After splitting a doubleheader against New York on Saturday, the Tampa Bay Rays will look to take three-of-four from the Yankees Sunday afternoon in the final game of their current homestand. A win against New York would get the Rays back to the .500 mark ahead of their upcoming road trip through Boston,
Toronto Buffalo, and New York.
Eight of the Rays nine combined runs came with two outs yesterday. If Tampa Bay has done one thing really well during this truncated season, it’s plate two-out runs — on the season, 34 of their 61 total runs have come with two outs (56%). Still, the Rays’ offense needs to apply more pressure during the first and second innings, as just two of their runs have come in the first two frames (3%).
In a shocking turn of events that no one would ever have expected, Giancarlo Stanton was pulled from the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader because of a tight left hamstring. Yankees manager Aaron Boone said after the game that Stanton would be placed on the Injured List.
In another outrageous set of events, New York’s skipper was tossed during the second game — an event that is akin to finding the ultrarare gem Tanzanite given Boone’s never petulant, always even-keeled demeanor. I digress.
The New What Next
Charlie Morton (1-1, 5.52 ERA) will take the mound in the series finale, pitching opposite of James Paxton (0-1, 13.50 ERA).
Charlie Morton got the start for the Rays and allowed just one earned run on five hits and no walks while punching out five across 5-2/3 innings. The right-hander threw 65 of 93 pitches for strikes (70% strike rate) and coaxed 14 swings and misses (22% whiff rate). Morton held Boston’s lineup in check, with the only major damage coming on a solo homer by Mitch Moreland. Most importantly, Morton’s velocity ticked up, as his fastball sat between 93 and 94 miles per hour for much of his start — an increase of one to two mph from his previous two outings — while hitting 95 mph on a few occasions. Morton was able to lower his ERA to 5.52 (4.09 FIP) across 14-2/3 total innings this season. His 7:1 K:BB suggests even better results are on the way.
James Paxton allowed five runs (three earned) on seven hits and struck out four across three innings on Sunday. The southpaw labored through his second start of the season, needing 62 pitches (45 strikes, 73% strike rate) to complete the three innings. He’s surrendered eight runs (six earned) across two short starts this season. While Paxton has just walked one batter, he continues to deal with a drop in velocity — he hovered around 91 mph with his fastball Sunday (down 4.4 mph from last season). He relies primarily on a 92 mph sinker and a whiffy 92 mph four-seam fastball with natural sinking action, while also mixing in a hard 79 mph knuckle curveball, an 85 mph cutter with heavy sink, and an 81 mpg changeup that dives down out of the zone. He is 3-1 with a 3.19 ERA in five career starts against Tampa Bay. Key Matchups: Yandy Diaz (3-6), Kevin Kiermaier (2-5)
You can read about the series in our preview, while the starting lineup and Noteworthiness are below.
Rays 8/9/20 Starting Lineup
- Díaz 3B
- Meadows LF
- Martínez DH
- Renfroe RF
- Brosseau 1B
- Lowe 2B
- Margot CF
- Adames SS
- Zunino C
— The Rays shuffled the roster this morning.
RHP Oliver Drake has been placed on the Injured List with right bicep tendinitis. Meanwhile, RHP Ryan Thompson has been recalled from Port Charlotte, while Manuel Margot (who was previously on the bereavement list) and RHP John Curtiss have been activated. In order to make room on the roster for Curtiss, the team designated Sean Gilmartin — husband of professional asshole Kayleigh McEnany — for assignment, after he allowed three runs on two homers across 3-1/3 innings of work on Saturday, as well as catcher Kevan Smith.
Of note, Rays manager Kevin Cash said Drake missed some time in Summer Camp and felt it was right by him to get his arm to calm down a bit. He also said Curtiss can provide some innings, while he hopes Smith doesn’t get claimed, as they hope to keep him in the fold.
— Ji-Man Choi! Ji-Man Choi! Per Neil Solondz (Rays Radio), Ji-Man Choi appreciated the chant played when he came to the plate during this series, and said it helped him stay calm and helped since he normally interacts with fans before the game.