Drew Rasmussen was impressive on Monday, allowing just one hit and one unearned run across three frames, while Tampa Bay plated six runs in the third inning en route to a 9-5 win over Detroit at the Trop.
Leaning primarily on his fastball/curveball/slider arsenal, Rasmussen surrendered just a hit and a walk over three innings, while striking out three. Rasmussen threw 47 pitches (31 strikes, 66% strike rate), and would have pitched another inning if not for Tampa Bay’s sent 12-man/six-run bottom of the third. Kevin Cash elected to have the right-hander finish in the bullpen since the half-inning was so lengthy.
I’m not going to complain about offense, even though I think I was in the dugout complaining about how long it was taking. So (Kyle Snyder) just thought with how long that was happening, I was better off to just go start things in the pen early.— Drew Rasmussen
Rasmussen is still expected to be able to work a fifth up/down if he’s efficient in his next outing.
Side-armed right-hander, Trevor Kelley, followed Rasmussen and needed just 13 pitches (nine strikes, 69% strike rate) to put Detroit down in order. Kelley leaned heavily on a four-seam fastball/slider combo and struck out two. As seen in the video above, his heater cut in on right-handed hitters, while his frisbee slider darted glove-side. All this, from the same release point. That is to say that his slider and four-seamer mirrored one another well. It was an impressive outing by the 29-year-old hurler that’s battling for a spot in the ‘pen.
Brandon Lowe hit his second homer of the Grapefruit League season, a three-run no-doubter to right-center, giving Tampa Bay the lead for good. Lowe told the media following the game that his back feels great after missing half of last season due to a stress reaction in his lower back.
I don’t know that pitchers are using the whole arsenal. Maybe I’m not getting pitched the way that I would. I’m more just happy where the health is. I feel good at the plate, swinging. I feel great in the field, running and doing everything like that. So I’m happy with that, and then as we get closer to Opening Day, we’ll see. Hopefully everything kind of stays the way it has been.— Brandon Lowe
All told, Lowe drove in four runs with the homer and a sacrifice fly. The Rays have now hit 27 homers and have given up seven homers through 16 Spring games.
Kevin Cash continued to praise the work of Josh Lowe and Luke Raley. Thus far, Lowe is batting .308 this spring and went 1-for-3 with an RBI single and a stolen base on Monday. Raley went 1-for-3 with a two-run single and a walk during the Rays’ big third.
After missing a week and a half due to hip tightness, and a hit by a pitch on his left hand, Yandy Díaz returned to the lineup and showed no ill effects. Díaz reached base three times on a pair of walks and a well-struck single.
If there is one guy who is going to miss time in spring training, we still have a lot of confidence he’s going to hit.— Kevin Cash
For his part, Díaz doesn’t believe the missed time will impact him.
In a week, if I get a decent amount of at-bats, I think I can be pretty good.— Yandy Díaz
The New What Next
The Rays will play host to the Minnesota Twins. Zach Eflin will get the start for Tampa Bay, while Ryan Thompson is among the relievers scheduled to get some bump time. Calvin Faucher, who has been sidelined with an oblique injury, could be making make his Spring debut as well.
Rays 3/14/23 Lineup:
- Díaz DH
- B. Lowe 2B
- Margot RF
- Gray SS
- Siri CF
- Brujan LF
- Culberson 3B
- Gamel 1B
- Hunt C
— The Rays made their first round of roster cuts, optioning INF Osleivis Basabe, RHP Taj Bradley, INF/OF Greg Jones, INF Curtis Mead, and RHP Colby White to minor league camp. They also reassigned LHP Mason Montgomery and RHP Elvin Rodríguez to minor league camp.
— Ben’s notes: