Dusty Baker is a Fan of Mismatches

Dave mentioned this tidbit yesterday, but I figured I would expand on it.

The first game of spring training usually serves as a dress rehearsal. The starters – those who are not partaking in the World Baseball Classic or injured – wave to the home crowd, play an inning or two in the field – just long enough to get a plate appearance — then call it a day. This leads to lineups that resemble the team’s Triple-A squad. Naturally, this leads to some rather lopsided match-ups if the other team has a legitimate starting pitcher on the mound.

But how about three in one game?

That’s what Dusty Baker threw the American League champions yesterday. The Rays christening of their new spring home didn’t quite go to plan. Joe Maddon followed the aforementioned tradition, running out such wunderkinds as Jon Weber, Ray Olmedo, Chris Richard, and Elliot Johnson. Heck, the Rays even started former Houston Astros’ starter Carlos Hernandez. So imagine the results when the Cincinnati Reds started Edinson Volquez, brought Jonny Cueto in to relieve Volquez, then handed the game to Homer Bailey.

Unsurprisingly, the trio would plow through a ragtag lineup, totaling seven innings of two-hit ball while walking two and striking eight out. Aaron Fultz and Jared Burton would close the game out, holding the Rays to four hits, six baserunners, and zero runs.

At least one thing went well for the Rays as Carl Crawford, the longtime face of the franchise, recorded the first hit in Charlotte Sports Park.



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