The Tampa Bay Rays look for their second consecutive series win this afternoon in Seattle. (Photo Credit: Rickie Dixon)

After falling to the Mariners on Saturday, 8-3, the Tampa Bay Rays look to cap their six-game western road trip with a win Sunday afternoon, in Seattle.

At 57-29 on the season, the Rays enter play 28 games over .500, and 6.5 games up on the second-place Orioles in the division.

Prior to the start of Saturday’s contest, the Rays placed Shane McClanahan on the 15-Day Injured List due to mid-back tightness. The team did so after the left-hander reported tightness during a second straight abbreviated outing, on Friday. With the July 10-13 All-Star Break just around the corner, McClanahan could miss just one start assuming he returns as planned on July 16, in Kansas City. He also will miss a likely second consecutive All-Star Game appearance. To take his place on the roster, Tampa Bay recalled reliever Jalen Beeks.

Rays skipper Kevin Cash said it was “a pretty easy decision” based on the calendar.

This is the second time in his last two starts that he’s felt it, so figured we can just take the time to calm it down. We’re not overly concerned. The only thing we’re concerned or trying to prevent is him altering his delivery to alleviate any type of pain or discomfort that he’s having.

— Kevin Cash

McClanahan said he agreed with the decision and plans to do what it takes to address the issue.

As frustrated as I am, yeah, I think it’s the right move. Obviously you never want to go on the IL. But with the fact that I’m only going to miss one start, it’s one of those things where it’s never a good time, but I guess it’s the best possible time. I felt like I could have kept going (Friday). But I guess this is the time to go and get things right. I wasn’t feeling 100%.

…Rest, rehab, treatment and hammer out some mechanical stuff that’s maybe contributing to it. We’re going to get this ship right.

— Shane McClanahan

While McClanahan’s fastball velocity was back in the upper 90s, he didn’t look comfortable or sharp on Friday, especially in a messy four-run second inning. He was pulled from the contest after the third inning, having thrown 66 pitches to get nine outs.

Beeks had been a part of Tampa Bay’s relief corps all season, logging a 2-3 record, with a 5.82 ERA and a 1.44 WHIP through 34.0 innings until being optioned to Triple-A Durham on June 14. He pitched three times for the Bulls and allowed four runs in four innings. The results on Saturday, when he returned to the mound for the Rays, weren’t much better; Beeks allowed three runs (all earned) on three hits and a walk while striking out one across 1.1 innings. Beeks now maintains a 6.37 ERA and a 4.36 FIP across 35.1 frames, with a 1.50 WHIP, and a 1.95 K/BB.

Beeks took over for Tyler Glasnow, who allowed three runs on seven hits and a walk while striking out 11 over 5.2 innings on 102 pitches (68 strikes, 67% strike rate, 23 swinging strikes, 23% SwStr%). This was the right-hander’s second-longest outing of the season, and Glasnow has racked up double-digit strikeouts in each of his last two starts. Glasnow’s posted a strong 3.73 K/BB over 36 innings so far, but his 4.50 ERA (which is belied by a 3.67 FIP) and 1.33 WHIP remain relatively pedestrian.

Second baseman Brandon Lowe (herniated disc) went 2-4, including an RBI double, in the third of four scheduled rehab games for Triple-A Durham. If all goes as planned, Lowe should return from the IL on Tuesday vs. the Phillies.

The New What Next

Taj Bradley (5-4, 4.58 ERA, 3.69 FIP) will get the start in the series finale this afternoon, pitching opposite Luis Castillo (5-6, 2.86 ERA, 3.76 FIP).

Taj Bradley allowed seven runs (six earned) on seven hits and a walk while striking out two over four innings, on Tuesday versus the Diamondbacks. Bradley was tagged for four home runs, which accounted for all but one of the runs on his line. He’d given up just three homers across his previous seven outings combined, and he’s generally done a good job of keeping the ball in the park with a 1.5 HR/9 even after Tuesday’s slugfest. Bradley now owns a 4.58 ERA and a 3.69 FIP, with a 1.26 WHIP, and a 4.56 K/BB through 53 innings (11 starts).

Luis Castillo allowed three runs (two earned) on seven hits and one walk while striking out seven batters over seven innings on Monday. Castillo allowed a solo homer in each of the first and second innings but settled down thereafter and finished his outing by retiring the final seven batters in order. The right-hander racked up an impressive 17 swinging strikes and tied his season high by completing seven frames. Though the veteran’s record is just 5-6 on the season, he’s been very effective with a 2.86 ERA and a 3.76 FIP, with a 1.06 WHIP, and a 3.86 K/BB over 94.1 innings. Castillo relies primarily on a whiffy 96 mph fourseam fastball that has some natural sinking action and an 86 mph 12-6 slider, while also mixing in a 96 mph swing and miss sinker that has heavy sinking action, and a hard 88 mph changeup. Key Matchups: Yandy Díaz (1-3, 2B), Wander Franco (1-3), Francisco Mejía (3-6, 2 HR, RBI)

You can read about the series in our preview, while the starting lineup is below.

Rays 7/2/23 Starting Lineup

  1. J. lowe RF
  2. Franco SS
  3. Arozarena LF
  4. Raley 1B
  5. Ramírez DH
  6. Paredes 3B
  7. Mejía C
  8. Margot CF
  9. Bruján 2B