The Tampa Bay Rays made their way to Ft, Myers to take on the Boston Red Sox for the second consecutive day. Brad Boxberger, Grant Balfour, Ernesto Frieri, Jordan Norberto, Kirby Yates and Jhan Marinez all took the mound in another bullpen-by-committee game. Tampa Bay ultimately fell short by a 3-2 margin in extra innings, thanks to a one-run, two-out walk-off knock off the Faux Monster in left. They will get another shot at Boston Wednesday afternoon in their final meeting of the spring.
More important than the loss, however, Boxberger, Frieri, Jepsen and Yates will get the opportunity to make appearances in back-to-back games. Rays manager Kevin Cash spoke with Bill Chastain (MLB.com) before the contest, about the importance of having his relievers pitch in back-to-back games:
Just kind of a normal thing. If it works out where we can match up a little bit [in Sunday's game] or [Monday], we'll do that. Some guys will throw a full inning, some two-thirds of an inning, some guys will get four outs depending on how we line it up going forward.
...And being able to get going again [the next day]. Kind of take it and see how I can recover and being able to do it two or three times during the year and being able to go in April.Cash noted that Balfour is not scheduled to pitch Monday. Balfour, who missed a significant amount of camp while in Australia, allowed that making back-to-back appearances is nice, though it isn't entirely necessary:
That year in Oakland, I think I had 27 for 27 saves and I didn't go back-to-back [during Spring Training] and I had four [spring] games. So I guess I don't have to do it. ... You don't really have to do it. But I mean it's nice to do it and rebound from it and stuff like that. It's something that you would typically do.
#Rays Boxberger wanted to start today so he could face top #RedSox hitters. He did: Betts 5-3, Pedoria looking, shattered Ortiz's bat on F8. — Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) March 29, 2015
"We've got some guys that we signed and we want to do them right and communicate as soon as possible if they're not (going to be) with us and there's opportunity elsewhere," Cash said. "We're not looking to hold anybody back from being in the big leagues with other teams or anything like that."