Rays 8/29/16 Starting Lineup
The Tampa Bay Rays make a quick jaunt into Boston on Monday, where they’ll take on the Red Sox for the second time in a week.
Tampa Bay is coming off a 10-4 win against the Astros, on Sunday, after dropping the first two games of the set, while Boston went 1-2 in a weekend series against the reigning World Series champions. Too, the Rays won the final two games of a four-game series against the Red Sox last week, although Boston leads the season series with Tampa Bay 7-6, having gone 4-2 at Fenway Park.
The good guys enter the series with a 66-63 BaseRuns record, and a 63-66 Pythagorean Expectation — both of which are vastly better than their 55-74 regular season record.
Kevin Cash will call upon the services of Matt Andriese (6-5, 3.71 ERA), Jake Odorizzi (9-5, 3.53), and Drew Smyly (6-11, 4.80 ERA) over the next three days. John Farrell will counter with Rick Porcello (17-3, 3.23 ERA), Drew Pomeranz (10-10, 2.95 ERA), and Steven Wright (13-6, 3.18 ERA).
Andriese allowed three runs on seven hits and a walk, while fanning eight over six innings on Wednesday against the Red Sox. The righty had failed to make it through the sixth inning in his previous four starts, posting a 6.84 ERA/6.02 FIP over that span. However, Andriese appears to have reverted back into the pitcher he was in May and early June, when he started the season 6-0.
Odorizzi hurled seven innings of one run ball on Thursday, scattering five hits and three walks while striking out four Red Sox. Jake got the better end of a pitcher’s duel with Drew Pomeranz, allowing him to snare his sixth straight win. The right-hander also collected his seventh quality start in his last eight outings, a stretch in which he’s put up a 1.40 ERA with 34 strikeouts over 45 innings.
Smyly gave up three runs (two earned) on three hits and two walks over six innings on Friday, notching eight strikeouts along the way. The southpaw continued his recent stretch of strong pitching, posting at least six innings for the seventh consecutive start while giving up two earned runs or fewer for the sixth time over that span. Smyly’s eight punch outs was also his second-highest total in that category since July 1.
Porcello allowed three runs on nine hits over 7-2/3 innings on Wednesday in an extra-inning loss against Tampa Bay. He struck out eight. The righty was efficient — he didn’t walk a batter and collected a pair of consecutive 1-2-3 innings — although Porcello’s shot at grabbing his 18th win was derailed by Evan Longoria, who hit a solo home run to tie the game in the eighth inning. Key matchups: Matt Duffy (3-7), Logan Forsythe (6-24, 3B, 2 BB), Kevin Kiermaier (6-24, 2B, RBI, BB), Evan Longoria (10-40, 3 2B, HR, 4 RBI, 2 BB), Luke Maile (1-1, 2B, RBI), Brad Miller (4-15, 2B, 3 HR, 5 RBI, BB), Logan Morrison (8-19, 2 2B, RBI), Steven Souza Jr. (6-21), Bobby Wilson (3-9, 2B)
Pomeranz allowed two runs on seven hits and one walk over six innings against Tampa Bay on Thursday, striking out a career-high 11 in the 2-1 loss. The lefty was out dueled by Jake Odorizzi and pegged with his first loss in five starts. Pomeranz induced 23 swinging strikes and lowered his Boston ERA to 4.06 — its best mark since being acquired from the Padres. Key matchups: Matt Duffy (4-12, 2B, BB), Evan Longoria (1-4, 2B, BB), Luke Maile (1-2), Brad Miller (3-8, HR, 2 RBI), Steven Souza Jr. (1-3)
Wright, the knuckleballer (not the comedian), was rusty in the first inning of his first start back from the DL on Friday, giving up a five-spot to Kansas City. He, however, wasn’t scored on over his final five innings. Wright relies primarily on his 74 mph knuckleball that flutters and floats unpredictably toward home, while also mixing in an 83 mph sinker with little arm side run. He also rarely throws an 86 mph four-seam fastball, a slow 69 mph 12-6 curveball, and a 76 mph changeup with a lot of backspin. Key matchups: Brad Miller (1-4, HR, RBI, BB), Logan Morrison (1-2), Bobby Wilson (1-3)
— Evan Longoria has 15 homers in 72 games at Fenway Park.
