Even though Yandy Díaz went 0-for-3 at the plate last night, at least he earned a walk and scored a run. (Photo Credit: Tampa Bay Rays)

After a disappointing 6-3 loss on Saturday, the Tampa Bay Rays look to bounce back in the rubber match of the series this afternoon.

At 52-42, the Rays enter play 10 games over .500, and in second place in the AL East by 12.0 games. They also maintain the top Wildcard spot in the division.

Luis Patiño got the start against the Royals and allowed three runs on seven hits and three walks while striking out three over four innings. The runs against Patiño came in the third inning, but the Rays were able to get him off the hook in the seventh. In his second start back from an oblique injury that kept him out for three months, the right-hander was able to stretch out to 72 pitches (41 strikes, 57% strike rate) — up from 56 pitches in his previous outing — although he wasn’t sharp by any stretch of the imagination. He struggled against a weak-hitting opponent, and the right-hander now has a 6.75 ERA and a 7.49 FIP, with a 2.00 WHIP and a 0.75 K/BB across 8.0 innings (three appearances) this season. Patiño was subsequently optioned back to Triple-A Durham to make room for Sunday’s starter, Jeffrey Springs, likely tasked with working on pitch execution.

Ryan Yarbrough practically mirrored Patiño, completing 4.0 innings and allowing three runs on six hits and three walks while striking out two on 74 pitches (45 strikes, 61% strike rate). The Rays tied the game at three apiece in the seventh inning, yet Michael A. Taylor and Bobby Witt Jr. went deep off Yarbrough, who before the eighth had thrown three scoreless frames in relief. Taylor, who did not start the game, hit a solo shot to left with one out, putting the Royals ahead by a run, while Witt’s two-run shot for the final margin came with two outs, scoring Nicky Lopez, who reached on an infield hit. The left-hander now maintains a 5.61 ERA and a 5.33 FIP, with a 1.52 WHIP and a 2.00 K/BB across 43.1 big-league innings this season.

Since Yarbrough was the only reliever used yesterday, Tampa Bay will have a fresh bullpen.

The New What Next

Jeffrey Springs (3-2, 2.53 ERA) has been activated from the IL and will pitch opposite Kris Bubic (1-6, 5.87 ERA).

Jeffrey Springs gave up three earned runs on five hits and two walks while striking out five over four innings against the Red Sox on July 5. He subsequently hit the IL with a “lower leg injury.” Springs got into trouble early, giving up home runs to Xander Bogaerts and Trevor Story in the first and second innings. He eventually settled down to throw a couple of scoreless frames before being pulled after four innings of work. Despite giving up three earned runs over four innings he still has a 2.53 ERA and a 3.66 FIP, with a 1.05 WHIP, and a 4.66 K/BB on the season. He, however, has given up five home runs over his last two starts. Springs is 0-0 with a 4.15 ERA across 4.1 career innings against the Royals.

Kris Bubic gave up two unearned runs on five hits and zero walks while striking out four over seven innings against the Blue Jays on July 16. This was the first time Bubic has given up fewer than two earned runs since June 4, although he has not struck out more than five batters in a start since June 20. On the season, the left-hander maintains a 5.87 ERA and a 5.07 FIP, with a 1.73 WHIP, and a 1.50 K/BB across 61.1 innings. Bubic relies primarily on a 92 mph four-seam fastball and an 81 mph changeup that has some natural sink to it, while also mixing in a 79 mph curveball that has a sharp downward bite and glove-side movement. Key Matchups: Yu Chang (1-1, RBI), Isaac Paredes (2-3, 2 BB)

You can read our wholly inaccurate series preview below, while the starting lineup follows.

Rays 7/24/22 Starting Lineup

  1. Díaz DH
  2. Arozarena LF
  3. Raley 1B
  4. Paredes 3B
  5. Bethancourt C
  6. J. Lowe RF
  7. Chang 2B
  8. Walls SS
  9. Quinn CF