A question begs: If something happens on Leap Day, did it actually happen? Let’s hope not, as the Tampa Bay Rays were throttled by that team from Atlanta, 12-0, on Saturday. If there is a bright side though, it has to be Jose Alvarado, who posted a bounce-back performance after not being able to finish one frame of work in his first outing of the spring.
Alvarado started the frame by hitting Peter O’Brien with a 2-2 pitch, yet the southpaw bounced back and struck out the next three hitters on 18 total pitches (11 strikes, 61% strike rate). Alvarado leaned on his cutter, sinker, and curveball during the inning.
Alvarado told Neil Solondz (Rays Radio) that he and pitching coach Kyle Snyder looked at tape from last year of times where he was going well and that helped the lefty.
I felt more power in my body and I saw my command on my fastball. I felt more (normal) because I threw more strikes. …I feel different than my first time because I’m working on my legs. I’m feeling better than my first time because tonight I see more strikes.— Jose Alvarado
Following the game, Kevin Cash said that he hopes to see Alvarado get back to his dominant, 2018 form.
That was good to see. I know him and (pitching coach Kyle Snyder) have gone back and looked at some stuff for when it was going really, really well for him. I think they’re just trying to replicate that. I don’t think he’s far off, by any means, and the adjustment isn’t a major adjustment. But if he felt good, we’ll continue to harness that one because it looked really good.— Kevin Cash
You can hear Alvarado’s interview, in full, on the SoundCloud player below, courtesy of Rays Radio.
Atlanta scored five of their runs — three in the first inning, one in the second, and one in the third — against starter Yonny Chirinos. The right-hander, who said he focused on his splitter and sinker, did throw 26 of 38 pitches for strikes (68% strike rate).
The New What Next
Right-hander Joe Ryan will make his first Grapefruit League start against the Twins On Sunday. Andrew Kittredge, Aaron Loup, Pete Fairbanks, and Oliver Drake are also scheduled to pitch for Tampa Bay.
Rays 3/1/2020 Starting Lineup
- Diaz 3B
- Tsutsugo LF
- Zunino C
- Choi 1B
- Arozarena RF
- Kiermaier CF
- Smith DH
- Wendle 2B
- Robertson SS
- Ryan RHP
— Hampered by shoulder stiffness, LHP Brendan McKay threw his first batting-practice session of the spring on Saturday. McKay threw around 25 pitches to Mike Brosseau and Miles Mastrobuoni.
It felt really good, my arm felt where it usually is at this time.— Brendan McKay
The southpaw said he was impressed with his changeup, which he has been focusing on this spring.
I threw a lot of really good changeups, which I’m kind of happy about. I’ve been on the search for that over the last couple of years. I’ve had glimpses of it, but to throw it that consistently to righties and some lefties, it’s only building that confidence that you can throw it whenever you need to and it can be a dominant pitch.— Brendan McKay
— Kevin Cash told reporters that Blake Snell received a cortisone shot on the outer half of his left elbow and isn’t expected to make his scheduled start next week. Cash said the team “isn’t overly concerned” at the moment.
He came in after his session, felt pretty good — but not as good as he wanted to. I think, given what took place last year, we wanted to do everything to get out in front of it.— Kevin Cash
Per Juan Toribio (MLB.com), the Rays will be cautious with Snell, who missed nearly two months last season after undergoing left elbow surgery to remove loose bodies. Cash stressed getting the shot on the outer half of the elbow was better than getting it on the inner part — which is where the tendon area is.