— Tampa Bay optioned RHP Steve Geltz back to Triple-A Durham after he allowed one run and three hits in one inning against Houston on Sunday.
— The Rays are expected to activate RHP Alex Cobb, who has not pitched in the majors since 2014 due to Tommy John surgery. He likely will start against the Blue Jays at home next weekend.
— Tim Beckham is listed as day-to-day after leaving last night’s game with left hamstring tightness.
— Close to returning to the fold, Alex Cobb is scheduled to make one more rehab start on Saturday. The righty told Marc Topkin (Tampa Bay Times) it was his call to make one last last rehab start, then “sink or swim” when he rejoins the team. Cobb expects to start against the Blue Jays.
Cobb needed 81 pitches to get through four innings for the Bulls on Monday, allowing five runs on nine hits with no strikeouts. The 30th and final day of Cobb’s reassignment is Saturday.
In response, Kevin Cash said there have been no final decisions on what the starting rotation may look like with Cobb (and Chase Whitley) coming back, but a six man rotation is an option.
The Tampa Bay Rays continue their current 10-game home stand with a four-game series against AL East rivals, the Boston Red Sox, starting Monday.
Led by one of the hottest pitching staffs in baseball since the All-Star Break, Tampa Bay took two of three from the AL West leading Texas Rangers over the weekend. Chris Archer (Tuesdays starter) is coming off of one of his best starts of the season, while Jake Odorizzi (Thursday’s starter) is 5-0 since the All-Star Break.
Drew Smyly got the start in the series finale, and though he left two mistake pitches up in the zone, bot of which were hammered by Texas’ hitters, he is now 4-0 in his last six starts.
We’re very capable of winning, said Smyly, who will not make an appearance in the upcoming series. Texas is a first-place team, they’ve been in first place all year. It’s just consistency.
In that series, the Rays showed something they hadn’t all season: the ability to string together wins after posting a losing effort.
It just seemed like for a while we would win two or three and then turn around and lose five or six in a row and we struggled with those comeback games, Rays skipper Kevin Cash said. But if you look at the Texas series and the way we started it and turned things around quickly to finish strong. That’s what I want to see from this team.
Boston split their weekend four-game set with the Tigers, including a disappointing 10-5 loss in the series finale (editor’s note: you won’t hear me crying). Overall, the Rays are 4-5 against the Massholes this season, with a -1 run differential. That is, in spite of some sloppy play earlier in the season on the part of the good guys, both teams have played one another fairly close.
Over the next four days Kevin Cash will lean on Blake Snell (4-5, 3.06 ERA), Archer (7-17, 4.05 ERA), Matt Andriese (6-5, 3.66 ERA), and Odorizzi (8-5, 3.63 ERA). John Farrell will counter with David Price (11-8, 4.19 ERA), Clay Buchholz (4-9, 5.42 ERA), Rick Porcello (17-3, 3.22 ERA), and Drew Pomeranz (10-9, 2.95 ERA).
Snell allowed one run on five hits and four walks over five innings in Tuesday’s 15-1 win over the Padres. He struck out eight. Although he was inefficient yet again — needing 95 pitches to make it through five frames, while walking four for the second consecutive start — the southpaw was given help by his team’s offensive explosion. His fantastic 13.50 K/9 over the last 14 days is offset by a 10.8 BB/9 over the same stretch, significantly damaging Snell’s ability to make hitters swing swing through pitches.
Archer hurled 7-1/3 shutout innings against the Padres on Wednesday, allowing just four hits, while striking out nine and walking one. The righty threw 70 of his 107 pitches for strikes, and induced a whopping 20 swings and misses. Archer now has now fanned 18 and walked just one over his last 13-1/3 frames, while also notching nine strikeouts on August 12 (although he allowed five runs).
Andriese surrendered five earned runs on seven hits and two walks over 5-1/3 innings in a 6-2 loss on Friday. He struck out four. In all fairness, he wasn’t as bad as the final line might indicate, although he did give up some untimely hits. 66 of Andriese’s 95 pitches went for strikes, including 12 whiffs, however, the two homers surrendered were enough to sink his battleship. The righty has endured consecutive rough starts, while allowing 11 earned runs on 15 hits (including six homers) over 10-1/3 innings work.
