After dropping the third game of a four-game set against the Tigers on Saturday, 4-3, in front of almost 23,000 loud fans, the Tampa Bay Rays look to take the series this afternoon at the Trop.
At 92-57 on the season, Tampa Bay enters play 35-games above .500 with a 7.5 game lead in the division and with 13 games left to play. MLB has adjusted the Rays magic number from five to four (based on contending teams having head to head games remaining). If everything falls right, they could clinch a playoff spot as soon as Monday night.
Ryan Yarbrough got the start Saturday and turned a corner, tossing six innings of four-run baseball on five hits with no walks. He struck out four and threw 86 pitches (58 strikes, 67% strike rate). Yarbrough gave up four early runs in the first two frames on a pair of homers, then was stingy from that point on, retiring 15 of the next 16 hitters, including the final 13 he faced. The movement on the left-hander’s cutter was much better this time around, and he improved the use of his changeup; he threw it to get ahead in counts and to force early contact. He also worked quickly and efficiently, — a night-and-day change from his two previous outings. On the season, Yarbrough maintains a 5.30 ERA and a 4.50 FIP, with a 1.27 WHIP, and a 4.23 K/BB across 144.1 innings.
The Rays are now 3-3 against Detroit in 2021. They played short-handed yesterday; Taylor Walls was a late scratch due to general illness, while Nelson Cruz hasn’t played the last two games after being hit by pitches on Wednesday and Thursday. However, Cruz is reportedly feeling better and is back in the lineup today, while Kevin Kiermaier — who was placed on the COVID-19 Injured List on Saturday — and Walls both tested negative for COVID-19. Because of it, Kiermaier has been activated. The Rays optioned RHP Louis Head back to Durham (again) to clear roster space.
THE NEW WHAT NEXT
Shane McClanahan (9-5, 3.59 ERA) was activated from the 10-Day Injured List and will get the start on Sunday, pitching opposite of Wily Peralta (3-3, 3.32 ERA).
Shane McClanahan, in his last start before he hit the 10-Day Injured List 11 days ago, spun five shutout innings against Boston, yielding just three hits and a walk while striking out three. After surrendering four runs to the Red Sox in his prior start, McClanahan bounced back nicely, allowing just three singles. He was pulled after five innings despite having thrown only 68 pitches (44 strikes, 65% strike rate). On the season, McClanahan maintains a 3.59 ERA and a 3.23 FIP, with a 1.30 WHIP, and a 3.76 K/BB across 110.1 innings of work.
Wily Peralta blanked the Brewers across six innings on Tuesday. He allowed two hits and a pair of walks while striking out five. Peralta was able to pitch deep into the ballgame after lasting just four innings in each of his first two turns since returning from the Injured List. The 32-year-old has put together a 3.32 ERA and a 4.98 FIP, with a and 1.26 WHIP, and a 1.69 K/BB across 76.0 innings. Key Matchups: Ji-Man Choi (1-1, 2B, 2 RBI), Brandon Lowe (2-3, HR, 2 RBI)
You can read about the series in our preview, while the starting lineup and Noteworthiness are below.
RAYS 9/19/21 STARTING LINEUP
- B. Lowe 2B
- Meadows LF
- Cruz DH
- Choi 1B
- Arozarena RF
- Wendle SS
- Díaz 3B
- Phillips CF
- Zunino C
— The Rays optioned Joey Krehbiel back to Triple-A Durham after he threw a scoreless ninth inning on Saturday to make room for Shane McClanahan on the active roster.
— Shane Baz had been added to the taxi squad and will start Monday against the Blue Jays. Baz went 5-4 with a 2.16 ERA in 17 starts between Double-A Montgomery and Triple-A Durham. Baz allowed just 50 hits and 13 walks across 78.2 innings while striking out 113. He also appeared in the 2021 Summer Olympics for Team USA along with fellow Ray Daniel Robertson.