Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays finish spring in slump

ST. PETERSBURG

Expectations for the Rays are at a high, boosted by several national media selections as the American League rep in the World Series.

But the Rays will enter the season on something of a low, having won only one of their last 11 spring games, and after a 13-7 start closing 2-10-2.

Manager Joe Maddon said after Saturday's tie that he wasn't pleased, but he wasn't too concerned, either, as some of the games were lost late by minor-leaguers, there was considerable individual progress, and the philosophies and messages were delivered.

"Do not deny, yes, I would like to have finished better regarding winning games, getting into that winning atmosphere and attitude, never deny that," he said. "You never want to play a game and not win. But I'm not upset, either, because there's so many good things."

Still, they would have to feel better going into the season with momentum. It has been noted that all three seasons they made the playoffs, they had winning spring records.

Other areas of concern:

• As much as they built up their position depth, it is being tested immediately with Luke Scott's injury. The quick fix looks to be more playing time for OF Sam Fuld and, if he gets called up, 1B/OF Shelley Duncan, neither of whom are considered frontline players. Also weakened is the depth of their lineup, which Maddon had built with Scott protecting 3B Evan Longoria.

• Both Maddon and executive VP Andrew Friedman have acknowledged their primary concern is getting enough innings from the starters. After ace LHP David Price, there are fair questions about each of the starters, with three 25 or younger and the other a veteran (Roberto Hernandez) who hasn't had a winning season since 2008.

• The bullpen could lack flexibility, with demoted starter RHP Jeff Niemann available on a limited basis and LHP Cesar Ramos and RHP Jamey Wright also slated for multi-inning use. Also, none of the relievers have options, meaning if the pen gets overworked, a fresh arm can't just be subbed in, and they would have to consider sending down a position player (INF/OF Sean Rodriguez the likely candidate) to have some maneuverability.

RAYS RUMBLINGS: The boar's head that was attached to the side of Scott's locker in Port Charlotte has been mounted inside the locker adjacent to his at the Trop. … Was good, great actually, to see senior adviser Don Zimmer at the Trop and in his element standing around the batting cage telling stories. … Tickets are said to be still available for Tuesday's opener, though a sellout for the eighth consecutive year is expected. … Maddon would like an MLB-wide agreement to play only night games the last week of spring training, eliminating some wear and tear, simplifying scheduling and to acclimate to the regular-season schedule. … The Trop is among the stadiums that will offer Fetzer wine in a new Zipz single-serve disposable wine glass. … Friedman said Ben Zobrist's value is "incredibly difficult to quantify" because of his versatility, but he "is one of the most underrated players of the last decade, or as long as I can remember back." … RHP David Price is on one of the regional covers of the Sports Illustrated baseball preview edition, and former Ray James Shields is on another.

Comments
Carlos Gomez says he was guilty of only one thing in Sunday’s epic walkoff homer celebration

Carlos Gomez says he was guilty of only one thing in Sunday’s epic walkoff homer celebration

BALTIMORE – Carlos Gomez is perfectly willing to explain the specific elements that went into his epic celebration tour around the bases following Sunday's walkoff home run.The bat flip and raised arms were his initial reaction to how well he h...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Rays Journal: On the early rainout, pitching plans, medical matters, more

Rays Journal: On the early rainout, pitching plans, medical matters, more

BALTIMORE – If the Rays were going to get rained out Tuesday, they were happy  the Orioles made the decision at a good hour, around 5 p.m."I think they probably did the right thing in the fact that they knew there's a bunch of rain coming,...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Rays-Orioles postponed, doubleheader planned for May 12

Rays-Orioles postponed, doubleheader planned for May 12

UPDATE, 6:06: The Rays will stay in rotation, so Faria will slide back a day and pitch Wednesday, vs. Cobb, and Archer will get an extra day's rest and pitch Thursday, against RHP Dylan Bundy.Also of note, Cash said 3B Matt Duffy (right hamstring str...
Updated: 12 hours ago
For starters: Rays at Orioles, facing Cobb, weather permitting

For starters: Rays at Orioles, facing Cobb, weather permitting

The Rays are set to get their first look at an old friend tonight, as Alex Cobb will be on the mound for the Orioles, weather permitting.Heavy rain is forecast for the Baltimore area, though Orioles officials seem confident there will be a window for...
Published: 04/24/18
Rays up next: at Orioles, 7:10 Tuesday

Rays up next: at Orioles, 7:10 Tuesday

Tuesday:  at Orioles7:05, Camden Yards, BaltimoreTV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish) Probable pitchersRays:  RH Jake Faria (1-1, 5.82)Orioles: RH Alex Cobb (0-2, 15.43)On Faria: Coming off quality start vs. Rangers, allowing ...
Published: 04/24/18
Rays prospect Adames hits for cycle

Rays prospect Adames hits for cycle

Willy Adames, the Rays top position player prospect, touched all the bases in hitting for the cycle in Triple-A Durham's Monday's win over Buffalo.Adames doubled in the first inning, singled in the fifth, tripled in the sixth and completed the rare f...
Published: 04/24/18
Former Rays pitcher Danny Farquhar “progressing well’ after surgery

Former Rays pitcher Danny Farquhar “progressing well’ after surgery

As former teammates with the Rays and throughout baseball share thoughts and prayers, RHP Danny Farquhar is "progressing well" in a Chicago hospital after suffering a hemorrhage caused by a brain aneurysm on Friday.The White Sox on Monday released th...
Published: 04/23/18
Alex Cobb and Logan Morrison have ex-Ray vision. Here’s what they see.

Alex Cobb and Logan Morrison have ex-Ray vision. Here’s what they see.

ST. PETERSBURG — Absolutely, Alex Cobb was saying over the phone, it's going to be weird pitching Tuesday against the Rays.The organization that he owes so much for rearing him since high school, standing by him through assorted injuries, enabl...
Published: 04/23/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Rays win on Carlos Gomez’s walkoff home run

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Rays win on Carlos Gomez’s walkoff home run

Carlos Gomez, who had been struggling, delivers a two-run, walkoff home run as the Rays sweep the Twins for the first time at Tropicana Field. Rick Stroud discusses the moment and the celebration that followed Gomez's first career walkoff hit in toda...
Published: 04/23/18
Rays are suddenly swinging hot bats, but will it last?

Rays are suddenly swinging hot bats, but will it last?

ST. PETERSBURG — Good pitching and hitting go hand in glove, but the Rays did not look like a team that could swing the bats very well until this completed homestand.In their series sweep over the Twins, Tampa Bay scored 8, 10 and 8 runs. ...
Published: 04/22/18