(Photo Credit: Tampa Bay Rays)

After splitting a four-game set against the Orioles, the Tampa Bay Rays return home to the friendly confines of the Trop where they will open a three-game series against the Angels on Monday. The Angels were swept by the Tigers over the weekend.

At 92-59 on the season, the Rays enter play 33 games over .500 with 11 games left to play (including six at home).

Tampa Bay was unable to gain ground on Baltimore this past weekend after splitting their four-game series, although they managed to clinch a playoff spot for the fifth consecutive season — a franchise record. They are still two games behind the Orioles in the AL East standings and will try to reduce the distance with a win over Los Angeles, which would give them their fourth win in their last six games and the series lead.

The Rays offense fell off over the last week, slashing a combined .236 BA/.287 OBP/.423 SLG/.710 OPS line with a 97 wRC+. Even so, that’s still 36% better (as it relates to wRC+) than the Angels, who’ve scored just 19 runs over the same stretch.

In short, Los Angeles isn’t playing well at the moment and they’ve lost five consecutive games. They will try to snap their losing streak with a win over the Rays, which will give them their fourth win in their last nine games.

The Rays enter play with an overall 3.77 ERA and 3.78 FIP (3.83 ERA and 3.62 FIP for the starters, 3.68 ERA, and 3.96 FIP for the relievers). Over the last seven days, Tampa Bay has put up a good 3.59 ERA and 3.64 FIP (albeit with an ugly 5.17 ERA and 4.88 FIP for the starters, but a pristine 1.11 ERA and a 1.70 FIP for the relievers).

Meanwhile, the Angels pitching staff has put up a robust 4.70 ERA and 4.61 FIP on the season (4.67 ERA and 4.70 FIP for the starters, 4.74 ERA, and 4.68 FIP for the relievers). Those numbers were even worse over the last seven days, pitching to a combined 5.07 ERA and a 4.21 FIP (5.54 ERA and a 4.41 FIP for the starters, 4.66 ERA and a 4.02 FIP for the relievers).

The Rays are 2-1 against the Angels this season with a +16 run differential.

Pitching Probables

Over the next three days, Kevin Cash will turn to Taj Bradley (5-7, 5.56 ERA, 4.61 FIP), Aaron Civale (7-3, 3.06 ERA, 3.46 FIP), and Zach Eflin (15-8, 3.44 ERA, 3.07 FIP). Phil Nevin will counter with Patrick Sandoval (7-13, 4.48 ERA, 4.10 FIP), a pitcher to be named before the middle game of the set, and Griffin Canning (7-7, 4.42 ERA, 4.33 FIP).

Taj Bradley allowed four runs on four hits and three walks over 4.2 innings against Minnesota. He struck out seven. Bradley cruised through the first two innings before surrendering back-to-back homers to open the third inning — each coming on the first pitch of the at-bat. He got himself into trouble again in the fifth inning after walking two of the first three batters he faced, which led to the right-hander being relieved by Jake Diekman with two outs in the frame. Bradley has now allowed four earned runs and multiple homers in back-to-back starts. All told, Bradley maintains a 5.56 ERA and a 4.61 FIP, with a 3.28 K/BB, and a 1.41 WHIP.

Patrick Sandoval allowed eight runs (five earned) on 10 hits and struck out four without walking a batter over five innings. Sandoval gave up three runs in the first inning and then five more over the fourth and fifth frames. The one positive was that Sandoval didn’t walk a batter for the first time since June 10. The southpaw now maintains a 4.48 ERA and a 4.10 FIP, with a 1.50 WHIP, and a 1.80 K/BB through 136.2 innings over 26 starts. Sandoval allowed six runs (two earned) on seven hits and three walks across 4.2 innings the last time he faced Tampa Bay. Key Matchups: Osleivis Basabe (2-3, 2 2B, 2 RBI), Brandon Lowe (1-3, HR, RBI), Manuel Margot (3-5, 3B, 2 RBI, BB), Curtis Mead (1-1, 2B, 2 RBI, 2 BB), Isaac Paredes (3-5, HR, 3 RBI, BB), Harold Ramírez (2-8, RBI)

Aaron Civale allowed three runs on four hits and one walk over five innings against the Orioles. He struck out eight. After surrendering solo homers in the second and fourth innings, Civale escaped a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the fifth, limiting the damage to just a run in the frame. He hasn’t thrown more than 5.1 innings in any of his last five turns and despite an impressive 13.1 K/9, he’s posted a 5.33 ERA across 25.1 innings over that stretch that has caused his season-long ERA to rise above 3.00 (with a 3.46 FIP) for the first time since early July.


Zach Eflin allowed one earned run on one hit and no walks while striking out eight across seven innings against the Orioles on Friday. In a pivotal series for Tampa Bay, Eflin stepped up to deliver an excellent performance, marking the third time in his last 12 starts that he’s managed to work at least seven frames. Overall, the right-hander owns a 3.44 ERA and a 3.07 FIP, with a 1.01 WHIP, and a 7.48 K/BB across 167.2 frames.

Griffin Canning yielded four runs on eight hits and a walk over six innings Friday. He struck out seven Tigers. Canning allowed a run in each of the first two frames and later coughed up solo shots to Javier Baez and Jake Rogers. Over his last three turns, Canning has posted a solid 5.67 K/BB but has gone 0-3 while allowing nine runs. He surrendered one run on two hits (including a homer) across 3.1 innings in his last outing against Tampa Bay. Key Matchups: Jonathan Aranda (1-1, HR, RBI), Yandy Díaz (2-7), Brandon Lowe (1-2, HR, RBI, BB), Josh Lowe (1-2), Manuel Margot (1-3)


— The Rays reinstated SS Taylor Walls from the paternity list on Monday. They also optioned RHP Chris Devenski and SS Tristan Gray to Triple-A Durham and recalled LHP Jalen Beeks.

— In case you missed it, the Rays are expected to announce a deal for a new stadium in downtown St. Petersburg on Tuesday, securing a long-term home in the Tampa Bay area.

The club has neither commented nor confirmed the deal, although they announced Monday that they, the City of St. Petersburg, and Pinellas County will make an announcement Tuesday at 10:30 am at Tropicana Field.

The new stadium will be built on the 86-acre redeveloped Tropicana Field site, also known as the Historic Gas Plant District, and serve as the team’s home ballpark beginning in 2028.

St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch selected the Rays and their development partner Hines as his preferred choice to redevelop the Tropicana Field site in January.

The team’s proposal featured a 30,000-seat (give or take) ballpark with a fixed roof, a turf field, operable walls, and a pavilion design. It will reportedly cost at least $1.2 billion, which will be paid through a public-private partnership between the Rays, the city of St. Petersburg, and Pinellas County. Principal owner Stuart Sternberg previously intimated that the team is expected to cover “half or more” of the stadium project. Last week, Pinellas County officials said that they were looking at chipping in $300 million in hotel tax money, with another $300 million presumably coming from the city, although it is not yet known whether there would be additional tax breaks that would put a bigger share of the cost on the public.

Renderings of the new ballpark and redeveloped Tropicana Field site in St. Petersburg proposed by Rays and Hines. (Credit: Gensler)

The stadium will be one part of a mixed-use district redevelopment plan, which also calls for affordable multi-family housing units, office space, retail space, hotel rooms, senior living residences, and an entertainment venue.

More on this to come after the presser, which you can stream via Bally Sports Sun, on Tuesday.