After a successful 4-2 homestand which included a series win against the Yankees, the Tampa Bay Rays embark on their longest road trip of the truncated season — a 10-game, 11-day jaunt through Boston,
Toronto Buffalo, and the Bronx. The first stop is Fenway, where the Rays will begin a four-game set against the Red Sox on Monday. Boston took two-of-three from the Blue Jays over the weekend.
Aside from a lopsided 8-4 loss in the first game of a doubleheader on Saturday (in which Sean Gilmartin — husband of professional asshole Kayleigh McEnany — gave up two home runs in relief of Tyler Glasnow), the Rays looked like, well … the Rays against the Yankees. They limited New York to an average of 3.75 runs per game because they kept the ball in the park; home runs account for approximately 70% of the Yankees’ offensive production. The pitching gave up a total of three home runs. When you subtract Gilmartin from the equation — cough, which the Rays did on Sunday when they designated the hurler for assignment — the average run total across the four-game set drops to three.
The Rays were also advantageous at the plate, scoring nine two-out runs — 75% of their total run output over the life of the series.
In the finale, Tampa Bay found itself in a late 3-0 hole but rallied to earn the win and take three-out-of-four in the series. Michael Brosseau was the only player with two hits in the game; Brosseau and Brandon Lowe each homered in the contest while Michael Perez hit the walk-off RBI base hit in the bottom of the ninth. However, aside from their play at home, Tampa Bay had been awful over the last week and change. They have to get things going in a positive direction if they hope to live up to their expectations as a contender for the American League pennant. To their credit, the Rays got back to .500 and made up ground in the AL East. Now, they need to start adding some separation between the win and loss columns.
Massholes Red Sox managed to win the rubber match of their home set against the Blue Jays to win the series. They enter this set tied for fourth in the AL East, 4-1/2 games behind the Yankees for the top spot in the division. Boston collected just four hits on Sunday, although three of them left the yard. Mitch Moreland homered twice and Rafael Devers hit his second of the year. Moreland’s second of the game was the walk-off homer that gave the Red Sox the win.
The AL East rivals split a two-game series at the Trop, with Tuesday’s starter, Martín Pérez, blanking the Rays across five innings. Time will tell if familiarity breeds contempt, and the Rays’ hitters will better be equipped to beat up on the finesse lefty, as well as the rest of Boston’s rotation.
Kevin Cash will lean on Ryan Yarbrough (0-2, 3.78 ERA), a pitcher to be named before Tuesday’s contest, Blake Snell (0-0, 3.38 ERA), and Tyler Glasnow (0-2, 3.78 ERA) over the next four days. Ron Roenicke will counter with Colten Brewer (0-0, 2.57 ERA) at some point in the series opener, Martín Pérez (2-1, 3.45 ERA), Zack Godley (0-1, 3.97 ERA), and a pitcher to be named before the series finale.
Ryan Yarbrough allowed five earned runs on eight hits and one walk while striking out five across five innings against the Red Sox on Wednesday. Yarbrough had a scoreless outing through 3-2/3 innings but surrendered a two-run home run to Alex Verdugo to open the scoring. He completely fell apart in the sixth inning, allowing all five batters he faced to reach base, with the big blow being a two-run home run off the bat of Michael Chavis. Despite the poor outing, Yarbrough maintains a 3.78 ERA across 16-2/3 innings to begin the season. He is 3-2 with a 5.36 ERA against the Red Sox, and 3-0 with a 3.60 ERA at Fenway.
Colten Brewer will likely cover a bulk of the innings for Monday’s game against the Rays, either as a long reliever or a traditional starter. Considering Brewer hasn’t tossed more than 44 pitches in any of his five appearances on the season, Boston likely won’t ask him to push much further beyond the 60-to-75-pitches. Brewer relies primarily on a whiffy 94 mph cutter and an 81 mph curveball with exceptional bite and glove-side movement, while also mixing in a hard 90 mph slider. He is 0-0 with a 1.08 ERA in 10 games (8-1/3 IP) against the Rays, and 0-1 with a 3.86 ERA in 35 appearances (35 IP) at Fenway. Key Matchups: Not available at the moment.
