Ryan Yarbrough was efficient in his final tuneup before the start of the regular season, as the Tampa Bay Rays put it to Atlanta on Sunday, 16-5. The Rays also made another roster cut as the clock ticks down to Opening Day, on Thursday.
Yarbrough threw 45 of 60 pitches for strikes (75% strike rate), while allowing four hits, and striking out four. Yarbrough was so efficient that he threw 10 more pitches in the bullpen after he was pulled from the game in the sixth.
It was kind of exactly how you want to go into the season. Especially because it was the same team twice, so they kind of got me a little bit last time. So I was able to kind of fix some things and basically see for the most part the same lineup as last time and make those adjustments.— Ryan Yarbrough
The most entertaining part of Yarbrough’s outing came two outs into the third inning when the King of Weak Contact had to face former teammate Charlie Morton.
I was just cheesing. It was just one of those moments where you understand he’s like, ‘All right, let’s just get this over with’ kind of thing.— Ryan Yarbrough
Morton fouled off a couple of two-strike pitches, before flying out to right.
At that point, you’re just trying to throw him something where he can just (hit) like a fly ball or something like he did and just get it over with because those are not like fun for either guy, I feel like.— Ryan Yarbrough
Both Yarbrough and Kevin Cash thought his cutter was much improved, especially over his last outing when he also faced Atlanta.
He looked good, I thought the stuff kind of came together. I thought much crisper, he had a good feel for the breaking ball today. So very pleased, him getting that sixth up.— Kevin Cash
Meanwhile, Chaz Roe worked a scoreless frame, Ryan Sherriff walked two while recording one out, and Louis Head finished the contest by getting two outs in the ninth.
In his second game since returning to Spring Training following the birth of his second son, Kevin Kiermaier doubled to right and hit a no-doubter — also to right — off Huascar Ynoa in the fourth inning.
Prior to the start of the game, Tampa Bay appeared to have set the Opening Day roster, optioning pitchers Josh Fleming, Trevor Richards, and Chris Mazza to minor league camp. The Rays now have 28 players on the roster, since Ji-Man Choi and Brett Phillips have not yet been placed on the Injured List.
Manager Kevin Cash said that barring an unexpected injury, the roster has been determined.
I think so. That’s fair. You don’t ever know the roster (is set) until we take the field but yes, I think that’s fair.— Kevin Cash
Per Neil Solondz (Rays Radio), with three games, then a day off, followed by three more games, and then another day off, the Rays went with more short relievers than bulk pitchers. Other than for injury, rosters are frozen for the first ten days but can change after that.
With the off days early on, you’re hoping that we’re not getting in a bind with the shorter relievers. Although whether it’s Sherriff, Springs Kittredge, Thompson, (McHugh), or Reed they can all go multiple innings. … We go six games, two off days, and then play 30 of 31. We’re going to need all the pitching all hands on deck and I think they recognize that and really appreciate their efforts and just how much of pros all three of them were in difficult conversations.— Kevin Cash
While it would appear somewhat surprising that the left-handed Fleming did not make the Opening Day roster, he will likely be the number one option should a hurler go down, or if the Rays opt for a six-man rotation.
Pitchers: Chris Archer, Diego Castillo, Pete Fairbanks, Tyler Glasnow, Rich Hill, Andrew Kittredge, Collin McHugh, Cody Reed, Chaz Roe, Ryan Sherriff, Jeffrey Springs, Ryan Thompson, Michael Wacha, Ryan Yarbrough.
Catchers: Francisco Mejia, Mike Zunino
Infielders: Willy Adames, Mike Brosseau, Yandy Diaz, Brandon Lowe, Yoshi Tsutsugo, Joey Wendle
Outfielders: Randy Arozarena, Kevin Kiermaier, Manuel Margot, Austin Meadows
The New What Next
Rich Hill will get the start for Tampa Bay when the Rays face the Orioles in the penultimate game of the Grapefruit League season. Collin McHugh and left-handers Sherriff and Brian Moran are also expected to pitch. The team will also hold an intrasquad game on Monday in Port Charlotte. Chris Archer, Roe, and Richards are scheduled to pitch in that game.
Rays 3/29/21 Starting Lineup
- Tsutsugo DH
- Arozarena RF
- Meadows LF
- Diaz 3B
- Mejia C
- Wendle 2B
- Adames SS
- Kiermaier CF
- Brosseau 1B
- Hill LHP
— After learning he made the Opening Day roster, southpaw Jeffrey Springs gave up three runs while recording five outs.
It was a good day other than the outing. There’s some small things to take away from that. But this is a good day overall, for sure.— Jeffrey Springs