The Tampa Bay Rays return home from a 2-4 road trip to start a three-game, interleague series against Wil Myers and the San Diego Padres.
The Rays are now home at the Trop for 10 consecutive games, while the Padres are wrapping up their road trip in Florida. Both teams just finished a stint in New York City, culminating in completely different outcomes in the series finale. San Diego was almost no-hit by Mets pitcher Steven Matz in a 5-1 loss on Sunday, yet the Rays salvaged a game in the Bronx with a 12-3 win against the Yankees.
Evan Longoria continues to swing a hot bat, collecting three hits and four RBI on Sunday, in a game in which all nine Rays starters had hits and scored.
We had a nice offensive approach and it was nice to see, said Rays manager Kevin Cash, whose team posted 21 runs in two wins last week, yet 15 in four losses. (Longoria) has been outstanding. His at-bats, his approach, everything he does. He’s a guy you want when guys are on base. Right now, he’s seeing everything really well.
Meanwhile, former Ray Wil Myers will face the team he won the AL Rookie of the Year with in 2013. Myers told the media he has no ill will toward his former team:
When I was in Tampa (Bay), I was young and dumb. I did a lot of things that weren’t great, as far as just being a big-leaguer. I’ve really felt like I’ve grown as a big-leaguer, grown as a teammate. That’s one thing I wish that I could’ve given Tampa (Bay).
Cash will throw Drew Smyly (4-11, 5.04 ERA), Blake Snell (3-5, 3.18 ERA), and Chris Archer (6-16, 4.39 ERA) the next three days. Andy Green will counter with Luis Perdomo (5-6, 6.80 ERA), Edwin Jackson (3-2, 4.19 ERA), and Christian Friedrich (4-8, 4.84 ERA).
Rays Series Starters
Smyly tossed six innings of two run baseball on Tuesday, allowing six hits and three walks while fanning two Blue Jays. Smyly went 2-11 in his first 18 appearances of the season, with a 5.64 ERA and just six quality starts. He, however, has turned things around since the All-Star Break, making four consecutive quality starts and going 2-0 with a 2.52 ERA, and posting a 19/6 K/BB along the way.
Snell allowed five runs (two earned) on five hits and four walks over just 1-2/3 innings on Wednesday. The southpaw should have been out of the first inning unscathed, but right fielder Steven Souza Jr. dropped a foul ball while Josh Donaldson was at the plate. Toronto’s third baseman took advantage of the opportunity by notching a single. Snell came back to retire the next two batters, but Troy Tulowitzki lined a three-run homer in the next at-bat. Snell surrendered two more runs in the second before Cash removed him from the game.
Archer fanned nine Yankees’ batters on Friday, but also surrendered five earned runs on seven hits over six innings. Archer continues to endure the worst season of his career, and though he wasn’t necessarily bad, the Yankees chipped away at him over the span of his start.
Padres Series Starters
Perdomo is known for his sinker, and when it’s biting, he can be dominant. The 23 year old righty has racked up the highest ground-ball rate in the big leagues among pitchers with at least 90 innings of work. He, however, has struggled to maintain the pitch’s effectiveness once fatigue sets in. Aside from the above mentioned 95 mph offering, Perdomo mixes in an 84 mph slider with excellent depth; a 95 mph four-seam, worm killer fastball; and a hard 89 mph changeup.
Jackson, the former Ray, threw seven shutout innings against the Pirates on Wednesday, allowing just two hits while striking out seven and walking three. Jackson has been very tough against his former team, going 3-2 with a 2.54 ERA in five starts against Tampa Bay, including a 2010 no-hitter when he was with Arizona. The Rays faced him once this season, a one inning relief appearance out of the pen with the Marlins. Key matchups: Corey Dickerson (2-3, 2B, BB), Logan Forsythe (1-3, 3B, RBI), Nick Franklin (1-3, 2 RBI), Brad Miller (3-4, 2 2B)
Friedrich is on a pitch count and his outing against the Rays could be the last of his season. The 29 year-old southpaw surpassed his career high for innings in his last start, and that’s not including his four minor league starts. This season, Friedrich has relied primarily upon a 90 mph four-seam fastball, and a 77 mph curveball that generates a lot of grounders. He’s also mixed in a 90 mph sinker with little run and sink, an 83 mph slider, and an 85 mph cutter. Key matchup: Logan Forsythe (1-4, 2 BB)