After putting together an abysmal, MLB worst, 1-5-1 Spring Training record — as if that kind of stuff really matters — the Tampa Bay Rays notched a pair of big wins, including a high scoring 10-3 routing of the Toronto Blue Jays, Thursday afternoon. Steven Souza and Logan Forsythe came up big Friday afternoon, while the pitching staff racked up an impressive 14 strikeouts.
Alex Cobb got the start Thursday afternoon and put together a 2-1/3 inning, 47 pitch (30 strikes, 64% K/BB) outing. The Rays ace looked sharp in the first inning and needed only 15 total pitches to get through the frame, notching a pair of strikeouts along the way. Yet things began to fall apart for Cobb in the second inning after allowing a run to score on three hits, and following with two more runs in the third on a walk and two hits, giving the Blue Jays a three run lead. Cobb was pulled from the game with one out in the third.
In an interview with Bill Chastain (MLB.com) following his outing, it became clear that Cobb viewed this start as a growth moment,
You can either hang your head and walk out the door and be upset about it. Or you can find some positives out of it and try to use that to make yourself better and grow for the season. By no means am I doubting myself. There was some good stuff that happened that I can learn from.
Thanks to our friends at DRaysBay, we have video of Alex Cobb’s post-outing presser:
This kind of outing is bound to happen in Spring Training, and it is better that it occurs now as opposed to the ensuing five months of the baseball season.
Mark Buerhle, who got the start for Toronot was, well… Mark Buerhle, and he stifled the Rays over the course of his 3-1/3 innings of work (per usual), scattering only two hits while striking out a pair of batters.
Despite being down by three runs, the Rays offense came alive in the fifth inning, thanks in part to Souza and Forsythe.
Souza put Tampa Bay on the board after he launched a deep solo-shot to left field, on a hanging breaking pitch that Marco Estrada left over the plate. Catcher Rene Rivera followed suit with an extra base hit of his own, crushing a double to the corner that one hopped the wall. With a runner on second and only one out, Tim Beckham joined in on the fun, driving in Rivera from second and putting the Rays behind by a run. Tampa Bay, however, was far from done.
Beckham made to third on a Desmond Jennings base hit, putting runners on the corners. And while David DeJesus popped into an unproductive out, Jennings took it upon himself to get into scoring position by swiping second with Nick Franklin at the plate. Franklin responded in kind, dribbling an infield hit that allowed Beckham to score from third and Jennings to advance 90 feet. Allan Dykstra sounded the death knell for Estrada by uncorking a massive RBI double off the top of the wall in right, giving the Rays a 6-3 advantage. Finally, with Matt West on the hill, Forsythe capped off the eight run, eight hit inning with a two-run blast to left center.
In the meantime, the Rays pitchers shut down the Jays following Cobb’s 2-1/3 innings of work. CJ Riefenhauser, Brandon Gomes, Ernesto Frieri, Kevin Jepsen, Jordan Norberto, and Kirby Yates worked around six base runners (two hits, four walks) in their combined 6-2/3 innings of work. Moreover, the aforementioned six pitchers rang up 10 batters for a grand total of 14 strikeouts. Jepsen and Frieri were particularly impressive, with the duo combining to strikeout four — all swinging.
The duo will be particularly important to the Rays in April while Jake McGee continues to mend from arthroscopic surgery on his elbow.
Franklin singled in another run in the eighth inning on a grounder through the right side; Corey Brown also came around to score on Chris Colabello’s fielding error on the same play, giving the Rays a mighty seven run advantage.
The New What Next
Chris Archer will make his third start of the spring against Joely Rodriguez and the Phillies in Clearwater, Friday afternoon. Of note, Archer has been working on his change-up and a quicker delivery to the plate with runners aboard. Also scheduled to pitch are Jim Miller, Mike Montgomery, Everett Teaford and Grayson Garvin.
Rays 3/13/15 Starting Lineup
Souza Jr. RF
- Tampa Bay made the first roster moves of the spring, reassigning top prospect Daniel Robertson and Boog Powell to minor-league camp. The Rays skipper was reportedly impressed with what they did and how they did it, telling Marc Topkin (Tampa Bay Times),
I don’t know much you value first impressions, but they couldn’t have any better for both of those guys. Makeup was great, they really communicated well with the coaching staff, asked good questions. And when they got their opportunities they made the most of them for the most part. I don’t think it could have gone any better for those two guys, and for us as an organization, to look at like, wow, we got two really good players.
- The Rays brass feel confident in their decision to hire Cash, so much so that they reportedly inked “an almost unprecedented five-year deal” with Joe Maddon’s predecessor — not bad for a first time manager with no managerial experience. According to Jon Heyman (CBS Sports), Matt Silverman expressed great faith in the former big-league catcher,
Rays general manager Matt Silverman declined comment on Cash’s deal. But he expressed great faith in the former big-league catcher, who is the youngest manager in baseball at 37 with a thin resume after his playing career, understandable since it didn’t end until this decade.
Silverman provided a glimpse on why the team is so high on Cash,
Kevin is a great communicator. He has a keen baseball mind. He’s the kind of guy who can be on the forefront of the changes in the game for years to come.
Cash coincidentally discussed how fortunate he and Matt Silverman are to take over a franchise with MLB Radio: