Following a tough 3-1 loss at the hands of the Blue Jays Thursday, the Rays will take on both the Orioles and the Pirates in a pair of split squad games in Port Charlotte and Bradenton respectively.
Thursday’s game had more to do with a weak offensive showing — the Rays went 1-6 wRISP, with the only run coming off of a sixth inning, James Loney, RBI base hit with the bases loaded — than it did with Roberto Hernandez’s performance. Hernandez, who is still battling it out for the last spot on the starting rotation, was outstanding. Allowing only one run (a solo homer by Colby Rasmus), Hernandez threw 66 pitches (42 for strikes), relenting only three hits in six innings of work, while striking out two.
RHP Alex Cobb will get the start against the Pirates in Bradenton, while RHP Jeff Niemann will take the mound against the Orioles in Port Charlotte. Both the starting lineups and Noteworthiness are below.
Rays 3/22/13 Starting Lineup vs the Pirates:
Rays 3/22/13 Starting Lineup vs the Orioles:
- Sam Fuld is expected to play in the outfield in a minor league game Friday. Joe Maddon reiterated that he is “confident OF Sam Fuld (hamstring) will be ready by opener, will likely get into Grapefruit League game by most likely Monday,” reports Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times.
- There are lingering concerns over the Rays offensive production, especially following a 2012 season where they were 21-27 in one run games, while losing five games by a score of 1-0. “The general lack of offense has been a reoccurring theme with the Rays. Sure, they have had three straight seasons with 90 wins; however, there are still games in which the team struggles to string together hits, or even get on base,” writes Stephanie Katz of DRaysBay. The linked article is worth a read.