The Rays Tank: Hernandez’s last start, roster seemingly set

J. Meric

The Rays lost to the Phillies 10-1 in an inconsistent start from Roberto Hernandez, and with a final cut, the Opening Day roster took form.

Roberto Hernandez's final bid for the fifth spot in the rotation wasn't his best outing in the Rays 10-1 loss to the Phillies, as he pitched six innings and gave up 11 hits, nine runs and one walk. He started off strong with four innings of one hit baseball on only 35 pitches, but things fell apart in the fifth and sixth with 10 hits, one walk, and an additional 51 pitches.

Despite his line, Hernandez said that he "felt fine and didn't know why the results were so dramatically different" and Joe Maddon didn't appear displeased:

"There was a lot of balls on the ground, I thought the ball looked alive from the side and he was really pitch efficient, which is important," Maddon said. "With our regular season defense in the right spot it could be good. So I was not discouraged at all."

The Rays only managed three hits on the day, and have lost six of their last seven games. Maybe they're just saving their wins for next week?

The Blue Jays travel down to Port Charlotte today to take on the Rays at 1:05 p.m. ET, in Jeff Niemann's final audition for the last spot in the rotation. Sam Fuld is expected to be in the lineup after some struggles with hamstring tightness and Fernando Rodney will make his first appearance post the WBC.

***

After a solid spring with a 1.74 ERA in 10.1 innings, giving up only five hits and two runs with 11 strikeouts and zero walks, Brandon Gomes was optioned to Triple-A Durham prior to the game Tuesday. Maddon said that he will be a "big part of what we're going to do this year - and in the future" but Jamey Wright received the final bullpen spot instead.

With this move, and the fifth starter announcement occurring after today's game, the Rays' Opening Day roster seems to be set.

Starting rotation: David Price, Jeremy Hellickson, Matt Moore, Alex Cobb, Jeff Niemann/Roberto Hernandez

Infielders: Evan Longoria, Yunel Escobar, Ryan Roberts, Kelly Johnson, Sean Rodriguez, James Loney

Outfielders: Sam Fuld, Desmond Jennings, Ben Zobrist, Matt Joyce

DH: Luke Scott

Catchers: Jose Molina, Jose Lobaton

Bullpen: Fernando Rodney, Joel Peralta, Jake McGee, Cesar Ramos, Kyle Farnsworth, Jamey Wright, Jeff Niemann/Roberto Hernandez

Around the League:

Sports Illustrated released their 2013 predictions on Tuesday, with three writers picking the Rays and the Nationals to meet in the World Series; but all three have the Rays losing. An additional writer has the Rays meeting the Dodgers and winning, while all seven writers chose either the Blue Jays or the Rays to win the AL East. Five of the SI writers picked OF Wil Myers to be rookie of the year, and two chose Evan Longoria for AL MVP.

After a rough second half to last season, and an unpredictable spring, the Blue Jays demoted former All-Star Ricky Romero to Class A Dunedin.

Derek Jeter will begin the season on the DL.

Links:

- The Rays have survived sans some hamstring issues, but other teams haven't been as lucky with injuries this spring.

- "The game belongs to pitching and youth."

- Nine teams have won the World Series in the last 12 years, and 26 teams have made the playoffs in the last 10 years. It's anyone's game.

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