Everybody knew James Shields would start Opening Day since that annoucement came earlier in camp, but the rest of the order will be as follows: David Price, Jeremy Hellickson, Matt Moore, and Jeff Niemann.
"We've been talking about [the rotation] for the last couple of days, I feel comfortable about that," manager Joe Maddon said. "As we're setting that whole thing up we're not just thinking about the first series. We're thinking pretty much about the whole month ahead. So we looked at all the different variables involved, and we came to [this] conclusion."
That means the Rays will send Shields, Price and Hellickson up against the defending American League East champion Yankees in the opening three-game series at Tropicana Field. Moore, Niemann, and Shields will then pitch the three-game series in Detroit against the AL Central champion Tigers.
"I think it's awesome, first game in Detroit," Moore said. "Just thinking about it today, it's probably going to be a little chilly there. I'm pretty excited knowing which game I'm going to pitch now. And now it's just a matter of getting through the rest of Spring Training."
Hellickson, last year's AL Rookie of the Year, noted that the order of where they are pitching "doesn't really matter" based on the competition. After the stop in Detroit, the Rays will finish the road trip with a four-game set in Boston and three games in Detroit before coming home to face the Twins and Angels. They will finish the month with a trip to Texas to play the Rangers.
"It's going to be a tough month, but hopefully we start winning some games here at the end of spring and we'll be all right at the beginning of the season," Hellickson said.
Moore smiled when talking about the coming month, but he tempered his comments by saying the start of the season is "a ways off."
"I'm still trying to finish up my last two starts here in Spring Training, but I'm definitely excited for Opening Day, then here comes the second series," Moore said. "Obviously, as a team we're focused on the first series of the season then [Niemann and him in Detroit]."