An injury update is located below, in Noteworthiness.
After a 2-0 win over the Miami Marlins on Friday, the Tampa Bay Rays look for a Citrus Series win this afternoon. Tampa Bay has won 10 of its last 11 road games — 14 of the last 17 games overall — and start the day a season-high 11-games over .500.
With the team’s second shutout win of the season, paired with the Yankees doubleheader loss to the Mets, the Rays now have a 4.0 game lead in the AL East, and a 99.8% chance of a playoff berth according to FanGraphs.
The team is hoping for good news on the injury front today. Mike Zunino was scratched from Friday’s lineup with left oblique tightness. Ronaldo Hernandez, who has yet to play in a big-league game, is the available backstop on the taxi squad.
Meanwhile, Ryan Yarbrough left last night’s ball game with left groin tightness after 6-2/3 scoreless frames. Rays skipper Kevin Cash said Yarbrough has been managing it for a while.
Yarbrough didn’t come out of the game hurt, he came out because he didn’t want to overexert it.— Kevin Cash, on Ryan Yarbrough
Neither thought it was serious, although more would be known today.
I didn’t realize how fast the game was moving. It was a very Mark Buehrle-esque game. Just attacking the zone.— Ryan Yarbrough
For what it’s worth, Yarbrough was dialed in last night. Working at a Mark Buehrle-esque pace, he went after Marlins hitters, attacking the zone and working both sides of the plate with his late-action cutter. Yarbrough scattered four hits and no walks while striking out five across (the aforementioned) 6-2/3 innings.
Yarbrough is scheduled to start again on Wednesday. Given that it’s in front of an off-day, Cash could opt for a bullpen day, which would provide the southpaw with more rest without putting him on the Injured List if he simply needs a little rest.
The New What Next
Josh Fleming (1-0, 3.60 ERA) will make his second start of the season, pitching opposite of Pablo Lopez (3-1, 1.98 ERA).
Josh Fleming two runs on four hits and two walks across five solid innings in his first career big league start. He struck out three on 72 pitches (41 strikes, 57% strike rate, 22% SwStr%). The southpaw allowed a solo homer to Teoscar Hernandez in the second inning, and an RBI single to Travis Shaw in the fourth. Yet he was also able to work around a double in the fifth, and his day ended with the Tampa Bay trailing by a pair. Fortunately for Fleming, the Rays plated three runs in the bottom of the frame to leave him in line to pick up his first career win. With Yonny Chirinos on the shelf, Fleming showed that he is perfectly capable of pitching in the big leagues.
Pablo Lopez allowed six hits and two walks while striking out three over five scoreless frames on Monday night against Washington. Lopez dealt with plenty of traffic on the basepaths, although he managed to exit the contest staked to a 7-0 lead. The right-hander tossed 16 of the 23 first-pitch strikes. Lopez has looked sharp in five starts this season, allowing two runs or fewer in each outing, good enough for a 1.98 ERA to go along with a 1.24 WHIP and a 3.86 K:BB over 27-1/3 innings. He relies primarily on a 94 mph four-seam fastball, an 87 mph changeup, and a 94 mph sinker, while also mixing in a 91 mph cutter, and a 79 mph curveball. Lopez is 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA in one career start against the Rays.
You can read about the series in our preview, while the starting lineup and Noteworthiness are below.
Rays 8/29/20 Starting Lineup
- Meadows DH
- Lowe LF
- Díaz 3B
- Choi 1B
- Adames SS
- Wendle 2B
- Margot RF
- Kiermaier CF
- Pérez C
— Charlie Morton is expected to throw a bullpen session today or tomorrow. If all goes well, he could be activated when the Rays are in New York. If Yarbrough has to be placed on the IL, Morton could temporarily fill his spot in the rotation.
— The Rays made a flurry of roster moves ahead of Saturday’s ball game. LHP Ryan Yarbrough (left groin tightness) has been placed on the 10-day IL along with C Mike Zunino (left oblique strain). The severity of their injuries isn’t yet known, however, Rays skipper Kevin Cash is confident Yarbrough will only miss one start. As for Zunino, Cash said he’s hopeful they caught the oblique issue early enough and that it won’t be a long stay. He followed that up with a caveat though, noting that oblique injuries are tricky. IF/OF Brian O’Grady has been added from the taxi squad and C Kevan Smith has been selected to join the active roster. In order to create room for Smith on the 40-man roster, Chaz Roe has been moved to the 45-day IL.
Roe becomes the sixth Rays pitcher lost for the season as injuries continue to hammer the American League East leaders, following Jalen Beeks, Yonny Chirinos, Andrew Kittredge, Brendan McKay, and Colin Poche. Yarbrough is the 11th Rays hurler to be shelved since Tampa Bay resumed baseball activities and opened Summer Camp.
— Beeks will have Tommy John surgery on September 3 in Arlington; the procedure will be performed by Dr. Keith Meister.