The Tampa Bay Rays look to bounce back from a 3-2, extra inning loss against the Chicago White Sox — and stay competitive with the Mariners and Athletics — on Saturday, the 10-year celebration of their 2008 World Series run.
For the second consecutive day the Rays received bad news on the injury front, with UTL Daniel Robertson heading to the DL with a left thumb injury.
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) August 4, 2018
Robertson suffered a left thumb sprain after sliding headfirst on his leadoff double in the eighth inning, although he stayed in the game long enough to come around and score on Joey Wendle’s single. If he were to require surgery, ala Kevin Kiermaier in April, he likely would miss the remainder of the season. An MRI was taken on Robertson’s thumb this morning, and we are awaiting an updated diagnosis and DL timeline.
I’m supposed to see a hand specialist (Sunday), Dr. Doug Carlan, Robertson said. “And we’ll go from there as far as surgery, if, when. And then I’ll have more info. … I think I’ll be out for a while.
The Rays promoted INF/OF Brandon Lowe from Triple-A Durham to fill Robertson’s spot on the roster. Lowe has had a tremendous year thus far, slashing .291 BA/.400 OBP/.508 SLG/.908 OPS/.404 wOBA/153 wRC+, with 37 runs, 41 RBI, and eight home runs with Double-A Montgomery. He was promoted to Durham (when Jake Bauers made the leap to the bigs) where he performed to a .304 BA/.380 OBP/.613 SLG/.993 OPS/.432 wOBA/177 wRC+ line, with 36 runs, 35 RBI, and 14 homers in 45 games (205 plate appearances).
Lowe was ranked the ninth best second base prospect by MLB Pipeline, and the 30th best Rays prospect by Baseball America prior to the start of the 2018 season. A good comparison to Lowe would be Joe Panik, although the biggest difference between the two would be defensive abilities. To his credit, Lowe has good footwork and defensive skills at second base, but he did have his share of defensive woes in Double-A last season, which could be attributed to a pair of injuries; a torn ACL in 2013 and a broken left fibula in 2015.
Lowe was, curiously, chosen over Kean Wong, who also has had a strong year at Triple-A.
The New What Next
After last night’s ballgame, RHP Austin Pruitt was optioned back to Durham in order to make room for Blake Snell (12-5, 2.27 ERA), who will return to the mound tonight after a stint on the DL. He’ll be opposed by Carlos Rodón (3-3, 3.24 ERA).
Blake Snell threw a bullpen session Wednesday, which appeared to be his final obstacle before coming off the shelf. Across 20 starts (119 IP) this season, he’s performed to a 2.27 ERA/3.43 FIP and 1.07 WHIP with a 10.1 K/9, and a 2.85 K/BB. Snell was placed on the 10-day DL with left shoulder fatigue on July 23. He will likely be held to 90 pitches.
Carlos Rodón fired 7-2/3 innings on Sunday, yielding two runs on five hits and a walk. He struck out six and allowed a home run. Another strong start helped Rodón lower his season ERA from 4.55 to 3.24 in July. The 25 year-old southpaw held the Blue Jays in check for most of the afternoon. He also improved to a 2.33 K/BB after Sunday’s contest. Rodón has allowed two runs or fewer in seven of his nine starts this season. He has relied primarily on a 94 mph four-seam fastball and a whiffy 86 mph slider with short glove-side cut, while also mixing in a 94 mph sinker and a firm 85 mph changeup with natural sink. The left-hander is 0-0 with a 5.19 ERA in two career starts against the Rays.
You can read about the series in our preview, and tonight’s starting lineup is below.
Rays 8/4/18 Starting Lineup
— Party like it’s 2008! Marc Topkin (Tampa Bay Times) detailed the Rays 2008 team reunion tonight:
Team MVP Jason Bartlett, Akinori Iwamura, Scott Kazmir, James Shields, B.J. Upton headline a group of 20 players from the 2008 team at the Trop this weekend for a 10-year celebration. Alums will greet fans at Gate 1 Friday night (5:10 opening) and Saturday (4:10) and sign autographs at the 20th anniversary exhibit. Saturday is the main event, with pregame introductions, Iwamura throwing the first pitch to Bartlett, and all fans getting an Iwamura bobblehead with the radio call of the final out of that year’s ALCS.