On Sunday, the Tampa Bay Rays hit the road en route to the Motor City, where they will face the Detroit Tigers over the next three days. Tampa Bay dropped three of four at home against the Twins after losing the series finale, 9-7, Sunday afternoon. Detroit dropped the rubber game of their three-game set on the road against Atlanta, losing 7-4 Sunday afternoon.
After beating the Twins 14-3 in the series opener on Thursday, Tampa Bay dropped three consecutive games to close out the series. In short, the Rays were unable to contain Minnesota’s lineup. Even with the loss on Sunday, the Rays got two hits each from Austin Meadows (run, two RBI), Brandon Lowe (RBI) and Ji-Man Choi (two runs) while Christian Arroyo hit his second homer of the season, rallying from a 7-0 deficit to close the gap to two. They enter the series second in the AL East and 2-1/2 games behind the Yankees.
Detroit dropped the final two games of its road series in Atlanta as it was upended in the rubber match. The Tigers battled back from a three-run deficit to tie the game in the eighth inning before giving up four runs in the bottom of the frame. Grayson Greiner, JaCoby Jones, and Christin Stewart each homered in the loss. They enter the series fourth in the AL Central and 17 games behind the Twins.
The Rays won the season series 4-2 last season, although the Tigers took two of three at Comerica Park July 9-11, 2018.
Over the next three days, Kevin Cash will throw starters Blake Snell (3-4, 3.06 ERA) and Charlie Morton (6-0, 2.54 ERA), and likely bulk guy Jalen Beeks (4-0, 3.02 ERA). Ron Gardenhire will counter with Ryan Carpenter (0-2, 7.58 ERA), Spencer Turnbull (3-4, 2.84 ERA), and Daniel Norris (2-4, 4.58 ERA).
Blake Snell allowed two runs on six hits and two walks across six innings in an extra-inning win over the Blue Jays on Wednesday. He struck out five. The left-hander served up a two-run homer to Lourdes Gurriel during a shaky first inning but otherwise kept Toronto off the board. Snell was in line for his fourth win of the season until Jose Alvarado gave up the lead in the eighth inning. The 26-year-old was able to lower his ERA to 3.06 and has a 1.04 WHIP and 4.88 K/BB across 61-2/3 innings this season.
Ryan Carpenter gave up two earned runs on four hits and two walks while striking out three over five innings on Wednesday. Carpenter worked efficiently against a poor Orioles lineup, needing only 79 pitches (50 strikes, 63% strike rate) to generate 15 outs. He allowed runs in the first and fourth innings, one of which came on a solo home run by Keon Broxton. Despite a relatively productive outing, Carpenter has a 7.58 ERA and 1.47 WHIP across 19 innings and four starts this season. He relies primarily on an 82 mph slider with short glove-side cut and two-plane movement, and a 91 mph four-seam fastball with natural sinking action, while also mixing in a 91 mph sinker with natural sinking action, a firm 85 mph changeup with arm-side fade, and a 77 mph curveball with sweeping glove-side movement. Carpenter has never faced the Rays. Key Matchup: Avisail Garcia (1-3)
Charlie Morton had more than enough run support on Thursday, and he responded by allowing two runs on four hits and no walks across seven innings on an efficient 87 pitches (62 strikes, 71% strike rate). He struck out six. Morton pitched to the minimum, allowing just one hit across the first four frames before the Twins got on the board in the fifth inning on a two-out single by Ehire Adrianza. Minnesota pushed across another run in the sixth inning on Max Kepler’s groundout. Morton likely could have gone deeper into the game, although the lopsided score allowed Kevin Cash to give Adam Kolarek and Oliver Drake a little work in the eighth and ninth innings. Consecutive quality starts have Morton’s ERA at an excellent 2.54 heading into his next scheduled start against Detroit.
Spencer Turnbull allowed one run on five hits and a walk while striking out two over six innings on Friday. Turnbull surrendered his only run of the night in the third inning on a groundout to short, and it was smooth sailing from there. Following Friday’s impressive start, Turnbull sports a 2.84 ERA and 1.26 WHIP with a 2.91 K/BB through 66-2/3 innings this season. He relies primarily on a whiffy 94 mph four-seam fastball with heavy sinking action, and a hard 87 mph worm-killer slider with two-plane movement, while also mixing in a 95 mph sinker with natural sinking action, and an 80 mph curveball with sharp downward bite. Turnbull has never faced the Rays.
Jalen Beeks allowed two runs on four hits and a walk while striking out three across 3-1/3 innings on Friday. Beeks cruised through his first two innings of work before getting roughed up in the fifth, yielding two runs on a pair of hits. Still, the 25-year-old southpaw has been solid out of the bulk inning role this season, posting a 3.02 ERA with 43 strikeouts in 44-2/3 innings of work.
Daniel Norris allowed six runs (five earned) across 5-1/3 innings on Saturday. He fanned four and walked two. Norris kept Atlanta off the board for the first three innings before he allowed two runs in each of the next two frames. He carries a 4.58 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, and 2.8 K/BB into the series finale on Thursday. He relies primarily on a 91 mph four-seam fastball, and an 84 mph slider with short glove-side cut, while also mixing in a whiffy 85 mph changeup that dives down out of the zone, a whiffy 91 mph sinker, and a 77 mph curveball with exceptional bite. Norris is 1-1 with a 3.97 ERA in four career starts against Tampa Bay. Key Matchups: Avisail Garcia (2-8, 2 BB), Guillermo Heredia (5-8, HR, 3 RBI), Kevin Kiermaier (1-2, RBI), Daniel Robertson (2-5, 2 RBI, BB)