The Tampa Bay Rays offense woke up on Tuesday. (Photo Credit: X-Rays Spex)

Shane McClanahan put up the second consecutive quality start for the Rays, while Tampa Bay’s bats woke up en route to an easy 8-1 victory over the Tigers.

At 22-15 on the season, the Rays enter the series finale Wednesday seven games above .500 with a chance to match their high-water mark with a win.

Shane McClanahan got the start Tuesday and posted seven strong frames for the third time this season, and a second consecutive start, allowing just a run on four hits while striking out seven. The left-hander threw 63 of 90 pitches for strikes (70% strike rate) and coaxed 18 whiffs. The only damage McClanahan incurred came on Jeimer Candelario’s first-pitch homer to lead off the fifth inning. He maintains a 2.33 ERA and a 0.86 WHIP on the season, with a 6.50 K/BB across 46.1 innings.

Meanwhile, the Rays had a three-run lead before Candelario’s home run, having scored single tallies in the first, second, and fourth innings off starter Beau Brieske. In the first inning, Yandy Diaz punched a base hit into left-center, moved up to third on a one-out hit by Harold Ramirez, and scored on Ji-Man Choi’s groundout to first.

Tampa Bay tacked on another run in the second inning when Kevin Kiermaier lashed a leadoff homer to right. Then, two innings later, Randy Arozarena reached on a fielder’s choice, moved into scoring position on a balk, and came home on Kiermaier’s RBI knock to center.

The Rays rallied for three more runs in the fifth inning against Briske. Brett Phillips homered for the second consecutive night. After being mired in a 1-25 stretch, Phillips now has four hits over the last two games. Diaz, Ramirez, and Choi singled in the frame to plate a second run, while Arozarena capped the three-run rally on a sac-fly.

Arozarena became the third outfielder to pop a homer on the night when he took Will Vest deep to center. Finally, Phillips capped the scoring on a line-drive sac-fly to right. Tampa Bay ended the offensive onslaught with 11 hits.

The New What Next

Drew Rasmussen (3-1, 2.67 ERA) will get the start in the series finale pitching opposite Eduardo Rodriguez (1-2, 3.72 ERA).

Drew Rasmussen got the start against the Blue Jays and allowed just one run on three hits and a walk across 5.2 innings on 78 pitches (51 strikes, 65% strike rate). He struck out one. It was Rasmussen’s fourth consecutive start where he gave up a run or fewer. The right-hander has only completed six innings once in his seven turns this season, yet he has had an outstanding start to the 2022 campaign as he continues to draw weak contact out of hitters. Through 33.2 innings, Rasmussen has performed to a 2.67 ERA and 3.10 FIP, with a 0.92 WHIP and a 3.38 K/BB.

Eduardo Rodriguez allowed five hits and four walks over 6.2 scoreless innings on Friday against the Orioles. He struck out three. It wasn’t his sharpest effort, yet Rodriguez tossed 72 of 104 pitches for strikes (69% strike rate) despite the elevated walk total and all of Baltimore’s hits off him were singles. The 29-year-old has delivered quality starts in four of his last five outings, leading to a 3.72 ERA and 3.87 FIP, with a 1.19 WHIP on the season, but his 21.0% strikeout rate and 9.3% walk rate will both be the worst marks of his career if they don’t improve. He relies primarily on a 93 mph four-seam fastball that has some natural sinking action and an 89 mph cutter that has strong cutting action, while also mixing in a firm 86 mph changeup, a 93 mph sinker that has some natural sinking action, and an 82 mph slider that has some two-plane movement. Rodriguez is 2-4 with a 5.21 ERA in 13 career starts against the Rays. Key Matchups: Randy Arozarena (4-11, 2B), Yandy Diaz (7-17, 2B, 2 BB), Brandon Lowe (4-13, 3 HR, 4 RBI), Francisco Mejia (2-5, RBI, BB), Mike Zunino (4-11, 2B, 3B, HR, 3 RBI, 2 BB)

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

Rays 5/18/22 Starting Lineup

  1. Díaz 1B
  2. Franco SS
  3. Ramirez DH
  4. Arozarena LF
  5. Mejía C
  6. Paredes 3B
  7. Brujan RF
  8. Walls 2B
  9. Phillips CF


— Phoenix Sanders (low back spasms) has been activated from the 15-day Injured List and optioned to Triple-A Durham. JT Chargois and Chris Mazza threw an inning in extended Spring Training on Tuesday, and are expected to join Durham on Wednesday.