ST. PETERSBURG -- Jake Faria ended Spring Training on a high note when he held the Tigers hitless for six innings at Tropicana Field in his final outing before starting the Rays' fifth game of the season in New York against the Yankees."Yeah, I felt good," said Faria, who had
ST. PETERSBURG -- Jake Faria ended Spring Training on a high note when he held the Tigers hitless for six innings at Tropicana Field in his final outing before starting the Rays' fifth game of the season in New York against the Yankees.
"Yeah, I felt good," said Faria, who had only a walk and a hit batter blemish his five-strikeout start. "Good to be in the strike zone. A few pitches I got away with later in the game. But I think all in all, everything felt really good."
Faria struggled for much of the spring, mostly with throwing strikes. When asked if Tuesday's outing had been critical for him, Faria gave a candid answer.
"I think so," Faria said. "Just to go into the season with a good state of mind. Even if I'd been in the strike zone like I was and got hit around a little bit, I still think I would have been fine. That was the big problem earlier in the spring, not being in the zone. Now I'm just happy I'm in the zone and commanding everything."
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Faria said that he's been getting increasingly comfortable over his past three outings.
"Everything's starting to fall into place, and continuously I'm getting a little better and better every time out," Faria said.
Faria began his Major League career with a bang last season, recording seven consecutive quality starts. Trying to get back to that level of success has been a part of his spring journey.
"I think [things began to turn around] when [pitching coach] Kyle [Snyder] and I sat down and really figured out what I was doing away from the game," Faria said. "Workouts in between, routines and stuff. Once I got back to what I was doing last year, everything started falling into place."
Faria chuckled when asked if he gave Rays manager Kevin Cash a hard time about taking him out with a no-hitter still intact.
"No, I have faith that the bullpen will keep it going," Faria said.
They did not, as the Rays took a 2-1 loss to close out their Grapefruit League schedule.
Rays and Lightning
The Rays and the NHL's Tampa Bay Lightning both have anniversaries coming up, so the teams decided to celebrate together. The Rays are celebrating their 20th anniversary, and the Lightning their 25th.
On Monday night during warmups, the Lightning wore light blue Rays-themed jerseys with patches commemorating both teams' anniversaries.
On Friday night, when the Rays face the Red Sox in their second game of the season, the team will wear Lightning-themed hats during batting practice. In addition, NHL Hall of Famer and Lightning founder Phil Esposito will throw out the first pitch.
The unique Rays hats will not be available for sale, but they will be auctioned off afterward, with proceeds going to the Rays Baseball Foundation and the Tampa Baseball Museum.
The Rays will host the Red Sox on Thursday at 4 p.m. ET on MLB.TV for an Opening Day contest at Tropicana Field. Chris Archer will start for the Rays and Chris Sale will start for the Red Sox.
Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.