THE GOOD: Pitching. The Rays now have a 2.82 ERA this spring, second only to the Indians (2.70)…Power Strokin’. The Rays are just 13th so far in spring training OBP. However, they are third in slugging (.467) and tied for third with 12 home runs.
THE BAD: Injuries. One of the things the Rays do best is build depth on a low budget. But what the Rays can’t afford is a rash of injuries this early in the spring. Ben Zobrist has seen more time out of the lineup than in (back and neck ailments) and Joel Peralta is battling a stiff neck. In addition, David DeJesus has missed time with “soreness”…Gloves: After going errorless in the first 5 games, the Rays have committed an error in four straight games…Catchers. The biggest reason the Rays brought in Ryan Hanigan was his throwing arm and yet the Rays are the only team that has failed to throw out a base stealer so far as opponents are 7-7 (2-2 vs Hanigan). The catchers have also combined for 8 passed balls and wild pitches. Only nine teams have more.
THE TELLING: Supposedly there are four pitchers competing for the fifth spot in the rotation. We’ll have more on this later today, but right now it looks like Erik Bedard’s job to lose and Cesar Ramos is next in line, not Jake Odorizzi…Hak-Ju Lee was scratched from the lineup on Friday because he forgot to pack his knee brace for the road trip…Since the start of the 2008 season, the Rays have a 3.74 ERA. That’s the best 6-season stretch of pitching since the 1975-80 Orioles and Yankees.
THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- The Rays made their first round of cuts including pitchers Enny Romero, Mike Montgomery, and Alex Colome on the 40-man roster (optioned). In addition, five non-roster invitees were reassigned to minor league camp, including pitchers Merrill Kelly, Victor Mateo, Matt Andriese as well as outfielder James Darnell and catcher Luke Maile.
- Juan Carlos Oviedo has still not reported to camp due to visa issues.
- The Rays are now 98-81-17 (.547) in spring training since 2008. That’s the equivalent of 89 wins over a full season. Over that same time period, the Rays are 550-423 (.565) in the regular season, an average of 92 wins per season.
- Surprise, surprise! The Rays play in a tough division. Based on projected schedule of strength, five of the eight toughest schedules are in the AL East. The Rays are only #7 because they don’t have to play themselves. On the other hand, the Orioles, the weakest team in the division, has the toughest schedule. [Fangraphs]
- The Rays are re-emphasizing “small ball.” Expect to see more bunting, stolen bases, and smarter base running this season. [TampaBay.com]
- Joel Peralta is serving as a mentor these days. I’ve always said, he is destined to be a pitching coach. [TampaBay.com]
- Joe Maddon met Richard Gere (a Yankees fan). [TampaBay.com]
- Joe Maddon made hoagies for the clubhouse based on a recipe from his mother’s restaurant in Hazleton, PA. [MLB.com]
- The Red Sox owner went to Twitter and trashed the Marlins after they complained the Red Sox did not send enough star players on a road game. [BI Sports]
- Cameron Seitzer, son of former big leaguer Kevin Seitzer, hit a home run with his dad in the other dugout.