The Tampa Bay Rays mounted a ninth inning threat against Will “0.33 ERA in 27-1/3 innings of work” Harris, but came up short when Desmond “#HeGotTalent” Jennings grounded into a game ending double play.
The Astros scored more than three runs against Tampa Bay for the first time in 14 games. As for Steven Souza Jr., he did not strike out for the first time in 19 games.
The Rays are back at it Sunday, and if they are to win a third consecutive series for the first time this season, they will have to find a way to beat Dallas Keuchel — the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner — and the Astros. Taking the mound for Tampa Bay will be LHP Matt Moore.
The Rays southpaw is coming off a seven-inning start against Arizona, his longest outing since mid April. Moore relinquished five runs, all via the homer, and now has allowed 14 homers overall. However, in spite of his line, Moore’s fastball command was vastly improved and he was efficient, needing just 86 pitches over the course of his outing. Matt is 1-4 with a 6.49 ERA in his past nine starts, but is 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA in two career starts against Houston.
Keuchel has had a disappointing season thus far, although he has gone at least seven innings in five of his 13 starts, including his last outing. To that point, he has posted a 3.98 ERA over his past three outings — his best three-start stretch of the season. Boding in their favor, Keuchel not beaten the Rays in five career starts. Righties are hitting .297 against Keuchel this year (with an .832 OPS).
Rays 6/12/16 Starting Lineup
— Steve Pearce collected three hits for the second straight game and the third time this season.
— Evan Longoria hit his 15th homer of the season on Saturday. The team has collectively hit 90; they are on pace for 243 by season’s end — the best projected mark in franchise history.
— Kevin Kiermaier (left hand fracture) has been tracking pitches when Rays hurler throw their bullpen session, and has taken dry swings with his dominant (right) hand. On Friday, The Outlaw started shagging fly balls during batting practice while wearing a glove on his right hand.
— Brad Boxberger (left oblique) is improving, although he has not yet been cleared to begin any strengthening exercises. Per Roger Mooney (Tampa Bay Times), that makes it too early to attach a timeline for Boxberger’s return.
Not right now, Boxberger said. It’s still kind of in that healing process. I got it pretty good, apparently. It’s just a matter of taking it day by day to see how each day how it feels, but it’s progressing better each day, so it’s going in the right direction.