Joe Maddon doesn’t like using his starting pitchers against divisional foes in spring training. But if last night’s game against the Yankees is any indication, Maddon takes the opposite approach with his hitters.

It is only logical that Maddon hides his starting pitchers (they will often pitch in a minor league game on days the Rays face divisional rivals). The more the Yankees and Red Sox hitters see the Rays Big 5 starting pitchers, the more likely those hitters will find a comfort zone. And the key to successful pitching is keeping hitters uncomfortable.

So if there is an advantage for hitters to get extra hacks against Rays pitchers, than it only seems logical that Rays lineup regulars would not only start against division foes, but also stay in the game longer.

And that is exactly what happened last night.

Typically, Maddon will pull his regulars after either five or six innings in spring games. But last night against the Yankees, with Bartolo Colon working six innings, Maddon kept his regulars in the game longer than usual.

Several players made their longest outings of the spring, including Evan Longoria, who worked seven innings, and Sean Rodriguez and Reid Brignac, who both stayed in the game through eight innings.

We have said many times, that the most important stat in spring training is playing time. And last night’s playing time taught us that JoeMa isn’t just going through the motions with less than two weeks until opening day.

 
 

7 Comments

  1. Joe says:

    Was hoping he would start doing this. Maybe it’s me but I’m tired of seeing Ray Olmedo and .045 AVG enter the game in the 5th. More awesome signs of whats coming soon is the 90+ pitches that Price is scheduled to throw today and our “road” lineup. If Jaso was healthy, it would be an opening day type lineup.

    Zobrist 1b
    Joyce rf
    Longoria 3b
    Ramirez lf
    D Johnson dh
    Upton cf
    Brignac ss
    Rodriguez 2b
    Lobaton c

    • Derek says:

      Shoppach would make the start. Matusz is a lefty.

      • Joe says:

        Pretty sure Guthrie is going opening day for them.

        • Derek says:

          I made two errors. I thought this was your prediction for opening day. For some reason I read your post as if you were assuming Jaso was going to start the season on the DL. Damon will start opening day though. I’d also like to see Joyce batting behind Johnson.

  2. Joe says:

    Cya Ekstrom and Bootcheck! It was nice having you around, Swindle.

    Unless you want to believe Cabrel has a real chance, I think Ramos just got 1 of the spots, hoping the other 2 go to Cruz and McGee

  3. Joe says:

    Like he recently said, he wants to get certain guys(Brignac, Rodriguez, Elliot, Zobrist and Jaso) more AB’s so they reach around 60 by the time camp breaks. I guess he also wanted to make up for Joyce’s off day, Joyce, Brignac and Rodriguez played the whole game today.

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