Last night could have very well been the deciding factor for the Rays fifth rotation spot as Tampa Bay defeated the Twins 5-4 to improve to a league best, 14-4-2 for the spring. Pitching for the Rays were Cesar Ramos and Jake Odorizzi, who are competing against Erik Bedard for the opening in the rotation.
Jake Odorizzi finished the game for the Rays, but not before allowing four runs to score (three earned), and giving up six hits and a walk. This raised his spring ERA to a 3.75 for his four appearances. Not his best appearance, but the Rays would know how to look past that. It was also Odorizzi's second save of the Spring.
The praise would belong to Cesar Ramos, however, who started the game for the Rays, throwing 4.2 innings, while walking one and striking out six, allowing only four hits. He lowered his spring ERA to a 2.63 for his four appearances. Joe Maddon told the media after the game that tonight was the best he’d ever seen Cesar Ramos pitch.
#Rays Maddon said it was the best he's ever seen Ramos pitch. Good command. Good composure.— RMooneyTBO (@RMooneyTBO) March 21, 2014
#Rays Odorizzi says he feels good about case he made for 5th starter's job, didn't do anything wrong, will be disappointed if not picked— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) March 21, 2014
The decision is definitely not final yet, as Odorizzi remained on the roster after the game. Brad Boxberger was one of eight who were sent down following last night’s game.
Spring roster trimmed by 8, down to 34: Boxberger, Christian, Figueroa, Geltz, Liberatore, Sandoval, Sands, Solis.— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) March 21, 2014
Boxberger's option to the minors leaves Brandon Gomes (who has an option remaining himself) and Mark Lowe (on a minor league deal with an opt out) as the main competition for Ramos's bullpen slot, should he be moved to the rotation. There might even be room for both pitchers, as Danny discussed earlier this week.
The remaining competition for the bullpen could include Bedard or Odorizzi, but it's not likely. All other pitchers have been assigned to minor league camp.
As mentioned above, Sands was among the names sent to the minors, leaving Rodriguez, Forsythe, Guyer, Nix, Betemit, Acosta, and Olmedo in competition for the three bench slots.
David Price joined 98.7 The Fan yesterday to discuss his offseason preparation and his expectations for the Rays this season.
Alex Cobb spoke out yesterday after hearing the news of Aroldis Chapman being struck in the head with a line drive. Cobb is not pleased with MLB’s delay in rolling out the new protective caps that were supposed to be available for pitchers this spring.
Joe Maddon also gave Alex Cobb some praise and mentioned that he’s definitely worthy of being an Opening Day starter.
James Loney and Wil Myers loosened up before last night’s game by shooting some hoops.
#rays Loney about to drain a jumper while shooting hoops with Myers before tonight's game pic.twitter.com/tvHxR0gtju— RMooneyTBO (@RMooneyTBO) March 20, 2014
- The Rays took the number one spot for Third Base in the Fangraphs positional power rankings, thanks to Evan Longoria, and the number two spot for Second Base, thanks to Ben Zobrist.
- Matt Garza would probably not have much interest in this article, but also on Fangraphs, Jeff Sullivan takes a look at the truth about bunting.
- HBT: Big League Baseball in Australia? Jake of "Cespedes BBQ" takes a look.
- Baseball Prospectus is free today, with lots of interesting content. They gave a look to Mike Montgomery and Andrew Toles on the back fields (with video of MM!), which is worth your time, but the best might be the simulations run where the Astros might make the playoffs next season...
- Soon-to-be super star Jose Abreu isn’t having any problems adjusting to the big leagues. In fact, he said so himself! He says expected it to be really, really difficult, but it isn't... We’ll just have to wait and see how he does in his first season with the White Sox and then re-evaluate his quote at a later date.
- Angels skipper Mike Scioscia won’t be coaching his son, Matt, anytime soon as Matt was traded to the Cubs yesterday for Wayne Gretzky’s son, Trevor.
- Are you tired of going to baseball games by yourself? 2014 is going to be a different season for you then, because MLB just partnered with Match.com so that you can now find a special someone to enjoy a Rays game with!
- If you’ve got any artistic ability whatsoever, why not try your hand at creating some artwork for Duckys? You could win $2000, along with signed Evan Longoria memorabilia, and 20% off your tabs at Duckys for a year.
- Finally, for Twitter’s eighth birthday, they’re allowing people to view what their very first tweet was. The Wonder Bat blog compiled a post of a few MLB’s players first tweets for your entertainment.