Monday, March 17, 2008

The Morning After: Rays Beat Tigers

Rays 7 (12-3-1), Tigers 2

It was a nice weekend for out of town Rays fans. Both of the Saturday split squad games were on gameday audio. WHNZ had a broadcast team at both of the Saturday games and switched back and forth between games depending on the action. It was a good idea that was also executed well. One highlight was Silverman and Friedman stopping by the booth. Yesterday's game against the Tigers was also on gameday audio.

It is just two weeks until the Rays season starts in Baltimore. The Rays don't play any games tomorrow. It will be their first day without a game since the grapefruit season commenced.


  • Shields went 4 and 2/3 and gave up no runs. He allowed a number of base runners, but was able to get out of it all unscathed.
  • Sonny pitched the final three innings of the game and gave up only one run (his first of the spring). He had five strikeouts in three innings. His strikeout rate is amazing for someone with such mediocre velocity. I am excited to see him pitch this season.
  • Defilice continued his hot spring going 2 for 3 with a double. His is definitely making the most of his chance with Riggans out for the moment. He is batting .455.
  • The Rays continued their aggressive base running. Gomes stole his second base of the spring and Upton stole his third.
  • The Rays won. Again. What an enjoyable spring this has been.


  • Percy gave up his first hit and run of the season. He went one inning and gave up one.


Other than Edwin Jackson, the Rays starting pitching candidates have had phenomenal springs. Shields and Sonny continued the trend. Below are the ERAs, WHIPs, and IPs of the five (Kazmir of course has not pitched yet) major candidates for the starting rotation.

  1. Shields -- 14.2 IP, 1.84 ERA, 1.23 WHIP
  2. Jackson -- 11.0 IP, 7.36 ERA, 1.45 WHIP
  3. Garza -- 9.1 IP, 1.93 ERA, 1.39 WHIP
  4. Sonny -- 9.0 IP, 1.00 ERA, .56 WHIP
  5. Niemann -- 8.0, 1.13 ERA, 1.25 WHIP
Every candidate except Jackson has an ERA less than 2. I know it is just spring training and that this is a very small sample size, but it is, nonetheless, very encouraging. True to form, Jackson has looked good it all but two innings, where he got absolutely rocked resulting in his high ERA. Right now I would try Jackson in the bullpen and move Neimann into the starting rotation. Some have suggested that Jackson should be traded, but I doubt the market will be very good. Moving him to the bullpen seems like a reasonable action. If one of the starters struggles or gets injured he would be the first guy to take over. I doubt the Rays will handle it this way, but thats my opinion of what should be done. It is likely though that the Rays will give Jackson a chance to prove himself during the first quarter or half of the season. If he stinks the joint up then Niemann will be called up from Durham. If Kazmir starts the season on the DL, then maybe both of them will get a shot to start the season in the rotation. However, it is possible that they will just have a long reliever (i.e. Howell) fill in for Kazmir until he returns.


No comments: