After a disappointing 9-6 loss in Detroit on Tuesday, the Tampa Bay Rays look to bounce back against the Tigers tonight. Tampa Bay has now lost four consecutive games for just the second time this season. Along the way, they have allowed five runs or more in each of the last four ballgames (29 runs overall).
We’re in a rough stretch right now. We’re not playing very good baseball. We’re not giving ourselves the best chance to go out there. From offense to defense to pitching. All of it.— Kevin Cash
The spate of poor play has coincided with Tommy Pham not being in the lineup. Per Neil Solondz (Rays Radio), the Rays since acquiring Pham last year are 61-31 when he plays.
Tampa Bay did get Avisail Garcia back yesterday, and he responded by hitting a two-run homer to right.
In the eighth inning, Willy Adames got the Rays back in the ballgame with a plus-420 foot grand slam to center — his first career grand slam, and his fifth homer of the season.
I feel like I’m getting my timing back. Just trying to help the team to win.— Willy Adames
Still, the run production wasn’t enough to compensate for a bad start by Blake Snell.
Snell allowed a run in the first inning, yet it appeared that he had settled in after escaping a two-on, one-out jam in the second. The left-hander struck out eight and continued to pound the strike zone (65 of his 95 pitches landed for strikes, 68% strike rate), but the Tigers started a rally in the fifth inning with three consecutive one-out hits which were followed by a walk. Miguel Cabrera capped the inning with a grand slam, knocking Snell out of the game.
It was the was first time the Rays hit and allowed grand slam in same game since September 25, 2007 versus the Yankees (Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Velandia).
Moving forward, it is possible that Pham could return to the lineup from what has been described as a minimal calf strain which was initially said to be a cramp.
He was much better (Tuesday). Tommy’s chomping at the bit wanting to play. We need to be responsible. … We’ve had our issues with calf injuries in the past and they’re a little tricky and the last thing we want to do is re-aggravate it. … He still feels it a little bit.— Kevin Cash
If not today, he should be in the lineup tomorrow.
The New What Next
Charlie Morton (6-0, 2.54 ERA) will start for the Rays tonight, pitching opposite of Spencer Turnbull (3-4, 2.84 ERA).
Charlie Morton had more than enough run support on Thursday, and he responded by allowing two runs on four hits and no walks across seven innings on an efficient 87 pitches (62 strikes, 71% strike rate). He struck out six. Morton pitched to the minimum, allowing just one hit across the first four frames before the Twins got on the board in the fifth inning on a two-out single by Ehire Adrianza. Minnesota pushed across another run in the sixth inning on Max Kepler’s groundout. Morton likely could have gone deeper into the game, although the lopsided score allowed Kevin Cash to give Adam Kolarek and Oliver Drake a little work in the eighth and ninth innings. Consecutive quality starts have Morton’s ERA at an excellent 2.54 heading into his next scheduled start against Detroit.
Spencer Turnbull allowed one run on five hits and a walk while striking out two over six innings on Friday. Turnbull surrendered his only run of the night in the third inning on a groundout to short, and it was smooth sailing from there. Following Friday’s impressive start, Turnbull sports a 2.84 ERA and 1.26 WHIP with a 2.91 K/BB through 66-2/3 innings this season. He relies primarily on a whiffy 94 mph four-seam fastball with heavy sinking action, and a hard 87 mph worm-killer slider with two-plane movement, while also mixing in a 95 mph sinker with natural sinking action, and an 80 mph curveball with sharp downward bite. Turnbull has never faced the Rays.
You can read about the series in our preview, while the starting lineup and Noteworthiness are below.
Rays 6/5/19 Starting Lineup
- Meadows LF
- Diaz 3B
- B. Lowe RF
- Garcia DH
- Choi 1B
- Adames SS
- Kiermaier CF
- Zunino C
- Arroyo 2B
- Morton RHP
— Joey Wendle (broken wrist) worked out with the Charlotte Stone Crabs yesterday and could play in his first rehab game today. Wendle is likely about a week or so away.
— Michael Perez (oblique) started his rehab assignment with the Stone Crabs on Tuesday and will be there “for a little bit,’’ said Kevin Cash.
He still feels it, he’s trying to manage it.— Kevin Cash
— The Rays’ flash sale of $5.00 tickets will continue through 11:59 p.m. Thursday. They can be purchased at raysbaseball.com/specials. The sale, which launched Tuesday morning, includes 5,000 tickets for June 10-12 series against the Athletics and the June 13-14 ballgames against the Angels. As of writing, the $5.00 tickets for 6/14 game are sold out, however, tickets remain for the other games.