March 16, 2012; Dunedin, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Jeff Niemann (34) throws against the Toronto Blue Jays during the bottom of the first inning of a spring training game at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

What's Important Now: Niemann, Offense Struggle

Spring Game 15: Blue Jays 5, Rays 0

The Rays played an all-around ugly game yesterday, getting only two hits and allowing five runs. Jeff Niemann was not great, allowing four earned on eight hits in 3.1 innings. Dane De La Rosa came in from there, allowing one hit in 1.2 innings. Matt Bush threw a perfect inning. De La Rosa and Bush have yet to allow a run this spring, so we could see one or both make the bullpen.

The offense looked like the dead offense we saw on multiple occasions last year. Brandon Guyer and Chris Gimenez got the only two hits. Desmond Jennings was the only other Ray to get on base, drawing two walks.

Spring Game 16: Rays at Pirates

Time: 1:05

Pitchers: Rays- James Shields, Brandon Gomes, Jake McGee, Ryan Reid

Pirates-  Jeff Karstens, Jason Grilli, Ryota Igarashi, Jared Hughes, Mike Crotta

Notables: Carlos Pena. Luke Scott, Matt Joyce, and Reid Brignac will all make the trip to Bradenton.

Rays News and Notes

  • Despite the numbers, Jeff Niemann was happy with how he performed yesterday, saying he just “ran out of gas” in the fourth. I don’t know about you, but I would prefer not to see the starting pitchers run out of gas in only the fourth inning, especially this far into the spring.
  • Joe Smith of theTampa Bay Times looks at the flexibility Jeff Keppinger gives the Rays.
  • Jon Heyman ofCBSSports.com and Scott Miller ofCBSSports are both reporting that the Rays may be seeking another catcher. Scott Miller goes as far as saying that one executive expects that Jose Molina will not play 80 games. There are not many options available, so it would not surprise me if we start hearing about Ivan Rodriguez again.
  • MLB Trade Rumors published their Offseason In Review for the Rays yesterday, looking at the acquisitions and departures. Overall I would say the Rays had a great offseason, filling all the gaps that they had at the end of last season.

Tags: Dane De La Rosa Jeff Niemann Matt Bush Rays

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