The Rays were off on Monday, and that was a stroke of luck as rain caused torrid field conditions that were not fun for the players and teams who did play. One Ray, however, was not so lucky, and he happens to be a pretty critical part of their team. David Price started for the Triple-A Durham Bulls in their minor league game as he looked to stay on schedule for Opening Day, and the results were disastrous. Price lasted just one rough 37-pitch inning allowing a run on a hit and 3 walks, although he did strike out the side, and as Price described it, ”When you throw every pitch and your foot slides 5-6 inches, it’s not safe.” Luckily, though, Price escaped for the outing unscathed physically and actually went to the bullpen for another 34 pitches when he was done to finish getting his work in and keep him on track for Opening Day. With Opening Day under two weeks away, the Rays were stuck in a bind as they couldn’t hold Price back from the start and put his readiness for that Opening Day nod in jeopardy, but luckily everything turned out fine.
Fernando Rodney has been incredible for the Dominican Republic squad in the World Baseball Classic, helping them to the championship game with 6.1 scoreless innings, allowed just 1 hit, and slamming the door for 6 saves. As it turns out, his pitching isn’t the only thing driving the DR team. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports wrote about Rodney’s “Good Luck Plantain” that he has used to rally the Dominicans. Great to see Rodney bringing the team together with an eccentric idea that you know would make Joe Maddon proud, and nearly as impressive might be Passan’s hilarious writing in the article. Read the entire article, but here’s a tease.
It had a message for him, too, because what good is a piece of produce if it doesn’t talk to you? “If you keep me close to you,” the plantain said, according to Rodney, who did not indicate whether it spoke Spanish or English or maybe Fruitish, “you’re going to get the win.” And in this world of lies and cynicism, maybe what we truly need to bring us together is the Magic Plantain, a teller of great truths.
And finally, here’s the Rays’ lineup for today.
Very interesting Rays lineup, with a whole bunch of regulars seeing time and playing like Zobrist, Scott, and Gimenez showing off their versatility, and the pitching may be even better, with Hellickson set to face a Tigers lineup including Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, and Victor Martinez, so it should be a good test to see where he’s at. Kyle Farnsworth and Brandon Gomes will also see time later in the game. Best of all, though, will be that Rays fans with MLB.TV will be able to catch this game at 1:05 PM, albeit the Tigers’ broadcast. Should be a fun game, and hopefully Hellickson and the Rays can come through with a strong effort.