THE GOOD: David Price. Joe Maddon stretched Price out to 4 innings and 59 pitches, but he did struggle a bit in the 4th inning. Price appeared to be really working his changeup throwing about 12. The two runs he allowed did come on a 2-run home run off of one of his changeups…Sam Fuld. Fuld was back in the lineup, made a diving catch added a basehit. This is good as the gap between he and Ruggiano for the 4th OF spot appears to be shrinking a bit…Just A Little Patience. The Rays walked 7 times, including 4 from players that could be in the opening day lineup…Bullpen. Only one inning came early in the game, but 4 relievers looked strong combining for 6 strikeouts and just 1 walk in 5 scoreless innings. Mike Ekstrom contributed 2 innings. Rob Delaney, Alex Cobb and Matt Bush also pitched.
THE BAD: John Jaso. Jaso is off to a slow start this spring going 1-13 with just 1 walk in his first 5 games.
THE TELLING: Manny Ramirez was given Sunday completely off, and yet he still showed up at the Spring Training complex at 8am to work in the batting cage…Jeremy Hellickson will throw BP today and is still scheduled to make his spring debut on Friday…Elliot Johnson is expected back today and Ben Zobrist might not be back until Wednesday.
RANDOM THOUGHTS: We put together a chart recently showing that there is almost no correlation between spring training and regular season winning percentage. But there does tend to be a little correlation at the extremes. That is, teams that are really, really bad in the spring rarely do well during the regular season. The highest jump in winning percentage over the last 8 seasons is .210 percentage points. It is still VERY early, but the Rays would need more than that just to hit .500 at this point.
THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- Here is a new Rays blog we just we learned about. Please check it out and welcome them to the neighborhood. [Catching Some Rays In Tampa Bay]
- Jonah Keri’s book “The Extra 2%” is out today. We are about two-thirds through the book and have will have a review soon. But so far, we can tell you that you won’t be disappointed. Just make sure you are sitting when you read about The Hit Show. [Amazon]
- Joe Maddon continues to praise the relievers battling for the three open spots in the bullpen…Also, Reid Brignac thinks he is healthy enough to play now, and look for Matt Joyce to get more ABs against lefties today and tomorrow. [TampaBay.com]
- Joe Maddon says Justin Ruggiano has nothing left to prove at triple-A, but that “things may have to happen for him” to make the opening day roster. [TBO.com]
- Several Bucs coaches are expected to take batting practice today and Raheem Morris may be in the dugout during the game. [TampaBay.com]
- George Hendrick and the Rays are still hopeful and trying to motivate Tim Beckham to become a big league shortstop. [TBO.com]
- Phil Rogers spoke with Chris Archer about going from the Cubs to the Rays. [Chicago Tribune]
- Joe Smith talked with Felipe Lopez about trying to make the Rays roster. [TampaBay.com]
- Princeton nearly lost the Princeton Rays before a local foundation helped renovate their troubled ball field. [Bluefield Daily Telegraph]
- Be sure to check out the latest RaysRev.com podcast. [RaysRev.com]
- A fun interview with David Price. [Salute Your Sports]
- And don’t forget. Sometimes, the best cure for a Hangover is a “Morning Cup of Joe.” [Joe Bucs Fan]