Tampa Bay was able to salvage the third game of the three game set against the Bronx Bummers Sunday, following a seven run, seven hit Shellacking of Grimmace and the New York Yankees, handily winning by an 8-3 score. The five-through-nine hitters impressively accounted for most of the Rays offense, combining to go 5-for-12 against CC, while driving in seven of the Rays eight runs.
James Loney tagged Grimmace for a two-run blast to right-center, while Sean Rodriguez also went yard against the swarthy LHP, taking him deep along the left-field line, plating Longo along the way. Desmond Jennings joined in on the fun in the eighth inning, plating a run on an RBI double off Yankees reliever David Huff.
Alex Cobb was outstanding, putting together an 8-1/3 one-run, five hit, outing, striking out seven Yanks along the way.
Cesar Ramos made things interesting in the ninth inning in relief of Cobb. With one out and one on, Ramos loaded the bases and ultimately gave up a two-run double to center. The Bulldog — Joel Peralta — came on to clean up Ramos’ mess. He was able to strikeout the final two Yankees hitters, and subsequently locked down the victory. Tampa Bay will open a four game — multi city — interleague series against the Marlins, starting Monday.
Rays Hitters Vs. the Marlins Series Starters
Jose Fernandez: Per Rotowire, “Fernandez tossed five innings of one-run ball Tuesday, giving up five hits and a walk while striking out just two Phillies.” The Rays will face the Marlins uber prospect Monday when he butt’s heads with Jake Odorizzi. Per the Scouting Book, Fernandez is, “A righthander most thought was taken a bit high in the first round of 2011’s amateur draft, Miami’s Jose Fernandez proved to be worth every penny, and he’s now the highest-quality arm in a system that’s desperate for pitching depth. The big Cuban defector chased big money all the way to Miami, braving sharks both literal and metaphorical, and has since hit 99mph on the radar gun and shown signs of a plus breaking pitch.”
Kevin Slowey: Per Rotowire, “Slowey (back) completed a bullpen session Saturday and has been cleared to start Tuesday against the Rays, the Miami Herald reports.” Tampa Bay last faced Slowey in 2010, tagging him for four runs on four hits in 7-2/3 innings of work. Since then, only a handful of Rays have accrued any playing time against the Marlins RHP. Posting a combined .333 BA/.381 OBP/.513 SLG/.894 OPS slash line, the sample size of at-bats against Slowey is tiny at best. Key match-ups: Kelly Johnson (2-4, 2B, RBI), Jose Molina (2-4, 2B), Sean Rodriguez (2-3), Luke Scott (3-6, 2B, RBI, BB).
Tom Koehler: Per Rotowire, “Koehler chipped in another quality start Friday, allowing three runs on six hits while walking one and striking out three over six innings, but was left with no decision in Miami’s 4-3 loss to the White Sox in 11 innings.” Koehler is another young starter for the Marlins who the Rays have never faced. Koehler has a good four seam fastball and a curveball that he’s not afraid to use in any count. He tends to throw his changeup sparingly against left handed batters, while not at all against righties. He’s been beat up with his cutter, having been tagged for eight hits (five singles, two doubles, and a homer) in 13 at-bats.
Ricky Nolasco: Per Rotowire, “Nolasco held the White Sox to one run on eight hits over 7.2 innings Saturday but did not factor into the decision.” Simply put, the Rays love facing Nolasco. Over the last three years, Nolasco has put together an 0-3 record against the Rays, with an 8.78 ERA. Tampa Bay has tagged him for 13 runs on 23 hits — including four homers — in 13-1/3 total innings of work. The current Rays have posted a combined .298 BA/.346 OBP/.521 SLG/.867 OPS slash line, with a handful of batters having particularly good numbers against Nolasco. Key match-ups: Yunel Escobar (10-27, 3 2B, HR, 3 RBI), Matt Joyce (2-3, 2B, HR, 3 RBI, BB), Jose Lobaton (2-3, 2 2B), Ryan Roberts (1-2, BB), Ben Zobrist (4-7, 2B, RBI, BB).
- The Marlins (13-37) are the worst team in MLB, having lost 12 of their past 14 games, and scoring a major league low 132 runs. They come into the Trop Monday banged up with three pivotal players on the DL: OF Giancarlo Stanton, 1B Casey Kotchman and 1B Logan Morrison.
- The Rays went 5-1 against the Marlins in 2012, having won nine of the past 10. Though the Marlins lead the overall series 43-42, the Rays are 23-18 at Tropicana Field, including 11-4 since 2008.
- The Marlins have dropped five straight after scoring seven runs over the weekend in a three-game set against the White Sox.
- The front two games of the series will take place at Tropicana Field, while the last two will take place at that Carnival Cruise Lines-like facility in Miami.