Martín Pérez allowed four hits and three walks while striking out four across five scoreless innings against the Rays on Wednesday. Pérez allowed a double to the first batter he faced, but managed work out of the early jam with a pop-up, ground out, and a strikeout. The lefty faced a similar scenario in the fourth inning but remained unscathed. Pérez has given himself a thin margin for error across three starts this season, striking out 11 and walking nine across 15-2/3 innings. Even with his success on Wednesday, Pérez is 1-4 with a 6.10 ERA against the Rays, and 2-2 with a 6.18 ERA at Fenway. Key Matchups: Yandy Díaz (4-12, 2 2B), Brandon Lowe (2-5), Mike Zunino (6-20, 3 HR)
Blake Snell got the start Friday and fired three shutout innings against the Yankees. He allowed no hits and two walks while punching out five on 59 pitches (32 strikes, 54% strike rate). Even though Snell didn’t allow any hits or runs Friday, he struggled with his command. Even so, the southpaw worked around leadoff walks to DJ LeMahieu and Gary Sanchez in the first and third innings (respectively). Snell had hoped to go four-to-five innings, although his struggles in throwing strikes limited his mound time, although he did increase his count if just slightly. Still, he lowered his ERA to 3.38 ERA (4.25 FIP), and his K:BB now stands at 3.5:1 over eight innings across his first three starts of the season.
Me going three innings and then having to cover, I mean that’s a tough task. They’re always ready. … This bullpen is just a great bullpen. Whenever I get out of the game, I’m never worried. These guys are coming in, they’re getting it done, and it’s a great feeling as a starter to know your bullpen is that stacked and they’re going to fight.— Blake Snell
Zack Godley tossed four scoreless innings, allowing three hits and two walks while striking out three against the Blue Jays on Saturday. Godley did his part Saturday, yet the Red Sox mustered just one run on four hits, which clearly wasn’t enough. The 30-year-old right-hander has a 3.97 ERA and 1.50 WHIP with 11 strikeouts across 11-1/3 innings this season. Godley relies primarily on an 89 mph cutter that has some natural sink and a hard 83 mph 12-6 curveball, while also mixing in an 83 mph changeup that dives down out of the zone. He is 0-0 with a 6.74 ERA in two outings (4 IP) against the Rays, and 0-0 with a 0.68 ERA in three games (13-1/3 IP) at Fenway. Key Matchups: Manuel Margot (6-25, 3B), Hunter Renfroe (5-20, 2 2B), Mike Zunino (2-7, HR)
Tyler Glasnow allowed four runs on five hits in just 2-2/3 innings of work on Saturday, striking out five while walking three. Glasnow matched Gerrit Cole with a pair of scoreless frames to start the game, getting out of a bases-loaded jam in the second inning, but he allowed a two-run homer to Mike Ford and a two-run double to Gio Urshela in the third, forcing him from the game. Glasnow now owns a 5.56 ERA through his first three starts, with a 2.38:1 K:BB and a 30.0% HR/FB rate. Glasnow is 1-1 with a 3.32 ERA in four starts against the Red Sox, and 1-1 with a 4.05 ERA at Fenway.
— Charlie Morton has been placed on the 10-day Injured List retroactive to Sunday, August 9. Morton, who left Sunday’s start with right shoulder inflammation, joins Yonny Chirinos as the second Rays’ starter on the shelf.
After Sunday’s game, Morton said he didn’t think the injury was serious. It’s possible that with an off-day on Monday, Morton could return off the IL after missing just one start if the stay is a minimal one.
— Senior VP/GM Erik Neander said Yonny Chirinos’ (right tricep inflammation) IL stint could be a minimal one, and the right-hander could return for the series in Buffalo.
— More on the status of both hurlers should be known later this afternoon when Rays skipper Kevin Cash speaks with the media during his daily Zoom call.
— Tampa Bay has not yet listed a starter for Tuesday’s game and could start Trevor Richards in Morton’s spot for the time being. Richards threw 76 pitches across four innings on Sunday and could also be used with an opener in front of him.
Per Neil Solondz (Rays Radio), The five-man taxi squad includes two pitchers who could provide length in Anthony Banda, a lefty who is on the 40-man roster, and right Aaron Slegers, who is not on the roster currently.