Salvage mode. After an 11-inning, 5-4 loss in Baltimore, the Tampa Bay Rays look to end an otherwise unsuccessful road trip on a high note. As Neil Solondz (Rays Radio) noted, Tampa Bay has dropped the first four games of their first road trip, all by one or three runs.
Much like Kauffman Stadium, home of the Kansas City Royals, Oriole Park at Camden Yards has turned into a house of horrors for the Rays. Tampa Bay is 21-28 in Baltimore extending back to 2015. On Sunday, the Rays will try to avoid their first winless road trip since 2016 (June 20-26) — a seven-game road trip taking them through Cleveland and Baltimore.
A huge factor in this stretch of poor play is the number of errors they have committed thus far: 10 errors in nine games (the most in the American League). Willy Adames has committed 40% of those errors, while the team, overall, has made two or more errors in four of their last six games.
Baserunning issues have also reared their ugly head which Saturday’s extra-inning loss epitomized.
Ji-Man Choi was thrown out at third base as he tried to tag up on Yoshi Tsutsugo’s fly-ball out at the top of the 10th inning. If you haven’t noticed, Choi isn’t quite the burner on the basepaths. An inning later, Kevin Kiermaier was doubled up at second base on a lineout off the bat of Manuel Margot.
The intensity is up. The pressure is probably mounting day by day, inning by inning that we’re not getting it done. We have guys that really care a lot and want to do a lot, but sometimes that doesn’t always work in our favor.— Kevin Cash
It is still too early to press the panic button, after all there are still 51 games left to play. However, the Rays understand that they need to turn things around — and quickly — if they are going to make an impact in the presumed 2020 postseason.
I don’t think stressing about it is going to help us at all. We’re a really good team. It’s only been nine games. It’s a shorter season, but we’ve lost a few games in a row before. I know we’ll rally again and get back on track.— Tyler Glasnow
The New What Next
Yonny Chirinos (0-0, 0.00 ERA) will get the start in the series finale with the Orioles, pitching opposite of Tommy Milone (0-1, 12.00 ERA).
Yonny Chirinos missed two weeks of Summer Camp due to COVID-19, and because of it, questions surrounded the right-hander as he took the mound … questions regarding his pitch count, command and control of his stuff, and stamina. And though he threw just one first-pitch strike to the first nine batters (7-of-17 overall), Chirinos was able to maintain his composure and turn in a fairly effective outing, allowing one unearned run on four hits and two walks while striking out four on 68 pitches (41 strikes, 60% strike rate).
It doesn’t hurt that he was helped by double plays in each of the first two scoreless frames, including a strike ’em out, throw ’em out twin killing in the first.
Yet, Chirinos ran into trouble in the third inning when Ender Inciarte reached on Ji-Man Choi’s error, then went to third on Alex Jackson’s double to left, his first big-league hit. Ronald Acuña Jr. earned a base loading free pass before Chirinos was able to strike out both Ozzie Albies and Freddie Freeman. Still, Marcell Ozuna drove in the game’s first run on a base hit to left, although Matt Adams popped out to cap the rally at just one run. Chirinos threw 31 pitches in the frame but finished his outing with a clean eight-pitch fourth.
Tommy Milone will make his second start of the season after being tagged with an Opening Day loss when he allowed four runs on four hits and three walks across three innings of work while striking out five. Milone relies primarily on a 79 mph changeup with some natural sink to it and a whiffy 86 mph four-seam fastball, while also mixing in a 79 mph slider which has less than expected depth. The southpaw is 3-4 with a 6.75 ERA in eight appearances (five starts) against Tampa Bay, and 0-0 with a 4.38 ERA in two career starts in Baltimore. Key Matchups: Willy Adames (3-5, 2B), Kevin Kiermaier (5-7, 2B, HR), Jose Martinez (3-5, 2B), Mike Zunino (6-13, 3 HR)
You can read about the series in our preview, and the starting lineup is below.
Rays 8/2/20 Starting Lineup
- Díaz DH
- Brosseau 3B
- B. Lowe 2B
- Martínez 1B
- Renfroe RF
- Margot LF
- Adames SS
- Kiermaier CF
- Zunino C