After bouncing back from a loss in the series opener to defeat the Royals on Friday, 11-3, the Tampa Bay Rays look to make it two wins in a row this afternoon at the Trop.

At 53-26 on the season, the Rays enter play 27 games above .500 and in first place in the division, 5.5 games up on the second-place Orioles.

Zach Eflin allowed three runs on seven hits and two walks over six innings against the Royals. He struck out seven and threw 98 pitches (67 strikes, 68% strike rate). The damage against the right-hander came on early homers by Nick Pratto and Salvador Perez, yet Eflin settled in, allowing Tampa Bay’s offense to get rolling. The quality start was his sixth in his last seven turns — a stretch in which he sports a 3.32 ERA. Overall, Eflin maintains a 3.35 ERA and a 3.39 FIP, with a 1.03 WHIP, and a 5.60 K/BB on the season.

Felt like I grinded, and it was a pretty gritty outing. Obviously it was awesome to watch the guys get 17 hits, put a lot of runs up … so I thought it was a really good team win today.

— Zach Eflin

Meanwhile, the hits came early and often for the Rays, and the bullpen didn’t let the game get interesting.

José Siri opened the scoring with a second-inning, three-run blast to left field. The homer came after Isaac Paredes and Christian Bethancourt reached on a pair of singles to center.

Then, with the game knotted at three apiece, Siri gave Tampa Bay the go-ahead lead which it would never relinquish in the fourth inning, on an RBI single to center, plating Bethancourt from second.

They doubled the score in the bottom of the fifth inning after Manuel Margot bunted with one out, then moved up to third on Josh Lowe’s base hit to center, putting runners on the corners. Harold Ramírez came up with, you guessed it, an RBI single to center, ending Zack Greinke’s night. That, however, did not end the Rays’ scoring. José Cuas, appearing for the second night in a row, served up a two-RBI single to Taylor Walls, and a Bethancourt RBI double, putting Tampa Bay up by four.

Two more base hits, and an RBI double, in the eighth inning, gave the Rays a commanding eight-run lead — capping the scoring at 11 runs on 17 hits and two walks.

Robert Stephenson worked around a lead-off walk and a base hit to put up a zero in the seventh inning. He struck out one on 12 pitches (5 strikes, 42% strike rate). His hair, in fact, was perfectly coiffed during and after his outing. Jake Diekman worked around a single in the eighth inning while striking out three on 16 pitches (11 strikes, 69% strike rate). Finally, Shawn Armstrong worked around a pair of base hits for a scoreless ninth. All told, the Rays struck out 12 and walked three.

The New What Next

Yonny Chirinos (3-2, 2.72 ERA, 4.44 FIP) will toe the rubber in some capacity, pitching opposite Jordan Lyles (0-11, 6.72 ERA, 5.61 FIP).

Yonny Chirinos allowed five runs (three earned) on six hits and two walks while striking out three over 4.2 innings on Sunday in San Diego. Chirinos made his third start of the season but wasn’t able to replicate his success from his previous turn. The right-hander didn’t get help from his defense, and he needed 90 pitches (52 strikes, 58% strike rate) to get 14 outs. He’s now at a 2.72 ERA and a 4.44 FIP, with a 1.02 WHIP, and a 1.43 K/BB through 43 innings (10 appearances).

Jordan Lyles allowed three runs on six hits and one walk over six innings against the Tigers on Monday. He struck out three. Lyles notched his second quality start of the season and his first since April 17. The right-hander hasn’t been sharp in 2023, boasting a 6.72 ERA and a 5.61 FIP, although he has been able to eat up innings, completing at least five frames in 13 of his 15 turns (85.2 innings total). Lyles relies primarily on a 91 mph fourseam fastball and an 80 mph slider that sweeps across the zone, while also mixing in a 79 mph 12-6 knuckle curveball, a 91 mph swing-and-miss sinker, a firm 86 mph changeup, and an 87 mph cutter that has some natural sink and has strong cutting action. Key Matchups: Randy Arozarena (3-10, 2 HR, 5 RBI), Christian Bethancourt (1-2), Josh Lowe (4-8, 2B, 3B, RBI), Francisco Mejía (4-7, 2B, HR, 3 RBI), José Siri (1-3), Tayor Walls (2-5, 2B, 3 BB)

You can read about the series in our preview, while the starting lineup is below.

Rays 6/24/23 Starting Lineup

  1. Díaz 1B
  2. Franco SS
  3. Raley LF
  4. Arozarena DH
  5. J. Lowe RF
  6. Walls 3B
  7. Siri CF
  8. Mejía C
  9. Bruján 2B


— After a two-day disciplinary benching of Wander Franco, he’s back in the lineup at short and hitting second.

— Yandy Díaz and Luke Raley are also back in the lineup today.