The Rays will play one more in Cobb County before they head home.

After a rather ugly 9-0 loss in Cobb County on Saturday, the Tampa Bay Rays will look for a series win in the rubber match of the set this afternoon.

At 54-38 on the season, Tampa Bay enters the series finale 16-games over .500 and 1.5 games behind Boston in the division, after Gerrit Cole the Yankees defeated the Red Sox in a rain-shortened contest in New York, 3-1.

The Rays have won seven of the last 10 contests, however, they have dropped 11 of the last 13 road games.

In injury news, Chris Archer made his first rehab start in Durham on Sunday, throwing 1.2 innings of two-run ball, allowing three hits, and walking none while striking out a pair. Archer threw 39 pitches, of which 26 went for strikes (81% strike rate). If he stays on a five-day schedule, the right-hander lines up to pitch again on Thursday, July 22 vs. Charlotte.

The New What Next

Rich Hill (6-4, 3.74 ERA) will get the start this afternoon, pitching opposite of former Rays southpaw Drew Smyly (7-3, 4.48 ERA).

Rich Hill allowed three runs on four hits and three walks while striking out two in five innings on Sunday against Toronto. The southpaw gave up a solo home run to Danny Jansen in the third inning, and Toronto was able to scrape together another pair of runs in the fourth, which was enough to stick Hill with the loss — running his winless streak to three starts. The 41-year-old closed the first half of the season maintaining a 3.74 ERA and a, 0.00 FIP 1.13 WHIP, and 2.56 K/BB across 91.1 innings. Hill is 5-0 with a sparkling 1.74 ERA in nine career outings (seven starts) against Atlanta.

Drew Smyly allowed three runs on nine hits and three walks while recording four strikeouts across five innings against the Pirates two Wednesdays ago. All three runs came via a first-inning, three-run homer by Jacob Stallings. Though Smyly dealt with plenty of traffic on the bases, he held the Pirates scoreless in the next four innings to cap off an 88-pitch outing. The former has earned the win in five consecutive starts and has yielded three runs or fewer in seven straight. Even so, Smyly maintains a 4.48 ERA and a 5.19 FIP on the season, with a 1.35 WHIP and a 2.43 K/BB across 78.1 innings. He is 1-1 with a 4.96 ERA in six career outings (three starts) against the Rays.

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

Rays 7/18/21 Starting Lineup

  1. Bruján 2B
  2. Díaz 1B
  3. Franco SS
  4. Arozarena RF
  5. Lowe LF
  6. Zunino C
  7. Wendle 3B
  8. Kiermaier CF
  9. Hill LHP

Noteworthiness

— In the sage words of Neil Solondz (Rays Radio), “If Tampa Bay can take an early lead today, they also have three high leverage relievers in Collin McHugh, Andrew Kittredge and Diego Castillo who have yet to pitch, and Pete Fairbanks threw just eight pitches on Friday.”

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