After taking two of three from the Guardians, the Tampa Bay Rays head out to San Francisco, where they start a three-game series against the Giants, on Monday. The Giants dropped two of three to the Rangers over the weekend.

At 71-49 0n the season, the Rays enter play 22 games above .500 with 42 games left to play.

Tampa Bay bounced back from a pair of disappointing losses against the Cardinals with two come-from-behind walk-off wins on Friday and Saturday. The series finale, on the other hand, was a truly ugly loss at a time when ugly losses shouldn’t happen. Not only has the relief corps been taxed — Kevin Cash called on six pitchers Sunday — but the Rays also had to fly across the country without the benefit of an off-day. Consider, too, the fact that Tyler Glasnow hasn’t pitched in over a week and a half, and could have a shorter leash because of it in the series opener, and you’ve got the makings of a potential disaster. Expect the Rays to make some roster moves to get some fresh arms into the ‘pen.

Nevertheless, the Rays’ offensive woes continue to slowly wane. They were able to put up 17 runs against a stingy Guardians’ pitching staff, and have slashed a .274 BA/.329 OBP/.481 SLG/.810 OPS line over the last seven days, with a 128 wRC+ and a 5.5 wRAA. To their credit, the Rays have slugged their way to an excellent .207 ISO over the last week, although I wouldn’t be surprised if that power production — or, at the very least, the long ball — is suppressed in the cool, heavy atmosphere of San Francisco.

In contrast, the Giants have won just four of their last 10 games. To their credit, they were able to snap a four-game skid with an extra-inning walk-off win against the Rangers. However, they have slashed an ice-cold .209 BA/.295 OBP/.299 SLG/.594 OPS line over the last seven days, with a 65 wRC+ and a -9.5 wRAA. Assuming the Rays pitching staff can bounce back after it allowed 22 runs over the life of the series against Cleveland, they should be able to keep the Giants in check.

The Rays enter play with an overall 3.84 ERA and 3.90 FIP (3.69 ERA and 3.52 FIP for the starters, 4.02 ERA, and 4.34 FIP for the relievers). Over the last seven days, Tampa Bay regressed to a combined 5.17 ERA and 4.08 FIP (3.24 ERA and 3.02 FIP for the starters, 6.83 ERA and a 4.99 FIP for the relievers).

Meanwhile, the Giants’ pitching staff has been solid overall, pitching to an overall 3.90 ERA and 3.97 FIP (4.17 ERA and 4.11 FIP for the starters, 3.62 ERA, and 3.62 FIP for the relievers). They’ve regressed to a combined 5.47 ERA and a 3.99 FIP (7.79 ERA and a 4.49 FIP for the starters, 4.28 ERA and a 3.77 FIP for the relievers).

The Rays last faced the Giants in 2019 when they went 2-1, and outscored San Francisco 12-8.

Pitching Probables

Over the next three days, Kevin Cash will likely call on Tyler Glasnow (5-3, 3.15 ERA, 3.18 FIP), Zack Littell (2-3, 3.72 ERA, 3.42 FIP), and Aaron Civale (5-3, 2.61 ERA, 3.40 FIP). Gabe Kapler hasn’t named a starter for the opening game of the series, and it’s thought he’ll lean on Sean Manaea (3-3, 5.10 ERA, 3.57 FIP), and Ross Stripling (0-5, 5.10 ERA, 5.25 FIP) in some capacity the other two days.

Tyler Glasnow allowed one run on three hits and two walks over seven innings against the Yankees. He struck out eight and threw 94 pitches (61 strikes, 65% strike rate, 18% SwStr%). Glasnow now has eight or more strikeouts in six of his last seven starts while pitching to a 2.08 ERA in that span. He has returned to elite form after missing the first two months of the season with an oblique injury. Overall, Glasnow’s ERA is down to 3.15 with a 3.18 FIP, a 1.08 WHIP, and 4.36 K/BB across 12 starts (68.2 innings) this season. Hey, look! After three times of cutting and pasting the same damn thing about Glasnow, he’s actually going to pitch!


Zack Littell allowed three runs on seven hits and no walks while striking out five batters over six innings on Thursday. Littell held the Cardinals scoreless through three frames before serving up a two-run homer to Andrew Knizner in the fourth. St. Louis tacked on another run against the right-hander in the sixth inning. In spite of the loss, Littell continues to look good in his new role as a starter, tossing his second consecutive quality start. He now maintains a 3.72 ERA and a 3.42 FIP, with a 1.27 WHIP, and an 11.33 K/BB over 38.2 innings.

Sean Manaea allowed a run on a hit and a walk while striking out six over four-plus innings against the Angels on Wednesday. Manaea was solid, but he gave up a leadoff double to Luis Rengifo to open the sixth inning. Tristan Beck entered the game and allowed an intentional walk, a single, and a three-run home run to put a run on Manaea’s line. Over his last five outings, Manaea has given up one run, four hits, and two walks while striking out 14 over 11.2 innings. He’s at a 5.10 ERA and a 3.57 FIP overall, with a 1.27 WHIP, and 3.24 K/BB through 77.2 innings. Manaea relies primarily on a whiffy 94 mph fourseam fastball and an 83 mph slider that has short glove-side cut, while also mixing in an 86 mph changeup that dives down out of the zone. Key Matchups: Randy Arozarena (2-5, BB), Yandy Díaz (2-7, 2 HR, 2 RBI, BB), Manuel Margot (2-8), Harold Ramírez (2-3, RBI), José Siri (1-3, 3B)

Aaron Civale surrendered two runs on seven hits and a walk over five innings Friday against the Guardians. He struck out two. It wasn’t a pretty outing, with Civale tying his season low with just two strikeouts and managing only three swinging strikes on 91 pitches (2% SwStr%). Still, a lot of the contact he allowed was soft, with his former team averaging just a 78.5 mph exit velocity off of him. While Civale managed to limit the damage, his first two turns for the Rays have been disappointing given favorable matchups against Detroit and Cleveland. Overall, he owns a 2.61 ERA and a 3.40 FIP, with a 1.12 WHIP, and a 2.78 K/BB.

Ross Stripling allowed two runs on five hits and struck out three without walking a batter over five innings Friday against the Rangers. Stripling was solid, although he gave up solo homers to Nathaniel Lowe and Mitch Garver on back-to-back pitches in the sixth inning. The right-hander has given up just 10 runs over his last 26.2 frames. He has a 5.10 ERA and a 5.25 FIP on the season, with a 1.26 WHIP, and a 5.27 K/BB in 72.1 innings over 18 appearances (11 starts) this season. Stripling relies primarily on an 87 mph slider, an 84 mph changeup, and a 92 mph swing-and-miss fourseam fastball, while also mixing in a 76 mph 12-6 curveball, and a 90 mph sinker. Key Matchups: Brandon Lowe (4-10, 2B, 2 HR, 3 RBI, BB), Manuel Margot (10-26, 3 2B, 3 HR, 3 RBI, 2 BB), Isaac Paredes (2-6, 2B), Harold Ramírez (5-13, 2 HR, 3 RBI)


— Given the allegations levied against Wander Franco this past weekend, Major League Baseball’s investigation into the matter, and the promotion of highly regarded shortstop prospect Osleivis Basabe, Franco — who was placed on the Restricted List for the duration of the team’s west coast trek — will not be traveling with the Rays to San Francisco and Anaheim. Without any confirmed updates on the matter, it would be irresponsible for me to speak about this issue any more than I already have at the moment.