After dropping six of their last eight games, and two in a row, the Tampa Bay Rays will try to bounce back this afternoon in New York. The Rays now are 0–5 this season at New Yankee Stadium after falling 6-1 to Masahiro Tanaka and the Yankees.
Tampa Bay starts the day 2-1/2 games behind Kansas City for the last playoff spot, three games back of Boston for the top Wildcard spot, and 3-1/2 games behind the Yankees in the AL East.
The New What Next
Blake Snell (0-6, 4.86 ERA, 5.08 FIP) will get the start for Tampa Bay, opposite of Caleb Smith (0-0, 9.82 ERA, 2.88 FIP).
Snell pitched well against the Orioles on Monday, throwing two batters into the eighth inning and — much to the surprise of some, and the chagrin of others — rarely found himself in trouble with any of Baltimore’s batters. The southpaw worked over the outside of the plate against righties with fastballs and changeups, although he wasn’t afraid to come inside from time to time. Snell stayed in control of his stuff for all seven-plus innings of his start — and yes, that includes the two hits he allowed in the top of the eighth (a single to left by Rubén Tejada, and a bunt single by Joey Rickard that rolled back into play). The Yankees have chased Snell early in his starts, but without much damage. He has a 2.38 ERA against New York in five starts but has lasted only 22-2/3 innings.
Smith couldn’t make it through four innings in his first big league start against Seattle on Sunday, allowing four runs on five hits over 3-2/3 innings. The southpaw has primarily relied upon a 93 mph four-seam fastball with slight arm-side run and some added backspin, a whiffy 81 mph slider, and a firm 84 mph changeup.
Rays 7/29/17 Starting Lineup
— With Tanaka going eight innings yesterday, the New York bullpen should be well-rested. The Rays need to hit Smith hard and early.
— Steve Cishek, acquired Friday from Seattle for Erasmo Ramirez, has officially been added to roster. To clear space for the right-handed side-armer, RHP Adam Kolarek was optioned to Triple-A Durham after last night’s ball game. Cishek, along with Sergio Romo, will be used primarily against righties, while Dan Jennings will be used against lefties. That allows Kevin Cash to depend upon the flame throwing Tommy Hunter, and Brad Boxberger, in high-leverage situations, before handing the ball off to Alex Colome in the ninth inning.
— It isn’t clear if Logan Morrison will start at first base today; he did not play last night because of a bruised heel. In his place Lucas Duda homered in his Rays debut.
Nice to meet you, Lucas Duda. pic.twitter.com/LfoZ63LBIT
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) July 29, 2017
— Here is your Rays DL update, courtesy of Neil Solondz (Rays Radio): Yesterday Daniel Robertson went 1-for-2 with a double and an RBI at third base for the Charlotte Stone Crabs on rehab, while Kevin Kiermaier was 2-for-3 with a walk as the DH. Here’s what else happened in the Rays system: