The Tampa Bay Rays will look snap a two-game skid and even their three-game series against the Boston Red Sox on Saturday. The Rays, which still have the best record in baseball, dropped back-to-back games for the first time this season after a 6-4 loss on Friday.
After giving up nine total runs in the previous eight games at the Trop, the Rays have allowed 12 runs in their last two contests. Per Neil Solondz (Rays Radio), the three homers hit by Red Sox were the most the group has hit in a game in April, and the second most this season (four at Seattle 3/29).
Rays skipper Kevin Cash suggested that the bullpen workload could’ve been an issue. That being said, leaning on Wilmer Font, who now has allowed eight runs total over his last six outings (7-1/3 innings of work), might not have been the best decision. Whatever the case, the focus shifts to winning today, giving the team a chance to extend its series winning streak to seven.
We’ve done a good job finding ways to win series. We still want to put ourselves in position, and the only way we can do that is come out and play good and win.— Kevin Cash
Bulk innings guy Ryan Yarbrough, who allowed three runs last night, said the challenge now is to make sure this is not the start of something.
We’re not freaking out or anything like that. We kind of know where we’re at. We have Charlie (Morton) going (Saturday), and we have a lot of confidence in him. Our offense has been great so far this year. We’re not really too concerned. It’s just more about executing pitches and see what happens.— Ryan Yarbrough
The New What Next
Charlie Morton (2-0, 2.18 ERA) will try to keep Boston in check tonight, pitching opposite of Rick Porcello (0-3, 11.12 ERA).
Charlie Morton allowed one run on four hits and three walks while striking out four over 4-2/3 innings on Sunday against Toronto. Morton surrendered the only run of his start in the first inning, but he managed to close out his day with 3-2/3 scoreless frames. He was pulled from the game needing one more out to qualify for the win. The right-hander hasn’t allowed more than two runs in any of his first four outings of the season and owns a 2.18 ERA with 25 strikeouts across 20-2/3 innings.
Rick Porcello allowed three runs on six hits and five walks while fanning two in a loss to the Orioles on Saturday. Porcello, who threw just 48 of 90 pitches for strikes (53% strike rate), had traffic in every inning and now has walked 12 in 11-1/3 innings. He told Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald that he’s rushing his delivery but hasn’t been able to correct it. Porcello relies primarily on a 92 mph worm-killer four-seam fastball and a whiffy 90 mph sinker, while also mixing in an 82 mph palm ball changeup, an 86 mph slider with 12-6 movement, and a 76 mph curveball with glove-side movement. Key Matchups: Willy Adames (1-4), Ji-Man Choi (2-8, 2B, RBI), Avisail Garcia (8-22, 2B, HR, 6 RBI, BB), Brandon Lowe (1-1), Daniel Robertson (2-5), Joey Wendle (5-12, 2B, BB), Mike Zunino (3-10, HR, 2 RBI)
You can read about the series in our preview, and I’ll post the starting lineup upon availability.
Rays 4/20/19 Starting Lineup
- Meadows RF
- Pham LF
- Choi 1B
- Diaz 3B
- Lowe 2B
- Garcia DH
- Kiermaier CF
- Robertson SS
- Perez C
- Morton RHP
— In need of a fresh arm to cover innings if necessary, Casey Sadler — who made his debut with the Rays last night — was optioned back to Triple-A Durham. To fill the open spot on the roster, RHP Jake Faria was recalled.
— Joey Wendle (hamstring) told Marc Topkin (Tampa Bay Times) he felt ready to be activated from the IL after testing his injury in instructional league games this week. His reinstatement will be predicated on whether the team needs to keep need an extra pitcher for Saturday and Sunday.
— Blake Snell (fractured toe) will throw a bullpen Saturday with hopes of being activated from the IL next week. He can be activated as early as April 24.
— Jose De Leon reportedly felt great after making a post-Tommy John surgery start in an extended Spring Training contest in Port Charlotte. the right-hander threw 18 of 22 pitches for strikes (82%) over 1-1/3 innings with four strikeouts. He will make at least two more extended spring starts before starting a 30-day rehab assignment.