After an 12-1 lashing of the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday, the Tampa Bay Rays look to win another series tonight at the Trop. At 22-12 on the season, Tampa Bay can move 11 games over .500 with a win.
The Rays enter the day 5-2 in Interleague play; a season ago they went 7-13. Their 12 runs scored last night was a season high, thanks in part to Tommy Pham, who went 2-for-4 with a run, fur runs batted in, a walk, and a second inning grand slam — the first of his career — which blew the game wide open.
In 29 previous plate appearances with the bases loaded, Pham posted a .320 batting average with 21 runs batted in, yet all the damage was done without the benefit of a grand slam.
He’s a huge presence in our lineup. He can do damage with base hits, with the high average. He can do damage hitting balls in gaps. Knock them out of the ballpark. He works pitchers, he draws walks. He does everything.— Kevin Cash
All told, the Rays went 5-for-11 wRISP (.455 BA) and scored nine two-out runs.
Meanwhile, Blake Snell bounced back from a pair of tough outings and cruised to his third win of the season. Snell gave up just one hit and no walks while striking out nine across six scoreless innings. The southpaw induced 19 swinging strikes (61 strikes overall, a 71% strike rate and a 31% SwStr%) on 86 total pitches. It was a phenomenal performance by Snell, who posted a 12.79 ERA in his first two starts since returning from the IL because of a fractured toe. He is now 3-3 on the season with a respectable 3.62 ERA and 5.56 K/BB over seven starts this season.
The New What Next
Ryne Stanek (0-1, 2.81 ERA) will open for the Rays, and will be followed by bulk inning guy Jalen Beeks (1-0, 2.45 ERA) . They will pitch opposite of
Taylor Clarke (0–0 0.00).
Ryne Stanek has not pitched since Wednesday, when he allowed three runs in Kansas City. Those, however, are the only runs that the right-hander has allowed in the opener roll this season in his first eight appearances.
Jalen Beeks fired off 6-2/3 scoreless frames on Wednesday, allowing a hit, two walks, and a hit batsman. He fanned six. Beeks turned in a highly impressive performance after the opener, Ryne Stanek, gave up three earned runs over his sole inning of work. Beeks has excelled in the “bulk guy” role in two consecutive appearances, also blanking the Royals across 4-2/3 innings on April 23, racking up seven strikeouts along the way. The southpaw has put up good numbers, sporting an outstanding 2.45 ERA, a 1.21 WHIP, and a 2.6 K/BB across 25-2/3 innings of work.
Taylor Clarke will make his first career big-league start Tuesday. This season, Clarke tossed three scoreless innings to in relief. He has a mediocre 4.40 career ERA in 38 starts for Triple-A Reno and an ugly 7.65 ERA over four starts for the Aces … although that figure is heavily skewed by a bad outing against El Paso. The right-hander doesn’t have a true put-away pitch and needs to keep batters off balance in order to be successful. Clarke relies primarily on a whiffy 94 mph four-seam fastball and a firm 87 mph changeup, while also mixing in a 78 mph 12-6 curveball with sharp downward bite, an 86 mph slider, and a whiffy 94 mph sinker.
You can read about the series in our preview, while the starting lineup and Noteworthiness are below.
Rays 5/7/19 Starting Lineup
- B. Lowe RF
- Pham LF
- Choi DH
- Diaz 3B
- N. Lowe 1B
- Robertson 2B
- Kiermaier CF
- Adames SS
- Perez C
- Stanek Right-Handed Opener
— Austin Meadows (thumb sprain) worked out with the team yesterday with the plan of doing so again today. If all goes well, he could then go out on rehab for Tampa Bay.
— Hunter Wood (right shoulder soreness) continues to play catch, and is hopeful about rejoining the Rays when he’s eligible to come off the IL.
— Brandon Lowe enters play today in the midst of a 10-game hit streak.