The Tampa Bay Rays head out to the Emerald City for a showdown with the Seattle Mariners, following their series win against the Rangers.
Tampa Bay starts the day with a +.500 29-27 record, sitting four games back of first in a very competitive AL East. The Mariners, on the other hand, are in the AL West cellar, sitting 13 games behind the division-leading Astros. The Rays have really turned it on as of late — winning six of their last 10, and 10 of of their last 15 — while the Mariners haven’t been great at home, losing three of their last four games in Seattle.
The Rays came away with a 7-5 victory over the Rangers in Arlington, though it took them 10 innings to finish off the Rangers. Nevertheless they are now 4-2 on their current nine-game road trip.
Tampa Bay starts the month of June on a high note after taking part a successful May campaign. Power hitting and starting pitching led the way for the Rays during the second month of the season.
The Mariners won their fourth straight game on Wednesday, beating the Rockies in a 5-0 and holding the dangerous lineup to just four hits. It was a coup for a Mariners pitching staff that has struggled for much of the season. M’s pitchers have a combined 4.64 ERA — the sixth-worst in the majors.
The Rays are 4-1 in their last five games against the AL West, and 6-2 in their last eight road games. The Mariners, however, are 1-6 in their last seven games against AL East, although they hold a +.500 record against the Rays extending back before 2012.
Kevin Cash will throw Jake Odorizzi (3-2, 3.14 ERA, 4.68 FIP), Alex Cobb (4-4, 3.67 ERA, 4.13 FIP), and Erasmo Ramirez (3-0, 3.66 ERA, 3.80 FIP) over the next three days. Scott Servais will counter with Christian Bergman (2-2, 4.67 ERA, 5.52 FIP), Sam Gaviglio (1-1, 3.50 ERA, 6.04 FIP), and Ariel Miranda (5-2, 4.17 ERA, 4.72 FIP).
Odorizzi allowed two runs on seven hits in 5-2/3 innings against Minnesota on Saturday. He allowed 11 base runners to reach, leading him to burn through 118 pitches in fewer than six innings of work. Still, Odorizzi has allowed two earned runs or fewer in all but two starts this season. He is 3-1 in his last four decisions and has four quality starts in those outings.
Bergman has been excellent in two of his four starts since being promoted, including seven scoreless innings on four scattered hits in his last start — becoming the first Mariners hurler in a decade to pitch at least seven innings without allowing a run in a game in Fenway Park. A double play inducing machine, Bergman was helped out by Boston, which grounded into a double play in each of the first four innings of the game. He also threw 7-1/3 shutout innings on two hits against the Athletics in his only Safeco start. This season he has relied primarily on his 89 mph four-seam fastball with nice sinking action, and an 86 mph cutter with very little cutting action. He’s also mixed in an 88 mph fly-ball inducing sinker, an 81 mph changeup with arm side fade, and a 78 mph 12-6 curveball. Key matchups: Derek Norris (2-6, HR, 2 RBI), Rickie Weeks Jr. (1-1)
Cobb gave up run on six hits against the Twins on Sunday, coming away with a no-decision in the 16 inning marathon ball game. He is 3-1 in his last four decisions, with the only loss coming against the Blue Jays when he held them to two runs over eight innings.
Gaviglio, the rookie right-hander, picked up his first career win against the Rockies in his last outing — becoming the first pitcher in Mariners history to earn his first big league win on Memorial Day. He is 1-1 with a 3.38 ERA in three starts since moving into the starting rotation. Gaviglio, however, hasn’t thrown more than 76 pitches in any of his starts to date. This season he has relied primarily on a heavy 88 mph four-seam fastball, and an 83 mph slider. He also has mixed in an 84 mph changeup with good arm side run.
Ramirez, a day after earning a 12-pitch save against the Twins, started against the Rangers but did not fare well. The right-hander allowed four runs on six hits over 2-1/3 innings. He is 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA in three appearances (one start) against his former team, but is 3-8 with a 4.57 ERA in 23 appearances (18 games) at Safeco Field.
Miranda allowed one run over 5-1/3 innings in Seattle’s 3-1 win over Cleveland. His fastball sits at 90-93 mph, touching 95 from time-to-time. When his delivery lapses, he lives either up in the zone or out of it altogether. He’s able to throw plenty of strikes, just not always where he wants to. His 79 mph slider is more effective when it has more depth, especially when he’s trying to bury it in the dirt rather than throw it in the strike zone. Finally, his 81 mph split/change lives his arm speed more than run and fade.
— Per Marc Topkin (Tampa Bay Times), the Rays will activate 2B Brad Miller from the 10-day DL for tonight’s game. OF Mallex Smith has been optioned back to Triple-A Durham to make room for Miller, with Michael Martinez staying on as outfield depth.