Ahh, the friendly confines of the Trop. (Photo Credit: X-Rays Spex)

After a second consecutive walk-off win against the Pirates of Pittsburgh, the Tampa Bay Rays will go for the sweep this afternoon in the series finale.

At 39-32 on the season, the Rays enter play seven games over .500 having won their first series since June 6-9 versus the Cardinals.

The consecutive walk-off wins are the first for Tampa Bay since September 2019 when they did it against Boston. Tampa Bay is now 9-1 this season in interleague play.

Wander Franco, who has been sidelined since May 31st, will be activated from the Injured List before this afternoon’s contest. Franco made his third start in as many games for Triple-A Durham on Friday and went 2-4 with a pair of base hits, an RBI, and a run scored as the designated hitter. The performance came after he played 13 combined innings at shortstop Wednesday and Thursday. In five rehab games between the Rookie-level Florida Complex League Rays and the Bulls, Franco went 6-16 (.375) with three extra-base hits (two doubles and a triple).

Meanwhile, the Rays went 11–12 in his absence. Franco missed 23 games, but he first suffered leg issues in mid-April after hitting a 1.111 OPS over the first two weeks of the season. JonathanAranda has been optioned to Triple-A Durham in order to clear roster space for Franco, as the Rays had to return a position player. Kevin Cash is expected to move Taylor Walls back into a utility role.

The New What Next

Shane McClanahan (7-3, 1.81 ERA) will get the start in the finale, pitching opposite Roansy Contreras (2-1, 2.89 ERA).

Shane McClanahan allowed one run on four hits and one walk while striking out eight across six innings against the Yankees on Monday. McClanahan served up a first-inning solo homer to Anthony Rizzo, although he didn’t allow any other runs for the remainder of his outing. He coaxed 16 swinging strikes and racked up eight punchouts in a marquee matchup against Kermit the Frog Gerrit Cole. The lefthander has allowed two runs or or fewer in nine consecutive starts and has posted a 1.26 ERA, 0.78 WHIP, and a 7.89 K/BB over that span.

Roansy Contreras gave up one run on four hits and two walks over five innings against the Cubs on Tuesday. He struck out three. The rookie didn’t flash the dominance he’s capable of, however, Contreras didn’t need to as he was staked to a 5-0 lead by the end of the third. He has yet to complete six frames in a start, but since moving into the rotation in late May, Contreras has delivered a 2.73 ERA, with a 1.38 WHIP, and 2.55 K/BB through 29.2 innings. He relies primarily on a 97 mph four-seam fastball and an 85 mph slider that has some two-plane movement, while also mixing in an 80 mph worm-killer curveball that has a sharp downward bite.

You can read about the series in our preview, while the starting lineup and Noteworthiness are below.

Rays 6/26/22 Starting Lineup

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


— RHP Drew Rasmussen (left hamstring strain), threw three innings of live batting practice yesterday in Port Charlotte and could rejoin the team next week in Toronto.

— RHRP Pete Fairbanks (lat strain) is expected to throw live batting practice Monday, then in an FCL game Thursday. If all goes well, he would join Triple-A Durham for a multiple-appearance stint.

— Have yourself a week, Isaac Paredes! The infielder has gone 8-17 (.471 BA) over his last four games, with five home runs, five runs scored, and eight RBI. That’s good for a .471 BA/.500 OBP/1.353 SLG/1.853 OPS with a .763 wOBA and a 428 wRC+.

— Speaking of Paredes, I offer you the Paredes/John Cena connection:

— Don’t forget to check out Ben Whitelaw’s pregame notes: