Let’s face it, spring training games aren’t meant to be nailbiters. More often than not, this sentiment rises around the fifth inning or so:
Derek Shelton kind of kept us guessing as to who his starting pitcher would be, and settled on rumored Opening Day starter Jose Quintana. If Quintana didn’t quite make his case, he didn’t blow it, either.
Final numbers on Quintana: four innings, four hits, two runs (both earned), 1K, 1 walk. Not great, not horrible. It's still being speculated that he'll pitch Opening Day.— Bucs Dugout (@BucsDugout) April 1, 2022
Wil Crowe, the other rumored starter, came on in the fifth and acquitted himself well over the next two innings. Austin Brice ... did not. He gave up a walk, two singles, and a double in the seventh, and the four runs scored were all charged to him, he of the 36.00 ERA this spring training.
But, as has been happening lately in Pirate City, there were cannonballs coming. As has gotten to be a habit, one was hit while Greg Brown was talking to Shelty. Thanks for the two-run dinger, Roberto Perez.
Bligh Madris turned up the cries that he needs to be on the Big Team with this one in the seventh, his third in twelve at-bats:
We won’t mention his throw directly into left field—as in, he literally spiked the ball into the ground—in the next inning.
In the end, though, it was a guy that you don’t hear too much about, infielder Tsung-Che Cheng, who hasn’t gotten above Low-A in his time here, who was the hero, with a three-run blast in the bottom of the ninth:
Thanks for livening the game up, dude. I’ll save you a taco.
The Bucs will take on the Red Sox again tomorrow in Fort Myers ... and we’re officially less than a week away from Opening Day.