe Maddon says the competition for the 5th spot in the rotation is “still wide open”…In other words, they don’t want Wade Davis to take his job for granted. [Tampa Tribune]
- Winston Abreu had off-season surgery to remove an aneurysm from his arm. He is scheduled to make his debut March 22, the same as JP Howell. [St. Pete Times]
- BJ Upton says he is trying to get back to hitting balls to the opposite field, something he says got him to the big leagues. [Tampa Tribune]
- James Shields will be the opening day starter. [The Heater]
- Steve Slowinski takes a look at the spray charts of Reid Brignac, Matt Joyce and Sean Rodriguez. [DRays Bay]
- Roger Mooney writes about the Rays need to groom prospects to stay competitive. [Tampa Tribune]
- Beyond the Boxscore ranks the farm systems based on representation in prospect rankings, with the Rays coming out on top. [Beyond the Boxscore]
- Bill Chastain spoke with Carl Crawford about his incredible work ethic. [MLB]
- RJ Harrison, the Rays director of scouting is ranked third in baseball by Andy Seiler (h/t Rays Prospects). [Andy Seiler's MLB Blog]
- We may have already linked to this, but if not…Maury Brown writes that Revenue Sharing is working in MLB. [Baseball America]
- Marc Topkin spoke with Kelly Shoppach about his game-calling skills. [St. Pete Times]