SAINT PETERSBURG, Fla. – The two best teams in baseball meet this week.
Or, at least the two teams with the best record after the first month of the season.
The Tampa Bay Rays (23-6) host the Pittsburgh Pirates (20-9) in what looks like a preview of a dream small market World Series. I’ll be covering all three games, with features and game recaps from the big league club.
The Rays are sending Javy Guerra as an opener, while it’s Ro Day for the Pirates.
PIRATES AT RAYS
Game Time: 6:40 PM EST
Pirates Starter: Roansy Contreras (3-1, 3.58)
Rays Starter: Javy Guerra (0-0, 8.64)
Game 1 in Tampa.
📺 AT&T SportsNet
📻 93.7 The Fan | The PRN #LetsGoBucs pic.twitter.com/cmQlrhmzjI
— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) May 2, 2023
Best in the AL hosts best in the NL#RaysUp pic.twitter.com/nNknN0pHaV
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) May 2, 2023
INDIANAPOLIS VS IOWA
Game Time: 6:05 PM EST
Projected Starter: Kent Emanuel, LHP (1-1, 9.35)
The Pirates still have some pitching depth in Indianapolis. Luis Ortiz had a 2.81 ERA in 25.2 innings, striking out 22 batters. The Pirates lost Mike Burrows for the season with Tommy John surgery. They’ve already called upon Johan Oviedo to replace JT Brubaker. Their top prospect, Quinn Priester, isn’t ready yet. If an injury comes up, Ortiz looks like the guy to call upon.
ALTOONA AT RICHMOND
Game Time: 6:35 PM EST
Projected Starter: Kyle Nicolas, RHP (1-2, 4.34)
Henry Davis was named the Pirates Prospects Player of the Month for April, after hitting for a 1.107 OPS and six home runs in the first month of the season. Anthony Murphy wrote about the realistic timeline for Davis.
GREENSBORO AT WINSTON-SALEM
Game Time: 7:00 PM EST
Projected Starter: TBA
Anthony Solometo pitched four shutout innings in his most recent outing on Sunday. In five starts this year, Solometo has a 3.86 ERA in 21 innings, with a 26:13 K/BB ratio. Walks have been his only issue. He had three in his four innings on Sunday. What helps is that he’s unhittable, with a .200 average against.
BRADENTON AT TAMPA
Game Time: 6:30 PM EST
Projected Starter: TBA
The Pirates promoted Tres Gonzalez to Greensboro today. The 2022 5th rounder hit .299/.427/.403 in 82 plate appearances with Bradenton. Anthony Murphy wrote about Gonzalez recently, and the success he was having at the plate. Jared Triolo will begin a rehab assignment with Bradenton.
Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.
Reynolds looks so good right now. This is how I prefer him: line drives and good plate discipline. I feel like last year he went for more power and lost his approach.
Who is this Adam dude for the Rays and how does his curve move like that?!?
Have to play smarter and cleaner to beat the really good teams. That goes for everyone in that dugout wearing a uniform.
Agreed, not a good game at all by anyone and especially Shelton
I think BC has done a very good job to get the organization, from top to bottom, to where it is now. That said, he has handled the 2023 center field position terribly.
I was obvious that during Spring Training that Suwinski did not have the athleticism to play center field. Today was a perfect example of getting a bad jump on a ball and then not being able to overcome it with speed, quickness, and diving in needed. Bae overcomes his bad read errors with speed and athleticism, but his arm is simply not an arm that plays in center field. And he needs more practice at actually catching fly balls on the run. So what was BC thinking out of Spring Training?
Swaggerty was not an option out of Spring Training. I will not guess why as some posters here go into auto-mocking holier-than-thou responses. But here we sit with 3 second basemen on the roster and 5 corner outfielders (counting Cutch) and exactly 0 center fielders. And this was obvious way back in Spring Training. BC, you are better than this.
Actually Suwinski had been an above average center fielder. He’s not perfect, but he is not a problem.
If he was above average he wouldn’t be replaced by Bae in late innings of close games
He just can’t handle balls hit in the air in Florida.
Uno, dos, Tres Gonzalez with a nice A+ debut.
I’m ready for a 5 run inning!
0-10 with RISP suggests we’re not getting it.
Based on tonight’s small sample size, Cash is far more a genius than Maddon ever was.
Bunting Marcano in front of Hedges down 2 in the 6th is not good baseball.
Hedges may literally be the worst hitter I’ve ever seen.
That’s just recency bias. Everyone not named Bay, Giles, Sanchez, McClouth or even Womack from 2000-2009 were worse.
No, they really weren’t.
As a hitter, Hedges is a good catcher or so I thought until that dumbass throw to second earlier tonight. Delay should be the number one catcher until Endy of Davis come up.
I’ll take Delay over Hedges alll day everyday
That was frustrating. Should either be 3-2 1st and 3rd or 3-1 bases loaded with Reynolds up.
Umps hate us tonight.
Brutal called third strike.
Yes, but not as brutal as the swinging 2nd strike.
