The Tampa Bay Rays finished the second-best homestand in their history Noah Hanifin Jersey , with a much easier path between now and the All-Star Game as they try to claw their way back into wild-card contention.
Tampa Bay (41-40) went 8-1 at Tropicana Field, finishing a grueling stretch of 16 games against the New York Yankees, Houston Astros and Washington Nationals and going 10-6 in those games to rise back above .500.
Now the Rays have a stretch of 16 straight games against teams with losing records, including a three-game series at the Miami Marlins (34-51) starting Monday.
The Rays have dominated with their patchwork pitching staff, allowing a total of seven runs in their last six games, with five wins and a 1-0 loss. They took three of four from Houston to close out the homestand and hope to continue the success to take some positive momentum into the All-Star break.
“The fact that we have been winning and everyone has been coming together at clutch moments has been great,” said outfielder Mallex Smith, who had a late solo home run in Sunday’s 3-2 win over Houston. “We’ve been jelling as a team. We’ve been feeding off one another. It seems like someone new coming through at the right time every day.”
Next for Tampa Bay is Nathan Eovaldi (2-3, 4.08 ERA), who played for the Marlins from 2012 to 2014 and will almost certainly fare better than his only career appearance against his former team. In June 2015, he played there with the Yankees and gave up nine hits and eight earned runs in less than an inning, leaving after two outs with a 108.00 ERA to show for it.
Eovaldi has shown promise since returning from Tommy John surgery — his last start against Washington lasted six innings and he gave up no runs, one and and two walks with nine strikeouts.
The Marlins will answer with Wei-Yin Chen, who knows the Rays from his days with the Baltimore Orioles. He has started 21 career games against Tampa Bay, more than any other opponent, and posted a 5-6 record with a 3.72 ERA.
That’s considerably better than his overall numbers this year — he’s 2-5 with a 6.14 ERA, though his last start was solid. He limited Arizona to one run and five hits in six innings last week. Against Tampa Bay last year, he pitched well, holding the Rays to two runs and two hits in six innings.
The in-state rivals will meet again right after the All-Star break for three more games, but the extended run against lesser opponents is something the Rays must dominate if they want to get back into wild-card contention.
Even after winning eight of nine games, Tampa Bay is still 11 games behind Seattle for the second AL wild card. Still Youth Derek Stepan Jersey , being 42-41 after opening the season 1-8 isn’t bad, especially considering the injuries they’ve dealt with and the talent traded away since the end of last season.
CLEVELAND — Another day, another roster move involving the Cleveland Indians‘ bullpen. Prior to their 6-3 win over the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday, the Indians placed reliever Evan Marshall on the 10-day disabled list with right elbow inflammation.
To replace Marshall on the roster, the Indians selected the contract of reliever George Kontos from Triple-A Columbus.
Wednesday afternoon at Progressive Field, the Indians and White Sox will play the final game of their three-game series.
Kontos, 33, started this season with Pittsburgh, for whom he made 21 relief appearances this year, going 2-3 with a 5.03 ERA and one save. He was designated for assignment on May 25 and was signed as a free agent by the Indians on May 25. In six appearances with Triple-A Columbus, Kontos pitched 7 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing seven hits, with six strikeouts and no walks.
When he gets into a game Kontos will become the 17th different relief pitcher used by the Indians this season.
“With the new guys, we want to get them settled, and I want to familiarize myself with them as quickly as I can,” said Indians manager Terry Francona, who admits that it’s a challenge for newly-acquired pitchers to be comfortable.
Many of the relievers the Indians have used were released by other teams.
Francona says he is mindful of the pressure the new relievers face when they join the team.
“When guys are pitching for their baseball life, it’s harder on them,” Francona said. “When (closer) Cody Allen has a bad inning, he knows he’s going to be here the next day. The other guys, when they have a bad inning they know they might get sent down or designated for assignment. That makes it hard.”
Fortunately for Francona and those relievers Womens Jason Demers Jersey , the Indians’ starting pitcher Wednesday usually makes it an easy day for the bullpen. Reigning Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber (10-3, 2.24 ERA) will be on the mound for Cleveland.
Kluber, however, is coming off his worst start of the season in his last outing, a 6-3 loss to Minnesota on Friday. Kluber lasted just five innings, giving up four runs on four hits, with three strikeouts and one walk.
That one walk was significant because it snapped a streak of six starts, 46 1/3 innings and 169 consecutive batters faced by Kluber without a walk. The four runs allowed by Kluber snapped his streak of 14 consecutive quality starts to begin the season, the longest such streak by an Indians pitcher in 100 years.
Kluber’s last start against the White Sox came on May 30 of this year, a 9-1 Cleveland victory in which Kluber got the win by pitching six scoreless innings on three hits, with 10 strikeouts and no walks. In 21 career appearances against the White Sox Kluber is 10-4 with a 3.05 ERA.
Kluber’s mound opponent on Wednesday was his mound opponent in that May 30 game between the two teams — Reynaldo Lopez (2-4, 3.26).
In that loss to Kluber, Lopez pitched 2 2/3 innings, giving up seven runs on eight hits with two strikeouts and one walk.
Lopez’s last start was a 4-3 White Sox loss to Detroit on Friday. Lopez, who did not figure in the decision, pitched six innings, allowing three runs on nine hits with three strikeouts and no walks. In two career starts against Cleveland, Lopez is 0-2 with an 8.31 ERA.
The Indians come into Wednesday’s game having won three in a row while the White Sox have lost six in a row.
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