By Peter Abraham, Globe Staff
A small grease fire filled Tropicana Field with a smoky haze Thursday morning but will not delay the Opening Day game between the Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays, scheduled to begin at 4 p.m.
The fire was in a concession stand on the 300 level of the ballpark. Smoke was pouring from a vent in the stands behind first base.
According to the Rays, sprinklers extinguished the blaze and the game would not be affected.
The St. Petersburg Fire Department responded to the scene. Stadium workers, media members, and others with reason to arrive early for the game were kept outside until the situation was resolved.
|RED SOX (93-69 in 2017)||RAYS (80-82 in 2017)|
|Mookie Betts RF||Matt Duffy 3B|
|Andrew Benintendi LF||Kevin Kiermaier CF|
|Hanley Ramirez 1B||Carlos Gomez RF|
|J.D. Martinez DH||C.J. Cron 1B|
|Xander Bogaerts SS||Wilson Ramos C|
|Rafael Devers 3B||Denard Span LF|
|Eduardo Núñez 2B||Adeiny Hechavarria SS|
|Jackie Bradley Jr. CF||Daniel Robertson 2B|
|Christian Vázquez C||Rob Refsnyder DH|
|Pitching: LHP Chris Sale (17-8, 2.90 in 2017)||Pitching: RHP Chris Archer (10-12, 4.07 in 2017)|
Stat of the Day: In nine appearances against the Rays last season, Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel threw nine no-hit innings. He walked one and struck out 23.
Spring training results: The Red Sox were 22-9-1, the best record in baseball. They won 14 of their last 15 games including the final five. The Rays were 14-16-2. The Sox were 4-0-1 against the Rays in the Grapefruit League.
For openers: The Sox are 58-58-1 in openers, winning seven of the last 10 and three in a row.
Welcome aboard: Alex Cora is the 47th manager of the Red Sox. No pressure, but two of the last three Red Sox managers won the World Series in their first season [Terry Francona in 2004 and John Farrell in 2013]. Cora is the first Red Sox manager without previous MLB managerial experience since Grady Little in 2002. At 42, he is the youngest Red Sox manager since Kevin Kennedy in 1996.
They’re ready to go: Sale is 3-0 with a 2.86 ERA in his previous four Opening Day starts. … Hanley Ramirez has two Opening Day grand slams [2009 for the Marlins, 2015 for the Red Sox]. No player since at least 1913 has had three. … Mookie Betts hit Opening Day home runs in each of the last two seasons. He has four career home runs against Archer, including one leading off the game last July 9. Don’t miss the start of the game.
Streaks and such: Dustin Pedroia, who is on the disabled list, ends a streak of 11 consecutive Opening Day starts. Eduardo Nunez is the first non-Pedroia starter at second base on Opening Day since Mark Loretta in 2006. … Sale is the fifth different Opening Day starter for the Sox in the last five years. He follows Rick Porcello, David Price, Clay Buchholz, and Jon Lester. … Christian Vazquez is the sixth different Opening Day catcher in the last six years for the Sox. He follows Sandy Leon, Blake Swihart, Ryan Hanigan, A.J. Pierzynski, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia. … At 21 years and 156 days, Rafael Devers would become the second youngest Opening Day starter at third base for the Sox. Luis Alvarado was 21 years and 82 days old when the Sox opened the 1970 season at New York against the Yankees.
Other notes: Sale was 4-1 with a 2.66 ERA in six starts against the Rays last season and is 6-1 with a 2.38 ERA against them in eight starts over the last two years. … Chris Archer is 2-12 with a 5.45 ERA in 19 career starts against the Red Sox. He is 49-51, 3.42 against other teams. … This is the 118th season for the Sox, the 20th for the Rays. … The Sox were 11-8 against Tampa Bay last season.