by Roy Alan Firestone
He wasn’t dazzling or even showy, but Zach Britton is still very much in the picture for the number 5 starter after his performance against a "B" squad of Red Sox today in Sarasota.
He walked two, but he mostly threw a lot of strikes and got three double play balls(only one converted) in almost four innings of one hit ball.
I was carefully watching the dugout between innings. Zach was very talkative and very intent on listening to Wieters, Adair, and at least one other. Zach told me the other guy was Chis Cosetti who has been a terrific help to pitchers who've had injuries. He was also chatty with Bruce Kison. I think Britton is a very hard worker and very eager to learn how to get better and he looked fine to me today.Not overpowering but a strike thrower and save for a booted ball (he did also make a fantastic play that robbed a double) by Machado, and Britton's line could have been even better.
So now you’ve got solid performances by Jake, Matusz, Britton and even Gausman and Bundy. This team has a load of pitching options. It’s a very good problem to have.
I just wish they would hit a little better lately. Hardy, Machado and Betemit have been ice cold, but Roberts banged a line drive with one hit in the first and blooped an RBI single later. The BIG news is that he stole one base and attempted but was thrown out for another. This signals to me that he is feeling better and running well. That appears to be good news for all concerned.
I think Ryan Flaherty is impressing a lot of people with power and hustle in Sarasota. I believe he's won the utility 2b job and may have won it outright if Roberts didn’t have seniority and a 10 million dollar salary.
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