Mar 18, 2014; Fort Myers, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays right fielder Wil Myers (9) is congratulated after scoring against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning at Hammond Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Rays Spring Training Game 18: The Bats Continue


Wil Myers broke out with a nice game. (Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports)

The biggest surprise today came when Joe Maddon penciled in Wil Myers in the lead-off position. The second year slugger was struggling somewhat this spring and Maddon hoped to light a fire under him. Myers responded with a 3 for 4 day, all doubles. From the very 1st inning, Rays bats came out smoking. James Loney continued his hot hitting in recent days, doubling in Wil Myers, who led off the game with a double, and Ben Zobrist. Matt Joyce followed and plated Loney on a single. In the second, Molina singled and Myers again doubled. David DeJesus drove both in with a single and the Rays offense was just starting to flex its muscles. In the third, Yunel Escobar singled in Desmond Jennings. Wil Myers doubled again and scored Escobar. In the top of the 6th, Loney collected his third RBI of the game, plating Evan Longoria with a single. In the top of the 8th, Jeremy Moore, facing increasingly longer odds for a roster spot, grounded out to second, scoring Cole Figueroa in the process. Brandon Guyer, looking more and more like he will break camp with the Rays, singled and Eddy Rodriguez scored. Logan Forsythe then singled and Guyer scored. For the second straight game, the offense plated 10 runs, this time on 20 hits.

Minnesota starter Vance Worley surrendered 11 of those hits and the Rays were crushing everything he had to offer. A general feeling has settled in among the Rays players that they are ready for the regular season to begin and the results from the past two games seem to bear that out. When the regular season does begin, however, don’t look for Wil Myers to bat lead-off.

Matt Moore was still in search of his command in the game. Velocity was good in the four and two thirds inning he worked, sitting around 94 and going as high as 97, but he was plagued again with command issues. “Everything did feel good,” Moore noted.”Minus the six walks – a solid day.” If Moore is to go deeper into games this season, his bouts of wildness will have to be addressed. But, as Rays’ radio announcer Dave Wills noted during the game, “You can teach command. You can’t teach velocity.” Matt Moore’s velocity is back and that is a building with which to build on. It’s frustrating but I guess Rays’ fans have to remain patient.

It’s exciting to see the bats working and Wil Myers had a good day. This is spring training so Moore’s six walks aren’t all that important. Mark Lowe starts tomorrow in Sarasota against the Baltimore Orioles against Bud Norris. Josh Lueke, Steve Geltz, Juan Sandoval, and Jake McGee are scheduled to pitch. The game is a 1:05 ET start.

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Tags: Matt Moore Tampa Bay Rays Wil Myers

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