The Rays had an opportunity to walk away with a pair of W’s Friday, however they’ll head into Saturday’s game against the Twins in Port Charlotte with a pair of L’s instead.
Alex Cobb got the start in the 6-4 loss to the Pirates. Cobber threw 103 pitches in six-and-a-third innings, allowing three earned runs on five hits, while striking out five and walking three.
With T-Minus 10 days and counting until opening day, Cobb mentioned that he felt great, also saying,
“It was the most comparable to a real game that I’ve felt this spring,” Cobb said. “I went through my challenges with runners on, working through jams, working through my mechanics, figuring things out. And I got up and got down seven times for the innings, which is really nice to get that feeling.”
Jeff Niemann got the start in Port Charlotte against the Orioles, making his second to last start in his bid for the fifth spot on the starting rotation. Niemann posted a unimpressive 6 IP/10 H/5 R/5 ER/1 BB/5 K/1 HR slash line on the day. His velocity was still down in the 87-88 mph range. The tall righty had a positive take on his start, saying,
“Honestly, it’s the best I’ve felt all spring,” said Niemann. “The best I’ve thrown the ball. Really I made just a couple of bad pitches. The homer is what really upset me today, but besides that, I thought I threw the ball pretty well.”
Both Roberto Hernandez and Jeff Niemann will get their final starts of the spring next week — Hernandez taking the hill against the Phillies on Tuesday in Clearwater, and Niemann getting the start against the Blue Jays Wednesday in Port Charlotte. Andrew Friedman and Joe Maddon are slated to make their decision on the fifth starter toward the end of next week.
Luke Scott had another good day in the batters box Friday, hitting two doubles against the Pirates. Ben Zobrist also had a good day, hitting his first homer of the spring in the same game. Evan Longoria continued to tear the cover off the baseball Friday against the Orioles, hitting a bases clearing three RBI double bases-clearing double in the third inning. Longo raised his Grapefruit League batting average to .389, with seven doubles and 10 RBIs.
Rays 3/23/13 Starting Lineup:
- Jose Molina got some playing time both Thursday and Friday following his stint with team Puerto Rico in the WBC. Molina slapped a single and caught for six innings Friday.
- Saturday’s 1:05 PM game against the Twins is scheduled to air on Fox Sports Florida.