A day after they won a franchise-record six consecutive series to open the 2019 season, the Tampa Bay Rays look for a sweep of the Baltimore Orioles tonight.
As Neil Solondz (Rays Radio) wrote, the Rays are one of just seven AL East teams since expansion in 1969 to start the season 14-4 or better. Tampa Bay has won eight of the team’s last nine games, outscoring opponents 59-24.
Tampa Bay beat the Orioles 8-1, thanks in part to a triplet of home runs by Brandon Lowe, Ji-Man Choi and Yandy Diaz, and solid pitching.
And, well, this happened too.
The New What Next
Hunter Wood (0-0, 0.00 ERA) will open today, and will either be followed by Ryan Yarbough (2-1, 4.82 ERA) or Jalen Beeks (0-0, 3.18 ERA). They’ll be opposed by Andrew Cashner (3-1, 5.31).
Wood will be making his third appearance of the season. So far, he hasn’t relinquished a run in four innings, allowing four hits while striking out five.
Ryan Yarbrough picked up the win after tossing two scoreless frames and striking out one on Friday. The southpaw was efficient on the mound, needing just 16 total pitches (12 strikes) to get through six batters. Yarbrough was coming off a disastrous outing Saturday against San Francisco (allowing four runs allowed across three innings) but managed to get back on track in the 11-7 victory.
Andrew Cashner is going for his fourth straight win of the season, following his most recent victory on Saturday against Boston, when the right-hander allowed three runs on three hits and three walks across five innings of work. Cashner relies primarily on his 94 mph four-seam fastball and an 86 mph cutter with heavy sink and strong cutting action, while also mixing in an 84 mph changeup, a firm 81 mph curveball with slight glove-side movement, and a 92 mph two-seam sinker with little sinking action. The right-hander is 2-1 with a 4.13 ERA in four career starts against the Rays, and 2-1 with a 3.46 ERA at Tropicana Field. Key Matchups: Guillermo Heredia (2-8, 2B, 2 BB), Kevin Kiermaier (2-6), Michael Perez (1-4, RBI), Daniel Robertson (3-4, 2B, RBI, BB)
You can read about the series in our preview.
Rays 4/18/19 Starting Lineup
- Meadows RF
- Pham LF
- Choi 1B
- Diaz DH
- Lowe 2B
- Zunino C
- Kiermaier CF
- Robertson 3B
- Adames SS
- Wood RHP
– The Rays have outscored their opponents 21-3 in the first inning.
– They also have held the opposition to two runs or fewer in 12 of 18 games.
– Per Solondz, Tommy Pham will look to start a new streak today after his franchise-record 48-game on-base streak was snapped yesterday. The Rays are now 40–16 in games Pham has started since coming over from St Louis.
– Kevin Kiermaier finds himself in the midst of a 10-game hit streak. He also has 10 extra-base hits this year.
– Joey Wendle will begin his rehab stint in an extended spring training game today for the Rays. Wendle got five at-bats in an extended game yesterday. If all goes as planned, Wendle could be activated this weekend against Boston.