On Saturday, the Tampa Bay Rays struck for three late runs yet they dropped their Grapefruit League opener to the Red Sox, 4-3. More importantly though, since this was an exhibition game, the first four pitchers — including Trevor Richards, Jalen Beeks, and Pete Fairbanks — put up zeros.
Richards allowed a first-pitch single to Andrew Benintendi before he struck out two of the next three hitters. Richards threw nine of 15 pitches for strikes (60% strike rate) and told Neil Solondz (Rays Radio) that he worked on a slider to accompany his changeup and fastball.
It’s always a good feeling to get out there in a game situation. Throwing against someone with a different-colored uniform is always good.— Trevor Richards
Beeks followed Richards with an efficient 10-pitch frame against his former team. Following his turn, Beeks said it was helpful to see how opposing batters reacted to him.
Working on the changeup, working on the slider. Threw two or three sliders today, and just trying to improve both of those pitches the most and get to where I’m trying to throw them in the zone and then out of the zone when I want to.— Jalen Beeks
Beeks has had difficulty with consistently attacking the zone in the past. And while his first outing represented a rather small sample size, he worked efficiently and effectively which is a positive sign.
Guys early on threw the ball really, really well. Beeks was sharp, pitched good.— Kevin Cash
Fairbanks, who has been working on a changeup, took the mound in the third inning and quickly allowed a pair of bad-luck singles to start the frame — a comebacker off his glove and a bloop single to left-center. The right-hander settled down though and got Benintendi to fly out to center before he punched out Jackie Bradley Jr. on a well-placed heater at the top of the zone.
J.D. Martinez walked on a borderline full-count pitch to load the bases, yet Michael Chavis whiffed to end the inning.
I was ahead of myself a little bit. I thought that I filled the zone up pretty well … Little rushed with the slider, fastball felt great.— Pete Fairbanks
Offensively, Hunter Renfroe got his first hit in a Rays uniform, dropping a single into shallow right field…
…and Randy Arozarena hit a loud double off the Mini Monstah, just shy of a home run.
He smoked that ball. We knew that he really came on offensively at the end of last year and did some good things. You don’t see that in batting practice, everybody does it in BP, but to get out in a game like that and put a charge on the ball, it was impressive.— Kevin Cash
The New What Next
More regulars are expected to take the field in Port Charlotte this afternoon, in the Rays exhibition home opener. Ryan Yarbrough will get the start for Tampa Bay, pitching opposite of Jonathan Loasiaga. Anthony Banda, Colin Poche, and Andrew Kittredge are also slated to pitch. Yoshi Tsutsugo will play in left field and bat fifth this afternoon.
Rays 2/23/20 Starting Lineup
- Meadows RF
- Diaz 3B
- Choi 1B
- Martinez DH
- Tsutsugo LF
- Kiermaier CF
- Adames SS
- Wendle 2B
- Zunino C
- Yarbrough LHP
— Former Ray Akinori Iwamura will be in Port Charlotte along with about 20 other members of the Japanese media. Iwamura is doing a feature interview for NHK.
— Before the contest in Ft. Myers, Kevin Cash watched Tyler Glasnow and Chaz Roe throw live batting practice in Port Charlotte; both of whom he said were “filthy.” Glasnow threw 25 pitches (10 and then 15) and Roe threw 15.
It was impressive to watch. We sit behind the screen so many times, but I actually sat there and there was no screen, so I sat in the front row. That’s fun to watch from those seats.— Kevin Cash
Glasnow threw his four-seam fastball, curveball, and the changeup he has been working on.
He got a couple of soft ground balls on (the changeup). Every changeup he threw, from my vantage point, was good down in the zone, and (he) didn’t leave anything up in the zone. Landed the breaking ball and also buried it a couple of times. The fastball, I don’t know what the velo was, but it was hard.— Kevin Cash
— Brendan McKay (left shoulder stiffness) said he felt “really good” after throwing from 120 feet on Friday. McKay is tentatively scheduled to throw a bullpen session today. If all goes well, the left-hander could throw live batting practice this week, although that’s still unclear.
It was kind of the same thing I had at the end of the year last year. Throughout the offseason, it really wasn’t there, and then (it) just kind of popped back up with the intensity and a lot more throwing. Now that we got it all situated, I feel good about it.— Brendan McKay