After dropping the first four Grapefruit League games of the 2019 season, the Tampa Bay Rays have bounced back and are on a four-game win streak, including yet another shellacking of the Baltimore Orioles, 10-5 on Friday. Charlie Morton made his Rays debut, tossing 1-1/3 perfect innings.
The right-hander threw 11 of 17 pitches for strikes and struck one of the four batters he faced. Morton sat in the 93-95 mph range on his four-seam fastball. He also threw a couple of two-seam fastballs (clocked at 91 mph), not to mention a couple of breaking balls. His lone strikeout came on a high 95 mph fastball.
He threw several more pitches in the bullpen after his outing, telling reporters the plan was to finish the first frame and be efficient enough to face a batter in the second.
We accomplished our goals. I went down and threw a couple more in the bullpen just to get a couple more, and felt good. I got what I needed to out of the day.– Charlie Morton
At the moment, it isn’t certain when Morton will pitch again because of an off-day on Monday. If he doesn’t take the mound Wednesday, again versus Baltimore, then Morton will likely pitch Thursday against Toronto.
It’s always nice to cross the lines. Go out there, compete and do what you love to do. And also, go out there with the guys, finally.– Charlie Morton
You can hear the entirety of Morton’s interview courtesy of the Rays Radio SoundCloud player (below).
Meanwhile, Tampa Bay made it difficult for former teammate Alex Cobb, who allowed four runs and could not make it out of the first inning. Austin Meadows started the rally with a four-pitch walk before Daniel Roberton lined a single to right center. Ji-Man Choi followed with an RBI single to right, plating the first run of the game.
Two batters later Kevin Kiermaier drove home a run on a groundout before Guillermo Heredia capped the rally with a two-run blast to left field that landed well beyond the bleachers.
He’s an exciting player. He goes and gets it and when they’re both out there, (Kevin Kiermaier) and Heredia, it’s going to be tough to find grass with the baseball.– Kevin Cash
Meadows later took Matt Wotherspoon deep in the fourth inning, while Daniel Robertson went 3-for-3 with a pair of runs scored on Friday.
Yonny Chirinos, Hunter Wood, Adam Kolarek, Luis Santos, Cole Sulser, and Andrew Kittredge also pitched for Tampa Bay. Kittredge tossed two innings of shutout ball, picking up a strikeout along the way.
The New What Next
The Rays will play a pair of split-squad games on Saturday. They will play host to the Phillies in Port Charlotte – and no, Bryce Harper is not expected to play – with Tyler Glasnow scheduled to make his second start of the Grapefruit League season. Diego Castillo is set to pitch for the third time this Spring. Tommy Pham, Joey Wendle, Avisail Garcia, Robertson, Yandy Diaz, Emilio Bonifacio, Michael Perez, and Andrew Velasquez are scheduled to be in the lineup in Port Charlotte.
In the other game, the travel squad will make its way north to Dunedin to take on former Rays bench coach Charlie Montoyo and the Blue Jays. Wilmer Font will get the start in his first appearance since a lat injury ended his season last June. Emilio Pagan and Austin Pruitt also are due to be on the mound. Brandon Lowe, Willy Adames, Austin Meadows, Nate Lowe, Heredia, Kean Wong, Jason Coats, and Nick Ciuffo are scheduled to be in the Rays’ lineup in Dunedin.
Rays 3/2/19 Starting Lineup (vs. the Phillies)
- Diaz 1B
- Pham LF
- Wendle 2B
- Garcia RF
- Robertson DH
- Bonifacio CF
- Arroyo 3B
- Perez C
- Velasquez SS
- Glasnow RHP
Rays 3/2/19 Starting Lineup (vs. the Blue Jays)
- B. Lowe 1B
- Adames SS
- Meadows RF
- N. Lowe DH
- Heredia CF
- Wong 3B
- Solak 2B
- Coats LF
- Ciuffo C
- Font RHP
– Matt Duffy has been scratched from the Rays lineup in Port Charlotte; his left hamstring is not feeling right again.