The Rays made their way to Pheonix Monday, in anticipation of their second two game series in a week against the Diamondbacks. Since leaving St. Petersburg Wednesday night, Arizona has been busy. They lost a makeup game against the Rangers and dropped two of three in Boston. They traded Ian Kennedy for LHPR Joe Thatcher, reinstated Brandon McCarthy from the DL, dumped reliever Tony Sipp and called up Tuffy Gosewisch after putting C Miguel Montero on the DL. They have lost six of eight overall.
The Rays, on the other hand, took two of three from the San Francisco Giants, lost Desmond Jennings to the 15-day DL because of a fractured finger, recalled OF Jason Bourgeois to take Jennings’ place, and averaged over 28,000 fans over the span of the three game set. Tampa Bay enters Arizona a half game out of first in the AL East, having not lost a series since the middle of June.
Wade Miley: Per Rotowire, “Miley evened his record at 8-8 after picking up the win against the Rays on Wednesday. He didn’t allow the opposition to score a run and struck out eight over 6.1 innings.” Not much has changed for Miley in a week. Here’s what we mentioned about Miley last week, “At first glance, Miley looks terribly average. His fastball sits around 89-92 mph and his secondary offerings don’t appear to be plus pitches. Miley works in plenty of change-ups that routinely miss the strike zone. Wade also spins a slider that has improved dramatically in 2012, and rare curve. Miley’s pitching breakout: fastball (89-93), change-up (79-82), slider (81-85), curve.” Then again, he did two-hot the Rays a week ago, so… Miley has won four of his last five starts, lasting at least into the seventh inning in each of those victories. Key Match-ups: Wil Myers (1-2, BB), Ben Zobrist (1-3, 2B).
Zeke Spruill: Spruill, 23, was recently recalled from Triple-A. Per The Scouting Book, “A big, durable workhorse, righty Zeke Sprull is a big strong starter originally ID’d by Atlanta before moving to Arizona as part of the Justin Upton deal of early 2013. A straightforward fastball and decent stuff combined with a bulldog mentality and fearlessness helps Sprull pitch better than his tools suggest he should. He’s looking pretty MLB ready after posting a full-season 3.67, 1.262 over 162 innings with AA Mississippi. He doesn’t strike out a ton of guys, but he gets the outs that matter. A true pitcher, not just a stuff-laced thrower.“
- Miley has limited opponents to a .198 average in his last five outings.
- Jeremy Hellickson will be trying to win his fifth straight road start after posting a 3.27 ERA over his last four.
- The Diamondbacks will start the series without shortstop Cliff Pennington, who’s out with a sore left foot.
- The Rays are a major league-best 12-3 in interleague play.
- Jason Bourgeois has be recalled to fill in for the ailing Desmond Jennings. The Rays CF is on the 15-day DL, having incurred a fractured finger in Saturday night’s game against the Giants.
- In the Baseball America “Best Tools” survey, James Loney and Yunel Escobar were voted the second best defenders at their position, with Evan Longoria just behind at third. Also in the survey, Matt Moore was listed as the third best pitcher, while newcomer Jesse Crain was ranked as the second best reliever. Fernando Rodney has the third best changeup, per the survey.