The Tampa Bay Rays will try bounce back from a string of tough losses on Saturday, when they face the Mariners in the second game of a three-game set at the Trop. For all of their offensive struggles and woes — and trust me, there have been many — the Rays are STILL relevant in the AL Wildcard chase, albeit less so; just three-games out of the second slot with 38 games left to play.
We all know the culprits, and to be fair the Rays have been tough to watch in August.
— The Process Report (@processreport) August 19, 2017
Nevertheless, it is absolutely incumbent on Tampa Bay to string together some wins and fast, as they have seen their odds of a playoff berth drop precipitously over the last few weeks — from 45% in late July to 8% now. In short, with a glut of teams that haven’t been able to run away with the final Wildcard spot, a postseason is still attainable assuming, the bats can wake up, although it’s certainly not imminent.
…Waiting for the great leap forward, I’d reckon.
The New What Next
With an eye toward continuing where he left off in his last start, Jake Odorizzi (6-6, 4.30 ERA, 5.64 FIP) will take the mound tonight, pitching opposite of Ariel Miranda (7-6, 4.75 ERA, 5.43 FIP).
Odorizzi was solid in his last start against Toronto and buckled down to control his stuff after allowing a first-inning home run. This was a good sign for the right-hander that is coming off back-to-back short outings. Odorizzi gave up a two-run homer to Josh Donaldson in the first inning, but cruised to a quality start through the next five frames. Unfortunately the Rays couldn’t come to life against Nick Tepesch, dropping Odorizzi to his sixth loss of the season.
Miranda is 0-2 with a 7.23 ERA over his past seven starts. He has given up 12 home runs over that stretch. The southpaw threw a complete-game victory against Tampa Bay on June 4 in Seattle, scattering just four hits and one run with nine strikeouts. That was the only time Tampa Bay has faced Miranda. Key Matchups: Trevor Plouffe (1-2), Daniel Robertson (1-3, 3B), Steven Souza Jr. (1-4)
Rays 8/19/17 Starting Lineup
— With Evan Longoria getting a DH day, and back in the third spot in the order, Trevor Plouffe (I know, ugh) will take over at third base tonight, hitting seventh.
— Rays skipper Kevin Cash said the Outlaw will be the primary leadoff hitter pretty much fulltime from here on out. As for Longoria, the experiment with him in the two hole is over, and he will hit out of his normal spot from now on.
— Matt Andriese (right hip) was struck on the left ankle Friday by a comebacker on the second pitch of his rehab start with Class-A Charlotte. He left the game, walking to the clubhouse without a limp … although in a walking boot. Andriese said his left leg, where he took the line drive, is sore. He will play catch this afternoon with a bullpen session scheduled for Sunday. The right-hander is expected to make his next rehab start five days from now (Thursday, August 25).
— Cash said Cobb looked good during live batting practice this afternoon.
— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) August 19, 2017
He will forgo a rehab stint and likely will return to the rotation during the next series against Toronto. The team will announce today where he slots in.