The Rays had split squad action today as part of the team played the Tigers in Port Charlotte while another group of Rays traveled to Tampa for a matchup against the Yankees. Today’s lineup against Detroit is about as close as we’ve gotten to a potential opening day Tampa lineup, but probably the most exciting appearance was that of MLB’s #1 prospect, Wander Franco, who came off the bench against the Tigers today. New guys, Hunter Renfroe and Yoshi Tsutsugo, got the offense started as Renfroe smoked a ground-rule double and Tsutsugo followed with an RBI single off the first baseman’s glove. Yandy Diaz would also collect a single hitting in the clean-up spot today and then Jose Martinez would pop a sacrifice fly to score Tsutsugo and give the Rays an early 2-0 lead in the 1st inning. The offense wasn’t done quite yet as Willy “The Kid” Adames would hit a 2-run blast in the 2nd inning to extend the Rays’ lead to 4-0. Yoshi would keep up the hot bat with an RBI double making it 5-0 Rays in the 5th. The long awaited Wander Franco debut wasn’t as exciting as we would have hoped as he grounded out to first base in his only plate appearance, but he will be in the starting lineup tomorrow against the defending champion, Washington Nationals.
Tyler Glasnow, who was arguably the ace of the Rays’ staff last season until he was out for a while due to a forearm strain, took the mound in Port Charlotte to start the game. He had a clean 1st inning as he struck out 2 Tigers giving up just one hit on a bunt single and one walk. He will be a huge asset to an already stacked Rays’ pitching staff if he can stay healthy. Some other pitchers who got some innings today were Aaron Loup, Oliver Drake, and Peter Fairbanks. Loup recorded 2 strikeouts with no hits or runs in his one inning of work. Drake also had a flawless inning with one strikeout. He’s had a very efficient spring so far which is a very good sign for the Rays’ bullpen this season. Fairbanks, who the Rays acquired from the Rangers last year, gave up just 2 hits and no runs in his only inning. Strong pitching and timely offense would benefit the Rays this afternoon as they took the game 6-3 over Detroit. The other squad in Tampa didn’t fare as well as 3 Yankee homeruns would lead New York to a 7-1 victory. The lone Rays’ run came off of a Ji-Man Choi RBI single.