I was able to make it out to Bright House Networks Field in Clearwater after my school day concluded, and got to witness the second half of the game after arriving at about two.
I walked in during a four run fifth for the Rays, and they pretty much were in control for the entire time. The Phillies made it close, plating three in the bottom half of the sixth, but the Rays added one more in the eighth and Chris Mason SHUT THEM DOWN over the final two frames to preserve a 5-3 Rays win. The team takes on the Pirates in Bradenton tomorrow, for more information on the Instructional League, please see this post.
P Ryan Reid-I do not know who started for the Rays, it very well may have been Reid, but I came late so I cannot confirm this. Anyways, Reid looked fairly good in the first inning of work I saw him in, which was the bottom of the fifth. He got a couple strikeouts and set the Phillies down in order, but the floor fell through in the next frame when he allowed too many baserunners. The Phillies scored their only three runs of the game off of a RBI single and a two run shot to left field.
P Aneudi Cuevas-This was my first time watching Cuevas in action as a pitcher. After he switched this spring, I was looking forward to seeing what he had that made the team so confident in a switch. Without knowing his exact velocity, he appeared quite good, pitching a scoreless frame and giving up only one base hit. He got several big swings and misses from the Phillies, and overall looked to be quite good.
P Chris Mason-Mason I was most impressed with. After a disappointing conclusion to an otherwise decent year in Visalia, in which he posted an 8.44 ERA in July and August, I was wondering what he had in the tank with him as he was brought on in the eighth. All he did was retire the six Phillies he faced in order over the final two frames, working rather quickly and effectively, while the Phillies hitters just looked overmatched. I was very impressed with his outing.
C John Jaso-Nothing stuck out about Jaso to me, he wasn't really impressive. I cannot recall him getting a hit, and he didn't stick out at catcher.
SS Reid Brignac-So I get to the ballpark after a half an hour bike ride from home, right, and I am absolutely roasting in the hot sun, so I walk into the stadium, pick a seat, and am delighted to find Brignac on deck, ready to bat in the middle of a four run inning. Well two batters ahead, J.T. Hall is singled home for the fourth run, and with Brignac on deck, all the next hitter had to do was reach base, and I could see Brignac bat, which I very much looked forward to. Of course that batter records an out, and Briggy is replaced in the order the next inning by...Neil Walton. Thanks.
1B/3B Henry Wrigley-I only mention Wrigley because I was very impressed with his raw power from what I saw in Instructs last year, and wondered what I would see after he got his first gameplay action this year. So of course, he fails to reach base. You're not able to garner much from a couple ABs, but I was looking forward to feeling better about someone I considered a possible sleeper. Alas, I had to settle for the comfort of watching him play the hot corner well in a defensive switch.
OF Andrew Lopez-Lopez was pretty good in the two times I saw him hitting and on the basepaths. He was leading off of first base when I came into the ballpark, and had a hit later on. He also looked very good playing the outfield with the bright sun in his eye during the course of the game. Overall, I say a nice day.
OF John Matulia-I saw him bat once, I saw him sit down once. Matulia has been very unimpressive outside of Princeton, and although I grant you that one AB is not an optimal sample size to make judgements, this project is looking like it might go the way of Jason Pridie.
OF Sergio Pedroza-I unfortunately did not see Pedroza bat, but I curiously observed him donning the equipment of a catcher while helping to warm up Reid before the sixth. I had not known of anything in Pedroza's past where he was a catcher, and although he saw no action in actual game play, I was intrigued by his work behind the plate during warm-ups, during which seemed very polished.
Miscellaneous-Other players who saw time included C Tomas Francisco, IF Matt Fields, Diogenes Luis, Shawn O'Malley, Neil Walton, J.T. Hall, Desmond Jennings, and Ryan Royster...I did not get a close look at the two-man umpiring crew, to see if they were the odd choice that also occurred last year, when the league brought in umpires from the Midwest League...Among the coaches included Matt Quatraro, Dick Bosman, Skeeter Barnes, Steve Livesey, and R.C. Lichtenstein (yes, R.C. as in the cola, and Liechtenstein as in the country).
I will begin a comprehensive season in review series tomorrow which will take a look over the next month at the Rays, the minor league system, and major league baseball as a whole. And I can assure you, there will be no Awards Shows.