RAYS 4, Pirates 3 (boxscore)
THE GOOD: Evan Longoria. The kid was in the lineup for the first time this spring, and Raysheads everywhere breathed a sigh of relief. In his 3 plate appearances he walked, grounded out, and hit a sac fly…Jeff Niemann. The Giraffe faced 9 batters in 3 innings and retired all 9, including 2 strikeouts. Considering Wade Davis’ outing on Saturday, it is safe to say Niemann has cemented his position as the favorite for the final spot in the rotation…Bullpen. The first 5 pitchers out of the bullpen all figure to be part of the Rays opening day roster. That group combined to hold the Pirates to 2 runs (1 earned) in 5 innings on 3 hits and no walks. The one real blemish was a solo home run off of Joel Peralta…Reid Brignac. It’s early, but Briggy’s bat is off to a good start. Two more hits yesterday and he now has 5 hits in his first 12 at bats.
THE BAD: Wade Davis. We took yesterday off, but we would be remiss if we didn’t mention Big Dub’s outing on Saturday in which he allowed 4 runs (2 earned), 3 hits, and walked 4, including one with the bases loaded. Davis can’t afford too many bad outings, and this one was bad. Jeff Niemann’s performance on Sunday made it even worse.
THE TELLING: Carlos Pena batted second, which is apparently something Joe Maddon is considering for the regular season…Sean Rodriguez is expected back in the lineup today or tomorrow. And David Price will pitch tomorrow along with Matt Moore…Joe Maddon is going to get a buzz on Thursday for kids cancer research, but he’s not going completely bald…ESPN the Magazine will be running a story soon on Jame Shields’ pick-off move.
THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- We upgraded our server last night, the second in six months (way to go guys!). It looks like everything is in working condition, but as these things go, there might be something we haven’t noticed yet. Also, any comments that were made during the transition may have been lost. Sorry about that. Party on.
- This shouldn’t come as a surprise, but the Rays are not interested in Ivan Rodriguez. [MLBTR]
- Marc Topkin has a fun read on the childish nature of David Price. [TampaBay.com]
- New Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine was very complimentary of Joe Maddon. [ESPN]
- According to Fangraphs, the Rays have the third best rotation in baseball, which sounds about right. [Fangraphs]
- Aaron Giddens of BRaysball Talk explains why he’s a Rays fan. [BRaysball Talk]
- Reid Brignac and his playmate girlfriend (or ex-girlfriend depending on who you read) had a son on Friday. [MLB]
- Several players will shoot a calendar with their dogs to benefit an animal shelter in St. Pete. [TampaBay.com]
- From Beth comes the ten sexiest players in baseball, and the Rays are well represented. including #1, who might not be who you are thinking. A word of warning though, the music is VERY NSFW. So turn the volume off. [YouTube]
- And via Nicholas, comes this shot he took in Madrid of Calle de Zorrilla (Zorrilla Street). As he put it, “Who knew the rays had such far-flung fans?”