The Rays fell 3-2 yesterday to the Twins, dropping their spring record to 0-4. In the grand scheme of things it's not a big deal because, hey, it's spring. Lots of the guys playing won't make the big league roster this year. Then you're hit with the fact that at 0-4 it's their worst spring start ever. Let me repeat that; Ever. This is a franchise that didn't have a winning season the first 10 years of it's existence. The terrible players, both of the minor and major league variety, managed to scrape together a better start.
The poor start isn't indicative of future performance. We saw last year's team start the regular season 0-6 and make the playoffs. Stuff happens. It would be nice to get a win, though.
Yesterday's game wasn't particularly impressive on the offensive or defensive fronts. The team racked up eight hits, which is good, but managed only one extra base hit, which is bad. Jeff Niemann and Sean Rodriguez each made throwing errors, the latter of which lead directly to runs being scored. The throwing error aside, Niemann pitched well in his two innings, striking out a batter and inducing two ground ball outs tot he left side to end the second.
The highlight of the day was the return of Carlos Pena. Even if he has a down year it's still great to see that big ass smile in a Rays uniform once again. The crowd in Port Charlotte seemed to agree as he received a pretty nice ovation before his first at bat (he would finish 0-2).
Rays 3B Evan Longoria said he took more dry swings today to test his bruised right hand but is resigned to needing at least a few more days before getting into games.
"It's slowly going in the right direction,'' he said. "I'm as impatient as everybody. My tendency is to push it, but I think right now the smart decision is to just let it run its course. All it is is swelling, getting the swelling out of there.''
- As was mentioned yesterday, Fangraphs is rolling out their positional power rankings for the 2012 season. Yesterday was catcher, where the Rays came in 27th. Today gave us first base, second base and shortstop. The result for first base (13th) was respectable. As expected, the team excelled at second base, placing third behind Texas and Boston on the strength of Ben Zobrist and Jeff Keppinger. As you may have guessed the results for shortstop weren't as rosy as the team came in 25th, beating only the National, Brewers, Braves, Giants and Pirates.
- The post game entertainment on June 17th will be ZZ Top, 3 Doors Down and Gretchen Wilson. To my knowledge this is the first three act concert the team has put on as a part of it's concert series. If that's your thing it seems like a good time.
- Over at BaseballNation Grant Brisbee gave his 2012 Rays season preview in the same hilarious way he does everything else.