Day game after a night game. The day after the Rays squandered a three-run advantage, only to retake the lead with two outs in the top of the ninth, Tampa Bay looks to sweep the Royals this afternoon in Kansas City.
The Rays collected their second consecutive one-run victory last night. Kelvin Herrera, who allowed just one run this season, took the mound the ninth for Kansas City with the game tied at five. Johnny Field, who entered for the injured Carlos Gomez, singled to center, before Jesus Sucre came up with his first, and arguably biggest, hit of the night — a single to right, moving Field up to second. After Denard Span lined out to center, and C.J. Cron popped out to right, Joey Wendle lashed a two-out single to left, scoring Field for the go ahead lead.
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) May 16, 2018
The Rays put the lead-off man on base in the first, third, sixth and ninth innings, and scored in each frame.
Meanwhile, Anthony Banda, who was acquired from Arizona in the Steven Souza Jr. trade, made his Rays debut. Banda efficiently cruised through the Royals lineup, setting a quick pace and inducing lots of contact — prior to the fifth inning he had struck out only one batter. But it appeared that the wheels might fall off for the southpaw in that frame. As Banda pounded the zone, the Royals began to hit squibbers that found holes.
A pair of leadoff singles and a sacrifice bunt later, Kansas City had runners on second and third with just one out. Banda came back and coaxed a soft grounder to short out of Ryan Goins that was scored as an RBI fielder’s choice. The next batter, Whit Merrifield, sent a liner to left that dropped just in front of Span, who struggled with the ball. Merrifield tried to stretch his single into a double, and Span gunned him down at second. The Rays got out of the inning with the lead, yet the Royals cut the deficit to one. Kansas City later tied the game against the tandem of Jose Alvarado and Sergio Romo.
That’s not to say Banda performed poorly, because he didn’t. The left-hander went five innings, and didn’t walk a batter. He struck out one and threw just 52 pitches (38 strikes, 73% strike ratio), although he allowed three runs on six hits. He will remain with the team, although it is not clear whether he will get the start on Sunday on normal rest.
The New What Next
The Rays will go for the sweep of Kansas City on Wednesday afternoon, their first in over six years. Jake Faria (3–2, 5.09 ERA) will get the start for Tampa Bay, pitching opposite of former Ray Jason Hammel (0–4, 6.13 ERA).
Jake Faria took a loss against the Orioles on Friday, after he coughed up seven runs on eight hits and a walk over six-plus innings. He struck out three. The right-hander would have come away with a quality start if he’d exited after six innings, but Faria instead came out for the seventh and, after a solo homer by Mark Trumbo, loaded the bases with nobody out on a single, a hit by pitch and a walk before getting the hook in favor of Ryne Stanek, who served up a grand slam to Manny Machado. Previous to that outing, Faria threw three quality starts in four tries, including a dominant 8 IP/3 H performance against Detroit two turns ago.
Jason Hammel, the former Ray, allowed nine runs over 3-2/3 innings in his last start against Cleveland, four of which were scored in the first inning. He is still searching for his first win of the season, and has posted just three quality starts of his eight total. The scouting report on Hammel: this season he has relied primarily on his 92 mph sinker with two plane movement and an 85 mph slider, while also mixing in a 92 mph four-seam fastball, a 78 mph curveball with sharp downward bite and glove side movement, and a firm 86 mph changeup with slight arm side fade. He is 2-3 with a 4.89 ERA in seven career starts against his former team. Key Matchups: Matt Duffy (1-2), Brad Miller (2-8, HR, 2 RBI), Wilson Ramos (4-12, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB), Mallex Smith (2-2)
You can read about the series in our preview.
Rays 5/16/18 Starting Lineup
— As I mentioned above, Carlos Gomez, along with Matt Duffy, was pulled from last night’s game.
Some injury updates:
▪INF Matt Duffy exited with right hamstring tightness
▪OF Carlos Gómez exited with right groin tightness
Both are day-to-day.
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) May 16, 2018
Following the game, Duffy said he didn’t think hamstring issue will land him on the disabled list, although he figures to be out Wednesday and possibly Thursday. Gomez doesn’t know how long he will be our since he has never had groin issues before.
— Johnny Venters was credited with the win last night, his first in 2,096 games.
— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) May 16, 2018