With just three games remaining on the Grapefruit League schedule, the Tampa Bay Rays took to the mean streets of Highway 275, en route to the Philadelphia Phillies’ Spring Training complex in Clearwater, for a game against Ryne Sandberg’s rag-tag crew. The Rays exited the proverbial slaughterhouse after leading the lambs (Phillies) into a 10-1 buzz saw of epic proportions. Who cares that this is just Spring Training. Sandberg and his crew deserved the pummeling after making Tampa Bay play without a DH, to which Rays manager Kevin Cash admitted to not quite understanding, “We don’t quite understand… But whatever.”
I live blogged the game at our Tumblr page, and you can relive the game in all of its realtime — albeit retroactive — glory. Below are a few cherry picked highlights, among other things:
— Chris Archer and Nathan Karns both looked sharp in their final tuneup before the regular season. Archer allowed just a hit, while striking out two (both swinging, both on change-ups) in two-innings of work. Archer focused mainly on his fastball and change-up and threw 27 pitches in all, with 20 crossing as strikes (74% K/BB). His final line: 2 IP/1 H/2 K/27 pitches (20 strikes).
The Opening Day starter told Rays Radio he thought he accomplished a great deal this spring, especially with his change up:
Archer also told the media he’s ready to go for Opening Day:
Body feels good, I was happy to get out there and hit my pitch count right on the head, execute some pitches, work with runners on base, just kind of recap everything I’ve been working on. Everything felt good. I’m healthy. Now I’m ready for April 6.
— Nathan Karns followed Archer and posted six solid innings, allowing one run on five hits, while walking two and striking out eight. It was the longest outing of the spring for Karns, who focused mainly on his fastball (topping out at 94 mph), change-up, and curve ball. Though he gave up a solo shot and allowed seven batters to reach on five hits and two walks, Karns was able to work through every jam he faced with ease. The line from Karns’ last spring outing: 6 IP/5 H/1 ER/2 BB/8 K.
Karns was pleased after his tough outing against the Red Sox, saying, “I’m here. I’m ready.”
The Rays were forced to forgo the use of a DH, as they were playing in an NL park, yet they still collected 10 runs and 13 hits.
— David DeJesus mashed a three-run homer to cap a four run second inning:
— Kevin Kiermaier ripped a two-run triple over the head of Grady Sizemore, plating Logan Forsythe and Tim Beckham in the process:
— In the in the ninth inning, the replacement prospects hammered closer Jonathan Papelbon to the tune of four runs while he got just one out. Of note, the Rays batters combined for the cycle in Papelbon’s 1/3 of an inning of work:
— Papelbon confounded many by wearing catcher Carlos Ruiz’s jersey on the mound.
According to the Phillies skipper, Papelbon has worn a different teammate’s jersey for the spring finale the last couple of years,
I think he’s done it the last three years and I think each time it hasn’t worked very well for him.
— Tim Beckham went 3-for-3 with a run, and Logan Forsythe had two hits in as many plate appearances and scored twice.
The New What Next
Jake Odorizzi will start Friday afternoon against the Tigers in the first of two weekend games against Detroit. Also expected to see action are Grant Balfour, Brad Boxberger, Ernesto Frieri, Kevin Jepsen and Jeff Beliveau.
Rays 4/3/15 Starting Lineup
- Manager Kevin Cash told the media that either Erasmo Ramirez or Matt Andriese both will pitch at the Trop Saturday, though it isn’t known who will start. Andriese will likely pitch an inning, as they’d like to keep him available for games one or two of the season. I’d imagine any use Saturday would be sparing at best. Ramirez will wear number 30.
- The St. Petersburg City Council unanimously agreed to hold a workshop on the Rays bid for stadium search “as quickly as possible,” noting that the upcoming baseball season is just days away. This news comes on the heels of earlier news of Mayor Rick Krisemen’s decision to hold off on putting his latest proposal, which would allow the team explore stadium options in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties, up to vote. According to an article penned by Stephen Nohlgren (Tampa Bay Times), several council members expressed hope that the Rays would send a representative, however principal owner Stuart Sternberg recently said he will no longer let his executives to talk to the council as a body — only to individual members. Mayor Kriseman’s spokesperson Ben Kirby said either the mayor or a representative would attend the workshop.
- According to Melissa Lockard of Oakland Clubhouse blog, RHP Matt Buschmann has been traded to the Tampa Bay Rays for cash considerations. Buschmann previously pitched two seasons in the Rays organization before joining Oakland in 2014. Buschmann offers the Rays extra pitching depth at Triple-A Durham.
- Monday! Monday! Monday! We hope to see all of you at our Opening Day pre-game party at Green Bench Brewing Company.