The Tampa Bay Rays walked away with their 11th win of the spring Thursday, edging out the New York Yankees by a score of 6-5. The game had everything one could ever want in a game: solo homers by Evan Longoria and Desmond Jennings, quality base running by Kevin Kiermaier, timely hitting but the likes of Asdrubal Cabrera and Brandon Guyer, and so much bullpen action that the only reasonable question left in the wake should be, “How much bullpen can you take?”
Bask in the glory of video highlights:
Evan Longoria put the Rays on the board in the second inning on a blast to left center — his second of the spring. Note the backspin…oh, so much backspin:
Down by one in the fifth inning, Asdrubal Cabrera hit an opposite field double to the left-center wall, driving in a run in the process:
In the sixth inning, Desmond Jennings gave the Rays a 4-3 lead when he drove a thigh high fastball on the inside third of the plate to left field:
Also in the sixth inning, Kevin Kiermaier singled to left and followed with a steal of second base then third, and subsequently scored on a wild pitch:
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred made his way into the booth and had a lively conversation about the pace of play (among other things) with TK and BA. More on Manfred in a moment:
In off the field action, Rays manager Kevin Cash tapped Chris Archer as the Opening Day starter. Archer downplayed the move,
For me, nothing changes. It doesn’t change anything that we discussed whenever we talked about me pitching April 7. I specifically said my mindset is going to remain the same because I knew that anything could happen. …Maybe that’s why I wouldn’t treat it differently. Because it’s just a baseball game. It’s the first one of the year, but the first one’s no more or less important than the last one.
Cash elaborated with Bill Chastain (MLB.com) the reasons why Archer was his obvious choice,
His year [last season], the effort, the work he’s put in. You don’t want to take anything away from Cobb. It was his. He’d earned that. But we’re extremely comfortable with having that guy now be Arch. …He really cares. He cares about what he’s doing, and he cares about the people around him, too. We had lunch and we didn’t talk about him at all. We talked about his teammates and some different things he brought up over the course of his couple of years here. Impressions he’s seen and stuff like that. He’s got a very team-first approach.
In other roster moves, Cash whittled the spring roster to 44 by reassigning pitchers Ronald Belisario, Andrew Bellatti and Bryce Stowell, and infielder Eugenio Velez. More moves are expected Friday, so the team can start placing players on the disabled list which would allow for other players to be recalled.
The New What Next
Everett Teaford will get the start against the Orioles Friday afternoon. The LHP remains in the hunt to land a spot in the Rays starting rotation. Mike Montgomery, who is also a contender for a rotation spot, is expected to see action as well. .
Rays 3/27/15 Starting Lineup
- Make that seven relievers and 13 strikeouts on the day. Jordan Norberto and Ernesto Frieri combined for eight of those strikeouts.
- I noted previously, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred spoke with the team about the stadium situation (among other things) between the City of St. Petersburg and the Tampa Bay Rays. Manfred also participated in an interview with WDAE Thursday morning, however, he didn’t really say anything new or enlightening as it relates to the stadium saga. You can hear the 16 minute interview in its entirety below. On a related side note, Noah Pransky (Shadow of the Stadium blog) gave Manfred credit for his transparency in admitting Bud Selig’s Boogeymen are quite the asset in threatening local governments into offering stadium subsidies:
Asked in general about the other viable markets seeking a team, Manfred said, “obviously having a market that wants baseball, that could support a team, provides leverage to a team that’s trying to get something done somewhere.”
- Another related side note, the ever inimitable Pransky wrote a great piece titled Lesson No. 1 of Stadium Negotiations: Don’t Set Deadlines for Yourself. Pransky’s article can best be summed up in two of his paragraphs:
Kriseman wouldn’t have to make a last-ditch effort before anything if he hadn’t set a (second) arbitrary deadline of Opening Day in the first place.
I’ve previously written how the mayor’s self-imposed deadlines only serve to reduce his negotiating power with the Rays. There’s nothing to gain; deadlines could only make him – not the Rays – look bad if they’re missed. In fact, it may have led to the unpopular deal the mayor couldn’t get through city council in December (ahead of his first self-imposed deadline, Dec 31).
We’ll see what happens when Mayor Kriseman introduces his new memorandum of understanding to the city council today.