The Tampa Bay Rays look to avoid losing their first out of division series this afternoon, after dropping their second consecutive game to the Minnesota Twins on Saturday, 6-2. They need a win against Minnesota, who has the best record in baseball, to split the four-game series. Tampa Bay has lost just three series this season — two to New York and one to Boston.
The Rays had a hard time capitalizing on early scoring opportunities, ultimately allowing the Twins to slowly extend their lead inning by inning.
I thought we did a pretty good job of getting on base. We just didn’t make the most of the situation. That’s going to happen some nights.— Kevin Cash
Tampa Bay had opportunities against Twins starter Kyle Gibson. Yet with the exception of Travis d’Arnaud’s two-out, run-scoring single in the second inning, the Rays were held hitless in five other at-bats with runners in scoring position against Gibson in his five innings of work. All told, they left seven on base against the right-hander and finished the game 1-for-8 wRISP (.125 wRISP BA) overall.
The Rays had their best chance to plate runs in the third inning. After Brandon Lowe hit a double, Gibson hit Ji-Man Choi on the left foot and walked Nate Lowe to load the bases. Yet Christian Arroyo grounded out to second to end the inning.
The malaise is due in part to the fact that team has been playing without three of its top hitters: Outfielders Tommy Pham and Avisail Garcia were recovering calf and hamstring injuries (respectively) and infielder Yandy Diaz, who was in Port Charlotte working his way back from the injured list with a bruised left hand.
It’s a little different. We rely on our depth, and when you speak about depth, you’re hopefully talking about one guy coming in, but we’re missing some major presence in our lineup right now.— Kevin Cash
Reinforcements are on the way through, as Diaz has been activated from the IL after playing in multiple extended Spring Training games in Port Charlotte yesterday. To make room for Diaz on the 25-man roster, Nate Lowe has been optioned back to Triple-A Durham.
Neither Pham nor Garcia will be back in the lineup today going into Monday’s off-day, although they could be available off the bench.
The New What Next
Ryan Yarbrough (4-1, 5.53 ERA) will get the start in the series finale, pitching opposite of former Ray Jake Odorizzi (7-2, 2.16 ERA).
Ryan Yarbrough followed Stanek and fired 3-2/3 scoreless innings, issuing one walk and recording a strikeout. The lefty got out of a second and third none-out jam in the fourth inning by coaxing a pop-up out of Grichuk, a ground ball out to third from Lourdes Gurriel Jr., and whiffing Brandon Drury to put the kibosh on Toronto’s best early scoring opportunity.
Yarbrough had allowed a combined 12 earned runs across his previous three appearances, yet he needed just 53 pitches to finish with his second scoreless effort of the season.
Jake Odorizzi will return to his old stomping grounds after he fired 5-1/3 scoreless innings Sunday, allowing one hit and a walk while striking out nine. The right-hander was dominant once again although a high pitch count prevented him from going very deep. Odorizzi allowed a walk and a single in a 25-pitch third inning but escaped undamaged. He has lowered his ERA to a terrific 2.16 in 58-1/3 frames this season.
Neil Solondz (Rays Radio) wrote about Odorizzi’s recent spate of success:
Odorizzi has not allowed a run in five of his last six starts (3 ER/35.2 IP). One reason is his fastball velocity (92.7 on average) is the highest it’s ever been. Another is that the Twins haven’t allowed him to face a team the third time through the order often (just 42 plate appearance — .788 OPS against).— Neil Solondz
Odorizzi relies primarily on a whiffy 93 mph four-seam fastball which he runs at the top of the zone and a 93 mph sinker with little sinking action and run, while also mixing in a firm 86 mph split-change with arm-side fade, a 76 mph curveball with sharp downward bite, an 85 mph slider with glove-side cut, and an 87 mph worm-killer cutter. Odorizzi is 0-0 with a 10.38 ERA against his former team but is 21-19 with a 3.38 ERA in 64 starts at Tropicana Field. Key Matchups: Guillermo Heredia (2-7), Kevin Kiermaier (1-3)
You can read about the series in our preview, while the starting lineup and Noteworthiness are below.
Rays 6/2/19 Starting Lineup
- Meadows RF
- Diaz DH
- B. Lowe LF
- Adames SS
- Choi 1B
- Arroyo 3B
- Kiermaier CF
- Zunino C
- Robertson 2B
- Yarbrough LHP
— Michael Perez, who has been out more than three weeks with an oblique injury, is to start a rehab assignment.