On the heels of a 4-2 loss against the Washington Nationals on Tuesday, the Tampa Bay Rays look to split a two-game series and snap a five-game skid this afternoon. Tampa Bay is now 0-6 in Interleague play, which they historically excel at. Of the five consecutive defeats, the last four are by one or two runs.
Ryan Yarbrough (4-2, 3.38 ERA) will pitch the bulk of the innings today, however, Jonny Venters (1-0, 0.87 ERA) will make his first big league start ever, with the Nationals normally having several lefties near the top of their lineup. Washington’s skipper Dave Martinez said they felt confident in their hitters and wouldn’t adjust to the Rays plans.
Venters made several starts at the minor league level, and welcomed the opportunity to take the bump for three-to-six hitters at the beginning of the game.
I’m excited, Venters said. I’m going to treat it like I do every other outing, this time it just happens to be in the first inning. Try to go out there and get some guys out. And that’s about it.
The southpaw is in the midst of a scoreless streak over nine frames.
They’ll be opposed by Tanner Roark (2-6, 3.61). Roark allowed two runs on two hits in a loss on Sunday against Atlanta. Roark entered the game in the ninth with the score tied at two, yet allowed two hits that would cost Washington — a double to Dansby Swanson, followed by a walkoff home run to Charlie Culberson. Roark, in spite of that out of the ordinary relief appearance, has taken a loss in each of his last two appearances. His 2-6 record is misleading, as the 31 year-old sits with decent peripherals, and has demonstrated the ability to work deeply into games, pitching six or more innings across all but one of his 12 turns this season. This season Roark has relied primarily on his 92 mph sinker using a two-seam fastball grip, while also mixing in a 92 mph four-seam fastball, a 75 mph curveball with exceptional bite and slight glove-side movement, an 85 mph slider, and an 84 mph changeup with a ton of backspin and some armside run. In spite of an opposing .289 BA/.319 OBP/.356 SLG/.675 OPS line from Tampa Bay, Roark is 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA in one lone start against the Rays. Key Matchups: Christian Arroyo (1-2, 2B), Matt Duffy (1-3), Carlos Gomez (2-3), Brad Miller (3-3, 2B)
You can read about the series in our preview.
Rays 8/6/18 Starting Lineup
— RHP Yonny Chirinos, who was optioned to Triple-A Durham after recovering from a forearm strain, is working on building up his pitch count with the goal of him returning as a starter.
We’re very confident we’ll be calling him back up, Cash was quoted as saying.
— The Rays have set their starters for the upcoming series with the Mariners.
Thursday: Ryne Stanek (with Matt Andriese getting the bulk of the innings)
Friday: Wilmer Font
Saturday: Blake Snell
Sunday: Nathan Eovaldi
— Ever get the feeling Marc Topkin is a little too self congratulatory for some of the things he writes?
— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) June 6, 2018