Ironically, two of the Rays’ biggest rivals are the teams closest to Tropicana Field while the Rays train in Port Charlotte, the Yankees in Tampa and the Phillies, the team they’ll play today, in Clearwater. The Rays look to defend their home ground and get a tiny piece of revenge for the 2008 World Series as they welcome the Phillies to Port Charlotte for their 14th spring game with Number 14 on the hill. Here’s their lineup.
Always exciting to have Price on the hill, and he’ll look to follow up his 3 shutout innings with 5 strikeouts his last time out with another great performance. Following Price in the game will be Kyle Farnsworth, who makes his spring debut after recovering from tightness in his right forearm, and it’s great to see him finally get into a game.
In terms of the lineup, it’s interesting that Escobar is leading off after Joe Maddon had used him more in the middle of the lineup so far this spring. Escobar’s skill-set could lend itself to spots all over the order, and you know Joe Maddon will take advantage of that once the season gets underway. Evan Longoria is of course in the lineup as well as he gets ready for the season. Longo batted primarily cleanup in 2012, but he could return to the third spot in the Rays’ order depending on how the Rays lineup shakes out. The red-hot pairing of Leslie Anderson and Chris Gimenez bat 6th and 7th and Rich Thompson will get his first start of the spring batting 9th and playing centerfield with Sam Fuld out. Hopefully fans in attendance will get a good game, and although the result means next-to-nothing and individual performances will be more important than how the team does, the Rays will look to notch their 10th win of the spring and potentially move into first place in the Grapefruit League with an Orioles loss.