Joyce, Rodriguez Help Rays Beat Orioles 6-5 in Spring Training Thriller

...or at least as much of a thriller as you can have in Spring Training.  I have to say, though, after a winter of waiting and endless speculation, it's a great feeling to watch (and when I say watch, I mean follow The Rays Tank's updates on Twitter) two upcoming prospects have a big day.  Matt Joyce and Sean Rodriguez figure to play big parts on the Rays this year and if they put up too many more games like the one today, I'm going to start getting giddy.  Well, I'm giddy right now, but I mean more as a permanent thing.

So anyway, here are the highs and lows of the game today.  Again, the typical Spring Training disclaimer holds: trust the statistics and results about as much as you did Percival on the mound last season.

  • First of all, the stars of the day: S-Rod and Joyce.  Sean Rodriguez went 1-1 with a walk and a 2-run home run hit off of Matusz.  The O's claimed the wind was blowing out strong again (and Felix Pie hit a home run as well, so take it for what it is), but that's still two home runs in two games for Rodriguez.  Matt Joyce went 1-2 with a walk and a stolen base.  His lone hit was the game-winning single in the ninth inning.  Oh heart, be still...
  • Other offensive highlights: Longoria and Burrell both doubled, with Longoria also having an epic at-bat against Matusz in the first inning (something like 13 pitches before striking out).  Oh, and our favorite Spring Training middle-infielder, Elliot Johnson, had a triple.
  •  On the pitching side, Niemann pitched two solid innings, only allowing one hit (a lead-off home run to Felix Pie) and one run.  He didn't strikeout anyone, but he also didn't let up a walk and had a 4:1 groundball/flyball ratio.
  • Jake McGee got in the game today and looked good.  I don't have velocity information at my fingers, but he pitched a scoreless inning and struck out two.
  • Balfour seemed a bit rusty (three hits and one run in one inning), but he didn't walk anyone at least.  Cormier pitched two innings, walked one, and struck out three.  Not too shabby.

In slightly unrelated news, I found a great quote from Pena today.  Apparently trying to encourage all the non-roster invitees out there, Pena offered up some sage advice:

"You have to bring up your super-human mental powers and pretty much everything else doesn't exist. That would be my advice to anybody coming in as a non-roster invitee -- making your own world. Getting on your own little planet where basically nothing else matters and believe exactly what you want to believe."

....I don't really know what to say to that.

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