Odorizzi allowed just one earned run on six hits and a walk over six innings in an 8-2 victory over the Rangers. He struck out four. Of his total 101 pitches, 65 went for strikes, with his only mistake being a solo shot to Roughned Odor. Odorizzi has been very good over his last seven starts, posting six quality starts over that stretch.
Price gave up one run on four hits over six innings on Wednesday night. He struck out four. The former Ray finally put together a solid start in which he allowed just two base hits after a second-inning homer. And while he didn’t blow the opposition away, Baltimore managed mostly weak contact and never generated much of a threat — they had only one at-bat with a man in scoring position. Price posted eight scoreless innings against Tampa Bay in July, however, the Rays have tagged their former ace with a 6.00 ERA in three starts this season. Key matchups: Corey Dickerson (1-3), Logan Forsythe (5-17, 2B, RBI, BB), Kevin Kiermaier (2-5, 2B, HR, RBI, BB), Steven Souza Jr. (2-8, 2B, RBI), Bobby Wilson (2-2, 2B, 2 RBI)
Buchholz was slotted back into the rotation in place of Steven Wright on Tuesday. His spot in the rotation depended on Wright’s status, so Tuesday’s start could be the last for him if he doesn’t do well, and/or pending the return of Eduardo Rodriguez. Buchholz’s overall numbers this season aren’t impressive (5.42 ERA, 1.38 WHIP), though he maintains an 8-7 record with a 2.63 ERA against Tampa Bay over his career. Key matchups: Logan Forsythe (3-7, 2B, RBI, BB), Logan Morrison (5-12, 2 2B, 2 HR, 6 RBI)
Porcello notched up his 17th win of the season on Friday, allowing just two runs (one earned) on four hits and two walks in a win over Detroit. He struck out eight. The righty hasn’t allowed more than three runs in any game since the middle of June, and has won 11 of his last 12. Porcello posted six innings of one run ball against Tampa Bay in his last start on July 9th. Key matchups: Corey Dickerson (3-10, 2 2B, HR, RBI), Matt Duffy (1-3), Logan Forsythe (6-20, 3B, 2 BB), Kevin Kiermaier (5-20, 2B, RBI, BB), Evan Longoria (9-36, 3 2B, 3 RBI, 2 BB), Luke Maile (1-1, 2B), Brad Miller (3-11, 3 HR, 3 RBI, BB), Logan Morrison (6-16, 2B, RBI), Steven Souza Jr. (6-18)
Pomeranz allowed one run on four hits over five innings Saturday against Detroit. He struck out three. The one run he allowed came on a James McCann solo shot, though a long rain delay knocked Pomeranz out of the game in the bottom of the fifth. He had thrown only 51 pitches over the first five innings, and now is 10-9 overall this season. He also has an impressive 2.95 ERA and 150 strikeouts in 140-1/3 innings this season. Pomeranz relies upon an 80 mph, worm-killer knuckle curveball and a whiffy 92 mph four-seam fastball. He’ll also mix in an 87 mph cutter and a hard 87 mph changeup. Key matchups: Logan Forsythe (2-8, BB), Brad Miller (2-5, HR, RBI)
— Tampa Bay continues its ascension back to .500 as one of the unluckiest teams in baseball; 63-59 BaseRuns record, 59-63 Pythagorean Expectation, 52-70 actual record.
— Logan Forsythe, who sat out four games with a back injury, returned on Sunday and homered for the third time in as many starts.
— Sandy Leon recorded multiple hits in six of his last nine starts and is batting .386.
The Tampa Bay Rays continue their 10-game home stand on Friday, with the first game of a three game set against the AL West leading Texas Rangers.
The Rays enter the series with a lot of momentum after winning four straight, and scoring a franchise-record 35 runs over a three-game span to finish a three-game sweep of the San Diego Padres. The Rangers, likewise, are coming off their own three-game sweep of the Oakland Athletics, and have won nine of 12 entering the series.
Brad Miller has been a big part of Tampa Bay’s win streak, mashing three home runs in his last seven at-bats. The first baseman has hit 19 homers since June 17, matching the most in baseball in that span. He’s also been productive at home where 19 of his 25 home runs have been hit. Miller already set the Major League record for the most long-balls by a left-handed batter playing primarily at shortstop, as well as the franchise record for homers by a shortstop.
