The Tampa Bay Rays notched their second tally in the sping win column on Tuesday, throttling the Baltimore Orioles, 15-2. Charlie Morton made his first start of the spring and showed well, while Randy Arozarena continued to rake.
Morton tossed a scoreless inning on 11 pitches (five strikes, 45% strike rate) and walked one, Chris Davis, on four pitches. The right-hander was pleased with his first outing, although he would’ve liked to have thrown a couple more off-speed pitches — Morton threw just one of 11, although he expects to mix more of his arsenal in his next outing. He topped out at 95 mph on the in-stadium radar gun.
Following his outing, Morton joked with Rays Communication Manager, Karly Fisher, that at least the four-pitch walk was efficient. He also said that one of his biggest goals for the day was to not hit anybody on the Orioles.
Last year, I hit two of their guys. I hit two of their guys back-to-back on heaters, and I felt awful about it. I’m glad that didn’t happen.— Charlie Morton
Mike Zunino was behind the plate and was pleased with where Morton is this early in the spring.
I think he’s right where he left off. I know today with one inning it’s tough to mix in everything.— Mike Zunino
Jalen Beeks, Chaz Roe, and Peter Fairbanks followed Morton and had clean, efficient innings against Baltimore; none of the three allowed a base runner.
In the batter’s box, Tampa Bay collected 16 hits, including a three-run blast by Michael Perez. Brandon Lowe tripled in the second inning, then scored on Daniel Robertson’s single. Later, Lowe hit a bases-loaded double in the fourth inning during a five-run frame that pushed the lead to seven runs.
Lowe, who ended the season with a 34.6% strikeout rate, said he is focusing on improving his plate discipline.
That’s the main focus early on in Spring Training. I definitely want to get up there and refine my approach. I think last year I had moments of immaturity up there.— Brandon Lowe
Arozarena added two more hits, bringing his total to four in as many at-bats to go along with a pair of walks.
Unbelievable. He can find the barrel. He’s got a lot of confidence to get deep in the at-bat, he doesn’t care and it seems when he gets his pitch, he’s not missing it.— Kevin Cash
The New What Next
Blake Snell will make his 2020 Grapefruit League debut on Wednesday at Charlotte Sports Park when the Rays host the Twins. José Alvarado, Ryan Sherriff, Colin Poche, and D.J. Snelten will also take the mound for Tampa Bay.
Rays 2/26/20 Starting Lineup
- Randy Arozarena LF
- Yandy Díaz DH
- Ji-Man Choi 1B
- Hunter Renfroe RF
- Yoshitomo Tsutsugo 3B
- Willy Adames SS
- Kevin Kiermaier CF
- Kevan Smith C
- Mike Brosseau 2B
- Blake Snell LHP
— Yoshi Tsutsugo blasted his first home run as a Ray on Monday, in Port Charlotte.
After Yoshi crossed the plate following the homer (against a southpaw, no less), Willy Adames bowed slightly and Tsutsugo did the same in response.
— Looking to watch wunderkind Wander Franco in action? According to Juan Toribio (MLB.com), you may only have to wait a couple of days.
A source tells MLB.com that Franco will get into Thursday’s split-squad game against the Tigers at Charlotte Sports Park, and there’s also a good chance that he will play in Friday’s Grapefruit League game against the Nationals in West Palm Beach, Fla. It’s also likely that Franco will play in other big league games throughout the spring.
Franco slashed .339/.408/.464 in 52 games with Class A Advanced Charlotte last season. The Rays haven’t made a decision on where Franco will begin the 2020 season, but it’s believed that the 18-year-old could be on Double-A Montgomery’s Opening Day roster.— Juan Toribio
— On Monday, the Rays announced that the 1,000 or so $36 a month standing-room-only tickets sold out in an hour. The team is taking names for a waitlist and they could make more ballpark passes available.
Wait! You mean to tell me that when the Rays front office, and marketing department, approach the attendance problem in an out of the box fashion, the team has a better chance at selling tickets than it has when fans are continually badgered and belittled?!