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Always look on the bright side of life

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In today's tank: Jake Odorizzi, Drew Smyly, Minor League starters, 2015 beliefs, Grievances and old faces in new uniforms.

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday the Tampa Bays Rays conceded a second loss in two games to the Baltimore Orioles, after losing 5 to 6 at home. Rays fans could have hoped for a better beginning, but everything isn't as bad as two losses look this opening week.

Just  ask Kevin Kiermaier who had a rather big day with a home run and a triple for two RBIs, originally not even slated to start last night. Or maybe Logan Forsythe who also had a couple of ribbies against the O's and a dinger last night.

Nonetheless, a loss means that something went wrong during a game, and in this case it has a lot to do with Nate Karns first two innings in which he allowed the six runs scored by Baltimore, including a home run from Steve Pearce. The Rays would allow just one hit during innings 3-9, but the damage was done.

The win probability chart below will certainly help you understand how the Rays chances went during the game.

Source: FanGraphs

As Erik Hahmann stated in his post-game recap, this incident at least had the merit to show the first glimpses of Kevin Cash bullpen management. And he did quite well, as Balfour, Geltz, Jepsen and Boxberger only allowed one hit and two walks in 3.1 innings. Quite reassuring, especially considering Ernesto Frieri and Kirby Yates weren't exactly perfect two days ago in the season opener. They gave the offense a chance when the Rays needed it.

So put that Desmond Jennings first pitch pop out with the bases loaded, or James Loney's tweaked side into your compartmentalized portion of your brain, and let's look forward to the next day with five runs of baseball in the rear view mirror.

Today will see the last game of the series against the Orioles and hopefully a better performance from the day starter, Jake Odorizzi.

As Brittany Ghiroli from MLB.com noted, Odorizzi last outing against the O's was not very successful as he allowed career-high hits (11), runs (8) and homers (4) in August 2014. The 25-year-old Illinois native will surely try his best to avoid a sweep from Baltimore, and begin a 2015 season in a nice fashion.

Rays news

Drew Smyly is on his way to full rehab as he will pitch two innings in the Charlotte Stone Crabs league opener tomorrow night. Smyly, who is suffering from a tendinitis in his left shoulder, was expected to be the Rays third starter in the rotation. This plan should not suffer any change if he recovers fully as manager Kevin Cash wants to get him back in the majors "as soon as possible". An opinion shared by the man himself, even if he wants to take his time in the process and not rush anything:

"I want to get back as soon as possible," Smyly said. "But right now, it's just one game at a time. I have to feel confident and ready to face Major League hitters. Can't just jump in there. [Otherwise] I don't know if I'll do the team that much good. But I'm hoping to do that as soon as I can."

After three solid seasons in the big leagues with the Tigers and Tampa Bay, Smyly will certainly be one of the keys to a successful year for the Rays; and to the start of the season, if he comes back quickly, especially considering the injuries of Matt Moore, Alex Colome and Alex Cobb.

- Loney is to be sidelined a few days, like Jaso nursing an injury.

- The Rays released the names of their minor league starters, with notably a six-man group in Class A Bowling Green:

  • Triple-A Durham: Dylan Floro, Everett Teaford, Matt Buschmann, Andrew Bellatti, Scott Diamond
  • Double-A Montgomery: Jamie Schultz, Austin Pruitt, Jared Mortensen, Reinaldo Lopez, Mikey O'Brien
  • Advanced Class A Charlotte: Blake Snell, Ryne Stanek, Chris Kirsch, Jacob Faria, German Marquez
  • Class A Bowling Green: Brent Honeywell, Greg Harris, Hyrum Formo, Henry Centeno, Chris Pike, Mike Franco
- Triple-A pitcher Burch Smith supposedly had to undergo Tommy John surgery, waiting on confirmation whether that was performed yet or not. According to Marc Topkin, he was expected to join the Rays rotation at some point during the season.

- ICYMI: Sternberg has doubled down on his claim the Rays won't entertain new stadium negotiations during the season.

Links

- The 2015 season still is in its opening week and there is plenty of time left to make predictions about this year performances and surprises. Dave Cameron from Fangraphs added his two cents with his five things he believes about the 2015 season.

- Fellow DRays Bay writer Bradley Woodrum put up a list of grievances for MLB.Tv and MLB At Bat. If you're using one of these product, there is no way that you'll stay unaffected by this article.

- Being a baseball fan, you surely had the chance to get a look at other scores and highlights than the Rays' ones. If so, you surely didn't miss the performance put up by Ben Zobrist in his first game as an Oakland A's. The former Rays all-arounder wasn't the only "old face in a new uniform" to begin 2015, as Alex Skillin from SB Nation wonders how the big MLB offseason acquisitions fare in their debuts.

- Baseball Prospectus on the pitfalls of buying out arb years