After the first of two previously scheduled off-days this week, the Tampa Bay Rays look to pick up where they left off on Tuesday in Cobb County, where they will begin a brief two-game set against the Braves. Tampa Bay is a season-best nine games over .500 after winning eight games in a row, including a perfect 7-0 homestand, and sweeps of the Kansas City Royals and Boston Red Sox.
The Braves are the second of three consecutive teams Tampa Bay will face that are leading their division, with Cleveland following Atlanta this weekend. The Rays have struggled against NL teams this season, going 6-12 this year, including a two-game series loss to the Braves at Tropicana Field (May 8-9).
The New What Next
The Rays will use openers for games of the series, with Ryne Stanek (2-3, 2.53 ERA) getting the start this evening. Stanek will be followed by Yonny Chirinos (2-5, 4.08 ERA). They’ll be opposed by Julio Teherán (9-7, 4.09 ERA).
Stanek threw one scoreless inning against the Red Sox on Saturday and is slated to make his 22nd “start” of the season. He’s expected to throw between one and two innings before giving way to Chirinos. Stanek has allowed just two runs over his last 7-2/3 innings of work. The right-hander made his first appearance this year against Atlanta and struck out four while walking two over 1-2/3 scoreless frames.
Chirinos was credited with the win on Wednesday even though he allowed three runs on four hits while striking out four across five innings against the Royals. Ryne Stanek was the “opener” in this one, but it was Chirinos who got the bulk of the innings. The right-hander flat-out dealt for five-plus innings but allowed a costly two-run homer late in the game. At the end of the day, he was credited with his second win of the season, but the three earned runs inflated his ERA from 3.96 to 4.02.
Teherán picked up the win in Wednesday’s 2-1 victory over Pittsburgh, allowing one run on two hits and a walk over seven innings of work. He struck out five. Teherán has been in a groove of late, delivering three consecutive quality starts while posting a 3.6 K/BB in 20 innings over that stretch. The right-hander blanked the Rays over six innings on May 4, allowing four hits while striking out seven; his lone career start against Tampa Bay. Key Matchups: CJ Cron (1-3), Matt Duffy (3-5, 2 2B, BB)
Rays 8/28/18 Starting Lineup
You can read about the series in our preview.