The Rays took two out of three from the Marlins to get the season started on a high note. After a rare Sunday offday, they will take on the 0-3 Red Sox in Fenway Park.
Here is a really first rate deep dive into Rays pitching - the art, the science, the arm angles — from MLB beat writer Adam Berry.
Ryan Sherriff made the team out of spring training, but recently decided that he needed some time away from the game ($)
Colin McHugh didn’t have a particularly strong Rays debut on Saturday, but he still gives a thoughtful interview.
Plans to redevelop the Tropicana Field site are moving ahead. The Tampa Bay Times has an excellent overview of the four finalist plans ($). All have the option of including a stadium (of around 25 - 30,000 seats) although one applicant urges the city to consider using Al Lang Field as its sports stadium. All include open space that highlights the presence of Booker Creek, which is largely out of view right now. All include a lot of new housing (at least 2,000 units with one proposal up to 8,000 units). The major differences between them are the levels of density they propose, the mix of commercial and residential development, and the orientation of the various features across the site.
To learn more about the proposals, you can attend virtual and in-person information sessions this week and visit proposal showrooms thereafter. Registration information for these sessions is found here. The Rays have continued their policy of not commenting on these proposals.
Finally, he’s not a household name to many fans, but anyone covering the Rays has had the pleasure of crossing paths with their VP of Communications, Dave Haller. Dave has decided to move on, and we wish him well.
Some personal news, now that #OpeningDay (and April Fools Day) is behind us. After living my dream working in baseball for 15 years, I am making a career change. It was a tough decision, but I’m confident it’s the right one for our family. My last day with the Rays is April 10. pic.twitter.com/o65B7ZJrTH— Dave Haller (@HallerDave) April 2, 2021
In addition to his calm professionalism, we are grateful to Dave for his willingness to provide DRaysBay with game, press event and clubhouse access, which has certainly made our coverage of the team that much better.
Around the League
Old friend alerts: Both Blake Snell and Charlie Morton had good starts for their respective teams. Snell allowed no runs and struck out eight but had to work around four hits and two walks in 4.2 innings. Morton got through five innings, giving up three runs. I wish them well, and I will LOL every time I see that they are pulled before the 7th inning.
Another old friend alert: We knew Jose Alvarado could dominate. He’s off to a good start in Philadelphia:
Jose Alvarado, Ridiculous 96mph Back Foot Cutter/Hard Slider.— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 4, 2021
el diablo pic.twitter.com/BNLvsEn7LE
Just as we knew that Nate Lowe could hit a ball very far:
Nate Lowe hit one to the second deck of the fountain pic.twitter.com/5zvpVKwLkO— MLB (@MLB) April 4, 2021
I am a complete sucker for “guy has great debut while parents celebrate in the stands” videos. But a player homering on the very first pitch of his major league career? That is just remarkable.
If you are a parent, or have a parent, you will definitely want another look at the celebration in the stands:
Akil Badoo's parents reaction to his first MLB HR (in his first MLB PA)— Alex Fast (@AlexFast8) April 4, 2021
How can you not be romantic about baseball. pic.twitter.com/mQY9ZI1X0d
All the best to you, Akil Baddoo!
And on the list of very cool things that happened in the opening series of the season: Shohei Ohtani pitched Sunday night. And also hit in the number two spot. And he did both really well:
Shohei Ohtani throwing a baseball 101mph followed by Shohei Ohtani hitting a baseball 115 mph. pic.twitter.com/C7jNE11qHH— Gabe (@PIayoffTanaka) April 5, 2021
So far MLB’s COVID-19 testing has found very few cases. But even a few cases can derail a team, as the Nationals are learning.($) They are expected to be back in action, albeit down some nine players, on Tuesday.
Many of you do not want any more chatter about the debate over the All-Star Game relocation, and I get that! You can skip the next few links. But if you are interested in some more (thoughtful) reactions, here are a few: From The Athletic ($) and here, New York Times here ($). John Romano from the Tampa Bay Times shares his views as well ($).
Finally, we give a huge round of applause to Ashely as she makes her debut at FanGraphs following a recent hire at the site: