Alex CobbThe GBT – The Good, The Bad and The Telling sandwich, where The Bad is nice and lean and the The Telling is ripe.

Red sox 5, RAYS 1 (boxscore)

THE GOOD: Alex Cobb. Cobb gave up some runs, that’s going to happen. But what is great is that he struck out 5 and walked just 1, continuing his mastery of the strikezone this spring. In 5 starts, Cobb now has 23 strikeouts and just 2 walks for an out-of-this-world 11.5-to-1 K-to-walk ratio. Obviously he won’t keep that up all season, but we usually think of a 3-to-1 ratio being good. And Cobb hasn’t been the only pitcher dominating the strikezone. David Price has 10 strikeouts and just 1 walk. And Jeremy Hellickson has 7 Ks with just 1 walk…Desmond Jennings. Flash continues his hot spring. He didn’t play yesterday, but he now has 10 hits and 7 walks in 36 plate appearances this spring. And more amazingly, he has struck out just 2 times.

THE BAD: Another Near Perfect. How often do the Rays get no-hit? When they failed to put any runners on base in the first 8 innings of yesterday’s game, many fans joked about getting this year’s perfecto out of the way in spring training. You could also tell that at least some players were uptight about the near no-no when Jose Lobaton argued a called third strike in the 8th inning. Of course, in the grand scheme of things, having the “regulars” no-hit for 5-6 innings in the spring means little. But this is an offense that is going to struggle at times. And nobody is going to be surprised if the Rays are no-hit at some point this season.

THE TELLING: As we projected last week, Roberto Hernandez did start on Saturday keeping him on pace to start the fourth game of the season…Ben Zobrist has returned to the Rays after his stint with Team USA…David Price will start in another minor league game today to keep him on schedule to start opening day on normal rest…Sam Fuld (whose return has been pushed back several times already) is expected to return later this week and be ready for opening day…David Price might be on the regional cover of Sports Illustrated’s Baseball Preview issue.

THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • Braulio Lara who was selected by the Marlins in the Rule 5 draft, has been returned to the Rays after making four spring appearances for the Marlins. [Palm Beach Post]
  • Peter Gammons says the Rays are one of several teams looking for “experienced catching.” [Peter Gammons]
  • Desmond Jennings says he is working on bouncing back from last season by shrinking his strikezone. He also says he feels more comfortable in center field. [TampaBay.com]
  • Chris Wise, who writes about the Durham Bulls over at Watching Durham Bulls Baseball made his first trip to The Trop. Here is how a first-timer views The Trop. [WDBB]
  • Evan Longoria talks about the expectations he must live up to with his $100 million contract. [TampaBay.com]
  • Any Lionel Messi fans out there? [BI Sports]
  • Are the Bucs going to land Darrelle Revis or not? [JoeBucsFan]

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19 Comments

  1. Lane Meyer says:

    The blogger from Durham sounds like he is angling for a move to Carolina for the Rays. How the hell would he know whether a move would help attendance? The key piece is whether the Rays management can do their jobs to sell corporate season tickets as the Rays sell 10-12,000 less of those than the average MLB team and that’s not all due to location. In fact both the stadiums in Tampa are named for Pinellas based corporations.

    • Chris says:

      Nope. I love AAA baseball. Don’t want the Rays up here. I really would like to see the Rays succeed in St. Pete. I’d just never seen the set up before (I left the area in the mid-80′s). I was only trying to point out that a business model that depends on anyone on the other side of the bay coming to more than a couple games a year doesn’t feel right … and a new stadium might not make a difference. But what if a couple hundred folks a year from up here took up a package deal of a couple of games, staying in a downtown St. Pete hotel? Or folks from Montgomery? The Rays don’t market here at all, and only rarely are on free TV (doesn’t apply to me, I’m at the Bulls game, anyhow.) Note that the White Sox AAA team, the Charlotte Knights, are moving to a new downtown park next year. So Charlotte seems to have finally given up on going after major league baseball. Lastly, it was Cork who talked about moving the AAA franchise to Al Lang field. Turnabout is fair play?

      • Dave L says:

        I think your post was a pretty fair assessment, I didnt sense any bias. You are right about the home stadium advantage. Probably tops in MLB. The only Ray who complained about playing since the new Turf was installed was Crawford who said it was hard on his knees. Dozens of opponents on the other hand have had bad things to say about virtually every aspect of the Trop which is music to my ears.

        I hope the ‘famous’ wasn’t too tounge in cheek, infamous is the more usual adjective nationally used

  2. Don says:

    Rays hitting much better than last year……

  3. Gus says:

    Before Hernandez stuggled against the PawSox on Saturday (5 IP, 6 H, 1 BB. 3 R (2 ER)), Rays manager Joe Maddon was asked on Thursday if he was ready to make a decision on the rotation spot any time soon. “It’s not pending yet,” Maddon said. “It’s getting close, but it could still take a while.”

    Meanwhile Neiman, outpitched him playing a near-full O’s lineup on Thursday at Sartasota, widening his spring ERA lead over Hernandez (2.13 to 3.60).

    • Cork Gaines says:

      Wouldnt expect Maddon to say anything else. The Rays never make anything official until they absolutely have to. Meanwhile, the process and scenarios are already planned well in advance. They are always prepared and think 3-4 moves ahead, but leave the possibility open in case the need arises to change their minds. It is the same reason Maddon won’t call Rodney his closer. If Rodney is not a “closer” it makes it easier to insert somebody else if the need arises. And yet, Maddon already knows that 99% of the time, Rodney is the guy.

      • Geoff Peterson says:

        Also why would Maddon name Niemann as the 5th starter if there is still potential to trade him? Then if he had to name Hernandez #5, it would make him look like he was the 2nd choice. This way if Niemann gets traded, Joe can say Hernandez was his choice all along.

  4. Will says:

    Niemann seems to always make it hard for the Rays not to choose him. I still feel like a trade will more than likely happen.

  5. Michael says:

    That’s weird. When this page loaded a pop-up survey appeared asking for the favorability of my view on Summer’s Eve douches. Is a baseball blog really the best place for them to do their marketing research?

  6. Dave L says:

    I honestly don’t think AF has decided on the exact roster and as such Maddon can’t know the rotation, so i don’t think he’s being coy at all.

    Still plenty of time for someone to get a boo boo and need time for it to heal then all the mysteries will solve themselves for opening day…..

    Unless we get a top prospect or two nice ones I dont expect Niemann to go anywhere. Maybe a promising young backup catcher is available but that would be only in our dreams. But you never know.

  7. Jason says:

    OK. So if Friedman has not decided on the final roster (and even he always says it is a group decision) why is every starting pitcher already working on normal rest for opening week except Niemann? We’ve already got guys pitching in minor league games (Price twice) just to keep them on normal rest. Why didn’t Niemann pitch on Saturday?

    The only evidence I keep seeing for Niemann over Hernandez is that you think Niemann is outpitching Hernandez. I cant remember who it was (maybe Buster Olney?) said recently that scouts are saying Niemann has looked bad this spring. Besides, nobody is hitting better than Leslie Anderson and nobody thinks he has a shot at making the team. Spring stats rarely matter when it comes to making roster decisions. The Rays are smart enough to know it is a small sample size and other factors are much more important.

    • Gus says:

      “Other factors” is rays speak for cash.

    • Dave L says:

      Because they are waiting to see if someone gets hurt for real, or if they are going to have to fabricate an injury, seriously. I am not joking.

      Sure they have an idea….. if camp ended today this is our roster…but it aint over yet.

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