After a 5-3 loss against the Brewers on Tuesday, the Tampa Bay Rays look to cap the homestand with a win this afternoon at the Trop.

At 40-33 on the season, the Rays enter play seven games over .500. A victory would give them a winning homestand. The Rays now have played 13 straight games decided by one or two runs — the longest streak since 2014 when the Yankees played 16 such games. The loss ended a 10-game win streak against National League clubs; Tampa Bay is now 10-2 in Interleague play.

After a come-to-Jesus moment, i.e. a tweet by Ben Whitelaw, I’ve come to terms with Kevin Cash’s decision to call upon Matt Wisler last night. At the end of the day, it wasn’t Cash who didn’t throw quality strikes, it was Wisler.

Kevin Cash will push Jeffrey Springs’ start back, giving him extra rest — thus managing his workload — as the Rays have opted to go with a bullpen day. Jalen Beeks will open the game. Aside from Ralph Garza Jr., who pitched two frames on Tuesday, all of the Rays relievers will be available this afternoon.

Injury Notes

After playing in the Florida Complex League yesterday, Kevin Kiermaier (hip inflammation) reportedly felt good and is expected to rejoin the team in Toronto. Kiermaier can be activated as early as Friday. Drew Rasmussen (hamstring) will also be activated from the Injured List during the series at Toronto.

Meanwhile, Pete Fairbanks (lat strain) out since Spring Training, reportedly looked good in a live batting practice session Monday. He is expected to throw in an FCL game on Thursday with a plan to then join Triple-A Durham for a multi-appearance rehab assignment.

(Monday) went very well. Fastball velocity was in line with what we would expect. So, really good on his end.

— Kevin Cash

Brandon Lowe (lower back stress reaction) has progressed to taking batting practice, although he is still several weeks from returning.

He looks good. I think we’re all encouraged that he’s swinging the bat, and he’s pretty pain-free. So we’ll probably put a calendar together (soon) with the next course of action. It’s still going to be some time.

— Kevin Cash

The New What Next

Jalen Beeks (1-1, 2.59 ERA) will open the series finale, while he and the Rays bullpen will pitch opposite left-hander Eric Lauer (6-3, 3.89 ERA).

Jalen Beeks has opened three games this season, pitching 5.2 combined innings. During that stretch, Beeks has been charged with two runs, and both scored after he left the game against the Yankees on June 21st. He last pitched on Saturday, allowing three runs on two hits (including a home run) and a walk across 1.2 innings of work. Overall, Beeks maintains a 2.59 ERA and a 3.49 FIP, with a 1.05 WHIP, and a 3.36 K/BB across 31.1 innings on the season.

Eric Lauer allowed four runs on six hits and a walk over 6.1 innings on Friday against the Reds. Lauer cruised through four shutout frames before yielding three home runs — Albert Almora hit a two-run shot in the fifth before Brandon Drury and Tommy Pham went back-to-back in the sixth. Lauer has given up three homers in two straight outings, raising his season ERA to 3.57 through 12 starts. Overall, Lauer maintains a 4.87 FIP and a 1.19 WHIP, with a 3.35 K/BB. He relies primarily on a whiffy 94 mph four-seam fastball and a hard 88 mph slider with little depth, while also mixing in a 78 mph curveball and a 91 mph cutter that has good “rise” but little cutting action. The southpaw is 0-0 with a 5.40 ERA in one career start against Tampa Bay. Key Matchup: Ji-Man Choi (2-3, 2 2B)

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

Rays 6/29/22 Starting Lineup

  1. Diaz 3B
  2. Franco DH
  3. Paredes 2B
  4. Arozarena LF
  5. Ramirez RF
  6. Choi 1B
  7. Walls SS
  8. Mejia C
  9. Brujan 2B


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