*Probably the only time I'll type those words this season.
It took nearly four hours, but the Tampa Bay Rays held on to beat the Minnesota Twins in 10 innings this afternoon. The Rays were ahead almost the entire game, but Jim Patterson (...who?) allowed five runs in the bottom of the ninth to allow the Twins to tie it. Leslie Anderson and Mark Thomas drove in three runs in the top of the 10th, though, and the Rays won the game by a final score of 10-7.
I don't have too much to share about today's game, as it wasn't televised and I was only able to listen to the first half of the game. But I'll see what I can do...
- Chris Archer started the game off throwing heat. His fastball was averaging around 95-97 MPH, and the Rays radio team kept calling it "easy heat". Pitchers generally start off the season slower than their average speed, as their arm isn't at full strength yet, but that obviously wasn't an issue for Archer in his first appearance of the spring. He mainly threw fastballs -- maybe mixed in a few sliders -- but he was primarily working on getting his fastball over.
As far as his command...well, that was far from perfect. He worked a number of deep counts, walked one hitter, and bounced a few pitches, but he did get two groundball outs (so that's a plus). Joe Maddon later said that he liked what he saw from Archer and Odorizzi in today's game, and that it's obvious that Archer really wants to break camp with the team.
- Jake Odorizzi wasn't as impressive in his one inning of work, walking one and getting no strikeouts, and two of his outs were recorded on fly balls. Maddon later said that Odorizzi is a true pitcher, constantly mixing speeds and changing locations.
- Judging by the boxscore, Juan Sandoval had a bit of a rough game, allowing two hits and one run in his one inning of work. It wasn't a great debut, but listening to the action, I thought Sandoval performed better than his line makes it look. He allowed a lead-off double to Pedro Florimon, but it was described as a weak fly that Florimon blooped the opposite way off a tough pitch from Sandoval. Sandoval then got a groundout and allowed a hard double to Jamey Carroll, bringing up Joe Mauer and Josh Willingham with a runner in scoring position and only one out. This is when I was really impressed by Sandoval, as he got Mauer to fly out and struck out Willingham on some good pitches.
- I missed the last half of Torres's inning of work, but he was brought in to face three lefties, and he struck out one and allowed a double. His command also wasn't the best. It's early in the spring, so we can give him a pass for now, but considering his ongoing command struggles, it's something to note.
- Steven Vogt had a double and a single in today's game, and the radio crew couldn't stop talking about him. His road to the majors seems even more difficult this year, but they seem to badly want him to get another shot at getting his first major league hit.
- Wil Myers entered the game late, and had one hit in three plate appearances -- a double, his first hit with the Rays! He also had a sacrifice fly and struck out twice.
- Tim Beckham was hitless in three at bats, and the only other notable thing about his day was that he handled a tough grounder in the first inning quite easily. Backspin, tough hop, that sort of thing. Or at least, that's what the radio team said.
- Leslie Anderson was 2-3 with three runs driven in -- which included a go-ahead, run-scoring single in the 10th inning -- continuing his strong offensive performance from Saturday. Go figure, that's what I get for making snarky remarks about him yesterday. And Mark Thomas provided some insurance in the 10th inning, following up Anderson's single with a two-run home run to seal the deal.