I think I’m picking the right pitch to swing at, Miller said after Wednesday’s contest with San Diego. When you do that, you can’t miss them, because you might only get one per at-bat. That’s all I’m trying to do is hit the one pitch I get per at-bat.
While their 72-50 record sets the Rangers apart from the lowly Rays, when you dig a little deeper, you’ll come to the the conclusion that both teams are pretty evenly keeled — luck is one of the separating factors between the two. Compare their Pythagorean Expectations, for example. Texas should be 62-60, while Tampa Bay should be 57-62. And with a 61-58 BaseRuns record, the Rays are actually outperforming their counterparts by four games in the loss column (60-62). To put it another way, this season Tampa Bay has scored the same number of runs as the Yankees (498), and have allowed 18 fewer runs. However, the good guys are 10-½ games behind New York in the AL East and 19 games under .500, while the Yankees are two games over .500 and 7-½ back of first.
Over the next three days, Kevin Cash will depend upon starters Matt Andriese (6-4, 3.36 ERA), Jake Odorizzi (7-5, 3.72 ERA), and Drew Smyly (5-11, 4.85 ERA). Jeff Banister will counter with Cole Hamels (12-4, 2.88 ERA), A.J. Griffin (5-2, 4.68 ERA), and Martín Pérez (8-8, 4.09 ERA).
Andriese fanned eight but surrendered six earned runs on eight hits over five innings of an 8-4 loss on Saturday. The righty allowed four homers in one game after having allowed just three all season. He, however, also recorded a season high in strikeouts and fired 56 of 76 pitches for strikes (13 whiffs overall).
Odorizzi has been fire since the All-Star Break. In his six starts since, the righty is 4-0 with a 1.66 ERA. He is 2-0 with a 1.37 ERA in three career starts against the Rangers.
Smyly dominated the Padres on Monday, allowing just one run over seven innings. He gave up only one hit, walked a pair, and struck out four. Smyly allowed a one out, first-inning homer to Alexei Ramirez and then held San Diego hitless for the next six. Even though Smyly’s had his share of misfortune this season, he has allowed just eight total runs in his last five starts.
Hamels allowed two runs on six hits and a walk while striking out six over six innings on Monday against the Rockies. The tough lefty did enough to keep Texas in the game, and the Rangers eventually won late. Hamels coaxed 20 swinging strikes on 115 pitches, although he wasn’t the most efficient hurler, throwing just 12-of-24 first-pitch strikes. Still, Hamels hasn’t allowed more than three runs since July 8 against the Twins — a five start stretch, allowing him to drop his ERA from 3.21 to 2.89. Key matchups: Matt Duffy (3-6, 3 RBI), Logan Forsythe (2-3, 2 2B, RBI), Logan Morrison (11-28, 4 2B, 2 RBI, 5 BB)
Griffin posted at least six innings for the first time in his last 11 starts against Detroit on Sunday, although he was tagged for six runs and a season-high 11 hits. He now has a 6.69 ERA in his last seven starts, allowing a homer in 10 straight outings. Griffin has relied upon an 89 mph four seam fastball with good “rising action,” and an 84 mph cutter this season, while also mixing in a 67 mph curveball with excellent bite, and an 82 mph changeup with a ton of backspin. Key matchups: Nick Franklin (1-3, 2B), Brad Miller (1-3, HR, RBI)
Pérez held Oakland to two runs (one earned) on five hits on Monday, with one walk and six strikeouts over seven innings. The southpaw settled in after allowing a run in each of the first two innings, and was rewarded with his first win in nine starts. Be that as it may, he still has just one road win in 2016; something that may bode well for the Rays. This season he has relied primarily on a 94 mph worm killer of a sinker, while also mixing in a 94 mph four seam fastball, a hard 85 mph circle change grip, an 86 mph slider, and an 81 mph 12-6 curveball. Key matchups: Tim Beckham (1-2, BB), Kevin Kiermaier (1-3), Evan Longoria (4-7, 2B, HR, 4 RBI), Brad Miller (4-10, 2B, RBI, 2 BB)
— Brad Miller is 8-20 with five homers and nine RBI in his last five games.
— Carlos Beltran is hitting .315 with two home runs and eight RBI in 15 games since being traded from the New York Yankees; he went 6-13 in the series with Oakland.
— The teams have not played one another in 2016, and will finish the season with a three-game set in Texas. They’ve split 40 meetings since 2011.