Luis Patiño is slated to make his third start of the season tonight. (Photo Credit: Tampa Bay Rays)

After opening a three-game set in Kansas City with a 7-3 win over the Royals, the Tampa Bay Rays look to continue their winning ways tonight.

At 52-41 on the season, the Rays enter play a season-high-matching 11 games over .500 (for the first time since June 9) with 69 games left to play. They have won seven of their last eight games, and have scored at least five runs in 11 of 18 July contests. For context, they’re 33-6 this season when scoring five or more runs.

Drew Rasmussen got the start Friday and gave up one earned run on seven hits and a walk while striking out four over five innings. Rasmussen looked good in his first start back after the All-Star Break, holding the Royals to only one run over five innings of work on 94 pitches (55 strikes, 59% strike rate). He has been solid since coming back from a hamstring injury at the beginning of July, boasting a 2.29 ERA in four starts this month. The 26-year-old right-hander has excellent spin on his fastball and opponents are only hitting .228 on his heater so far this season. All told, the right-hander maintains a 3.13 ERA and 3.64 FIP, with a 1.18 WHIP, and a 3.00 K/BB across 77.2 innings.

The Rays offense took advantage of eight free passes, although given that they went 3-for-14 wRISP (.214 wRISP BA), they actually could have done a more damage against the Royals. Be that as it may, they defeated a team the should have.

Tampa Bay broke a 0-0 deadlock in the top of the third after Brett Phillips led off the frame with a walk. Phillips moved up to third on a single to center, by Brandon Lowe, that Michael A Taylor bobbled for an error. He scored on Randy Arozarena’s groundout to first.

Tied at 1-1, the Rays took the lead for good in the fourth inning. Isaac Paredes walked before Josh Lowe singled to left. Both runners were also able to advance into scoring position on a wild pitch. After Taylor Walls flew out to left, Francisco Mejía followed with an infield hit off the glove of pitcher Brad Keller, putting Tampa Bay up by a run. Brett Phillips had to work around a weird nose bleed situation, on the part of Keller, to walk the bases full, before Yandy Díaz doubled down the left field line, clearing the bases for a four-run advantage.

Brooks Raley worked around a pair of hits in a scoreless frame in relief of Rasmussen. However, the Royals cut into the Rays’ lead with Pete Fairbanks on the mound in the seventh.

MJ Melendez led off the rally with a single to left on a 100 mile mph Fairbanks fastball. Bobby Witt Jr. followed with a base hit off the glove of a diving Taylor Walls at short, allowing Melendez to go from first to third. After Witt swiped second, Melendez scored on Andrew Benintendi’s groundout to second, making it 5-2. Hunter Dozier hit a sac-fly to center on the next pitch. Yet, Tampa Bay’s pitching staff quieted the Royals from then on.

They also got those runs back against reliever Josh Staumont in the eighth inning after Walls walked on four pitches, and scored from first on Mejía’s double into the right-field corner. B. Lowe also hit an RBI single to center, capping the scoring.

Colin Poche worked a perfect, 1-2-3 eighth, while Shawn Armstrong worked around a one-out single in the ninth to close out the contest.

The New What Next

Luis Patiño (0-1, 6.75 ERA) will get the start Saturday, pitching opposite Brady Singer (4-3, 4.02 ERA).

Luis Patiño made his first appearance since the opening home stand two Fridays ago against Baltimore and performed reasonably well, allowing two runs on four hits, a walk, and a hit batsman across 3.1 innings. He threw 38 of 57 pitches for strikes (67% strike rate), however, he only coaxed two swings and misses. In the first inning, Patiño worked out of a bases-loaded jam before he put together an efficient 1-2-3 second. But, Trey Mancini hit a one-out, 1-0 cutter in the third inning, before Ramón Urías hit a one-out homer on a cutter an inning later, chasing the right-hander. Patiño maintains a 6.75 ERA and 11.12 FIP, with a 0.00 K/BB, and a 1.50 WHIP across 4.0 innings.

Brady Singer gave up up one run on seven hits with six strikeouts and a season high five walks over six innings on July 12 against Detroit. The right-hander had traffic on the bases all day, yet Harold Castro’s sacrifice fly during the first inning was all Detroit was able to muster off him. All told, Singer has performed to a 4.02 ERA and a 4.11 FIP, with a 3.83 K/BB, and a 1.24 WHIP across 71.2 innings. He relies primarily on a 94 mph sinker and an 85 mph slider that has some two-plane movement, while also mixing in a firm 87 mph changeup that has a lot of backspin. Key Matchup: Taylor Walls (1-2, BB)

You can read about the series in our preview, while te starting lineup and Noteworthiness are below.

Rays 7/23/22 Starting Lineup

  1. Díaz 3B
  2. B. Lowe 2B
  3. Raley LF
  4. Choi 1B
  5. Walls SS
  6. J. Lowe DH
  7. Mejía C
  8. Phillips CF
  9. Quinn RF


— Rays injury update:

Nick Anderson made his first rehab appearance in the Florida Complex League on Friday. His velocity hit 94 mph, which is a positive sign according to Rays Skipper Kevin Cash.

JT Chargois, Yonny Chirinos, and Brendan McKay also threw scoreless frames in an FCL contest on Saturday. It was the second appearance for Chirinos.