The Rays lost Wednesday by a score of 6-1 in Port Charlotte, but the main headline of the day was Jeff Niemann, who was excellent in his final Grapefruit League start.
The Tall Texan tossed six scoreless innings, allowing just two hits while walking none and striking out two.
The battle for the fifth spot in the rotation between Niemann and Roberto Hernandez is a very close one, and Joe Maddon's decision may not come until Friday.
I think the right choice is to put Niemann in the rotation and Hernandez in the 'pen, and I say that for a couple of reasons. Niemann has had the better spring statistically (2.92 ERA vs. 5.33 ERA) and Hernandez is better suited for the 'pen, being a good groundball pitcher. Niemann has also proven that he's a very effective starter when healthy, while Hernandez has been flat-out awful since 2008.
What do you guys think? Comment below with your thoughts
Back to the ballgame, not much news other than Niemann's outing.
Both Fernando Rodney—making his first appearance since the World Baseball Classic—and Jake McGee had themselves a scoreless inning each.
The only Rays run was scored off a Yunel Escobar RBI triple, which was one of Escobar's two hits of the day (finished game 2-2). Ryan Roberts also had had two hits, including a double (finished game 2-4).
Evan Longoria walked twice in three plate appearances, flying out in his only at bat.
Here's for a full boxscore.