I rushed home from work last night to catch the first televised Rays game of the spring - against the Yankees in Tampa. Missed the top of the first (which is fairly usual for weekday afternoon games), but caught the rest of what turned out to be the Rays' second straight loss to start the spring.
Best performance for the Rays by a distance was from Wade Davis, who was making the start. He mowed through two perfect innings against a strong Yankees team (Damon, Jeter, Teixeira, A-Rod, etc), picking up three strikeouts along the way. What with the plethora of choices that we have for the fifth spot in the rotation, its highly unlikely that Davis is going to be starting the season anywhere other than AAA. Still, its an encouraging start for him, and a great reminder to everyone that the pitching talent in the Rays' farm system isn't all about David Price.
Following Davis on the hill was Chad Orvella - a very welcome site following his struggles with injuries. He gave up a homer to Jorge Posada with his first pitch, but retired the next three batters in order. If Orvella can get fully healthy then its possible that he'll have an outside shot at making the 'pen. I was a big fan of his when he first broke into the majors, so it'll be interesting to see how what kind of shape he's in now.
At the plate there wasn't an awful lot going on for the Rays. They picked up their first run of the spring courtesy of an RBI-single from Jon Weber, but otherwise it was pretty quiet. The highlight play on defense was a terrific running catch by our late-inning centrefielder (who I'm reliably informed by the St Pete Times was Ray Sadler).
Still, despite the loss, it was good to see the Rays in action again (even if it meant watch the YES network's coverage...). Next live game is Saturday afternoon against the Phillies. I'll be at a Six Nations Rugby game, so not sure if I'll be able to see any live, or if I'll be watching on Sunday morning. Mitch Talbot will be starting that one for the Rays I think - another of the contenders for the rotation (Jeff Niemann is starting today). What with the good performances so far from Carlos Hernandez, Jason Hammel and now Davis, it's looking like it could be an interesting spring.