Spring Training games are odd to write about. Half the time there are only a handful of noteworthy players in a game, and they exit after only a couple innings of play. Even when there are plenty of major league players in the game, the results still shouldn't be viewed as indicative of how the season will unfold. Players are simply trying to get their work in: fine-tuning their mechanics, fiddling with a new pitch, and generally trying to get their game back in top form. And since many of these games aren't televised, we don't even have the benefit of a visual to help us see how players looked.
That said, we're all starved for baseball. While we shouldn't draw many conclusions about what happens in Spring Training games, we can at least enjoy the games and debate about how meaningful certain performances are. And so without further ado, here are a couple bullet points from yesterday's game:
- James Shields was the starter and while he pitched an efficient inning (
7 pitches, 5 strikes17 pitches, Gameday lies), he did let up a homerun to Andrew McCutchen. My first thought on this? Well, at least McCutchen is actually a major leaguer and a pretty good player at that. My second thought? Oh, Yields. /facepalm.
- The Rays' bullpen really exploded this game, letting up 9 runs in innings four through eight. As many people are expecting the Rays' bullpen to be a disaster this year, I find this somewhat humorous. Yes, our bullpen was a disaster yesterday, but the culprits were all players that should never see the light of day at the majors anyway: Chris Bootcheck, Jonah Bayliss, Brian Baker, and Richard De Los Santos. They'll all likely be contingency plans, waiting in the minors in case of injuries; if they ever end up in the Rays bullpen this season, we've got bigger issues on our hands. But still...run everyone! It's the bullpen of death!
- Desmond Jennings has flashed some great plate discipline so far this spring. In Saturday's game, he went 0-0 with 2 walks, and then yesterday he went 0-2 but walked once and stole a base. Of course, stealing a base of Ryan Doumit isn't exactly a sign of blazing speed, but that's pretty fun regardless.
- Casey Kotchman and Felipe Lopez both had two hits yesterday, solidifying their spots on our Opening Day roster. Heck, Lopez played third base yesterday....better watch out, Longo!
- Robinson Chirinos is a beast. After going 2-3 with a double and 4 RBIs on Saturday, Chirinos got two plate appearances yesterday and made the most of them, hitting a homerun and drawing a walk. I can't imagine there's a way he makes the team instead of Shoppach - not unless Shopp gets traded - but I would really like to see Chirinos play with the Rays sometime this season.
The Rays' next game is today at 1:05 PM, so we'll be sure to have a game day thread and some in-game notes from people who aren't at work and can actually follow the game.