After a 1-0 extra-inning win over the Detroit Tigers on Saturday, the Tampa Bay Rays will go for a series win this afternoon. The Rays snapped a 29-2/3 inning scoreless streak with Mike Brosseau’s walk-off RBI hit in the 13th inning, while Ryan Yarbrough was impressive once again.
Tampa Bay enters play one game behind Cleveland for the top Wildcard spot, and 1/2 game ahead of the Athletics for the final playoff spot with 38 games left to play. With the victory, FanGraphs upped the Rays chances of a playoff berth by 1/2 of a percent, to 69.9% (Baseball Prospectus has them at 78.2%).
Yarbrough fanned 10 batters while allowing zero runs on three hits with no walks across 6-1/3 innings. Even though he didn’t go as deep into the game, the southpaw was arguably better in this outing than his last one, extending his scoreless streak to 15 frames. His 10 strikeouts were a season-high, and Yarbrough has allowed just one earned run in his last 19-2/3 innings of (0.47 ERA). He further lowered his ERA 3.34 ERA (down from 8.10 at its peak, in April), his WHIP to 0.88, and has 88 punchouts in 105 innings this season. Taking into consideration all of the injuries that have impacted the Rays starting rotation, the team has gained an opportunity to see how good Yarbrough can be. To his credit, the southpaw has taken advantage of pitching without an opener and should get to keep doing so.
The relief corps combined to strikeout 14 more hitters after Yarbrough’s departure. Thanks to the dazzling pitching performances, Tampa Bay set a Major League record of 24 strikeouts and no walks.
Unfortunately, the Rays continued to scuffle offensively; struggles which extended back to the second inning of Wednesday’s contest against the Padres. The 29-2/3 innings scoreless streak was the second-longest stretch without a run in team history (31 innings in 2014). Last night, the first 10 hitters were retired in order by Jordan Zimmerman, who entered the game with a 7.13 ERA.
Tampa Bay had its best chance to win the game in the 11th inning. Mike Zunino led off the frame with a walk on four pitches against David McKay. Guillermo Heredia eventually pinch-ran for the backstop. Eric Sogard followed with a single to right before Tommy Pham chopped a ball to second for the first out, allowing both runners to move into scoring position. After Austin Meadows was walked intentionally, consequently loading the bases, Travis d’Arnaud grounded into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play — making the Rays hitless in their last 17 chances with the bases loaded.
Redemption came two innings later, however. Sogard started the game-winning rally with a two-out double to deep right against Matt Hall. Tommy Pham was walked intentionally bringing Brosseau — the last available position player available off the bench — to the plate. Brosseau hit 91 mph 2-2 fastball into the right-center gap, scoring the winning run. It was Brosseau’s first career walk-off.
From Marc Topkin’s (Tampa Bay Times) lips to your ears:
The Rays have shown how good they can be offensively in spurts. And they continue to remind how bad they can be in stretches that go on longer than they’d like. The key to making it to the playoffs is going to be flattening out those spikes and drops. The Rays have to be more consistent.— Marc Topkin
The New What Next
Trevor Richards (0-0, 1.69 ERA at Triple-A) will get the start in his first appearance with Tampa Bay, pitching opposite of Matthew Boyd (6-9, 4.38 ERA).
Trevor Richards was called up from Durham with Peter Fairbanks optioned. He has given up one run while striking out eight over 5-1/3 innings in three appearances with Triple-A Durham. He, however, has not gone more than 2-1/3 innings in that span. Expect Richards to throw somewhere in the ballpark of 49 to 60 pitches this afternoon.
Matthew Boyd allowed seven runs (six earned) over 5-1/3 innings of work on Tuesday against the Mariners. He gave up seven hits and walked two while striking out four. Boyd was victimized four times by Seattle long balls…and the home run ball has been a big problem for Boyd. He was tagged for three homers in his last start, in which he allowed five runs in over 2-2/3 innings. On the season, Boyd has now allowed 30 home runs across 146 innings, and his ERA climbed to 4.38 after the rough start Tuesday. Over his career, Boyd is 1-1 with a 4.76 ERA in three starts against Tampa Bay. Key Matchups: Willy Adames (1-2, RBI), Guillermo Heredia (3-4, RBI, BB), Kevin Kiermaier (2-4, RBI, BB)
You can read about the series in our preview, while the starting lineup and Noteworthiness are below.
Rays 8/18/19 Starting Lineup
- Pham LF
- Duffy 3B
- Meadows RF
- D’Arnaud 1B
- Adames SS
- Aguilar DH
- Brosseau 2B
- Zunino C
- Heredia CF
— Joey Wendle and Brandon Lowe both played for the Charlotte Stone Crabs on Saturday, and are expected to play in Port Charlotte again today. Wendle went 1-for-4 with a double and two RBI, while Lowe went 0-for-3 with a walk. Both are expected to continue their rehab assignments in Durham before they are activated from the IL.
— Kevin Cash used Brendan McKay as a pinch-runner for DH Jesus Aguilar in the seventh inning, which could be the start of something. Cash, who has avoided any temptation to take advantage of Brendan McKay’s two-way abilities, said he would have stayed in to hit had the Tigers put a right-hander on the mound.