My thoughts exactly. That was bad.
could you imagine if Tank or Endy was at bat right now?
I’d take Delay.
My boy took one for the team LIKE A MAN!
I hate how much this team bunts.
Why bunt guys over for hedges to bat? That’s poor managing.
You think it was called?
This is the dude who just bunt-singled with two strikes last week.
And I’m for it. With this offense just get on base. Nobody in this lineup is popping 35-40 homers so just get on and keep the line moving.
Roansy deserved better that inning.
C’mon guys, calm down and play smart. No reason for Hedges to make that throw from his knees
Hedges should know better than that.
Can we call that hit a “Trop up?”
Of course it cost Roansy a run. 🤬🤬🤬
we really need to play a center fielder in center field
No reason for Castro to go after that ball. It was an outfield pop up that was on the second base side of the bag. That said Suwinski should’ve just taken charge
Suwinski broke back on the ball and then didn’t have the speed and quickness to overcome that mistake. Which is nothing against Jack, he is a fine corner outfielder. He is not a center fielder, and he has never been one, and it is not good baseball to why keep putting him out there. Reynolds is a better center fielder playing right next to him in left field, go figure. It just makes no sense. And Bae doesn’t have the arm to play center field, so putting him out there is not an answer.
They need a center fielder.
It still makes no sense to me why CSN went north with the club and Swaggerty did not
should bring in Holderman right now
Crap. Can’t make mistakes against these guys.
Margot isn’t the guy you want to walk with nobody out. Just throw him strikes
It looked to me like Hayes got his left hand on the plate. That would have been difficult to overturn.
I’d hope Hayes wouldn’t head to the bench without physically feeling his hand touch the plate on that play.
That has to be interference even if Hayes never touched the plate.
I think I’d send Hayes on Reynolds’ grounder if it’s anyone other than Arozarena in right.
That play from Hayes highlights something I was just thinking about the difference between Castro and Hayes. From the left side, Castro has some hesitation with his throws. They can be a bit wild on the high side, and I’m not sure I’d trust him to throw to first if his eyes weren’t preparing for the throw.
Hayes, on the other hand, would know where first base is on a throw if you blindfolded him in the parking lot and walked him into the stadium.
Fleming definitely isn’t pitching anymore tonight but glad his ankle isn’t in a million pieces.
113 MPH, That’ll leave a mark.
Another incredible play by Hayes. Arenado my ass.
Also has hit three lasers now. Finally got something to show for it.
Something to show for it: I wonder if Fleming has the laces imprinted on his ankle.
And it was the one that most closely resembled his average launch angle that got the job done.
I can’t think of a time that Hayes throw to 1b was not on the money.
Or second, or home
So why not.play back and concede the run for an out?
Probably gets through anyway. It was smoked.
I really don’t get the infield in early in games, and it’s not just the Pirates, I’ve seen it league wide.
Damn, nice play by Paredes.
Everyone talks about the Rays’ roster churn but it doesn’t work without having a million multi-position infielders with useful bats in their bags in the first place. Paredes is a newly minted card carrying member of that club.
Thought he came off the bag, but too close to challenge.
Didn’t look like his foot held the bag to me
My guy just made that DP look so easy.
Wow. Another big GIDP!!!
Ro velocity normal this inning?
Every time I watch the big club I ask myself why they’re even bothering to develop a third pitch for Luis Ortiz.
Just throw the damn slider like the rest of their starters!
The key is having two good pitches, not live or die with the slider and only the slider.
Ro’s fastball sucks and he seems to make out fine.
You’re not fronting a rotation like this, but none of these dudes have that kind of potential in the first place. That’s okay, it’s super hard!
I always want a starter to have a useful third pitch if for no other reason than to prevent things from spiraling out of control if one of the two primary offerings aren’t sharp on a given day. But I’m realistic enough to see that in today’s game you don’t need a third pitch to be a starter.
I’m with you brother. It’s an assault on my baseball sense, I hate it, but my goodness you can’t argue with success at this point. Sliders for all.
STFD had a lot of success in Pittsburgh with a fastball and curve….
Well, at least Hayes is beating the crap out of the ball. Nothing to show for it yet, but still.
Would’ve been an HR in Fenway.
A bit late to the party but happy Ro day. I know it’s a small sample and all but seeing Harold Ramirez batting .320 with 5 dingers and an OPS over 1.000 is heartwarming even if he’s wearing the wrong colors.
Bummer for him that it took him 5 clubs and a lot of years before it looks like he finally has it figured out.
Great to see Ro shake off the weird 1st AB and promptly shut em down!
Dang!! Oh well, Go Ro, Goooo!!!
I thought Santana got it all off the bat.
Two walks and two long drives and the Rays have seen enough.
He’s probably packing his bags right now, that’s how the Rays do it.
Catcher like Crash Davis to the batters—“I wouldn’t dig in, I have no idea where the ball is going…”
Just a bit outside in my best Bob Uecker voice 😁
Hayes missed it by that much……
The Trop is ugly.