The Tampa Bay Rays are one of the hottest teams in baseball.
After a ho-hum start to the season that saw the Rays go 12-10, the Rays have found their mojo on a west coast swing with six straight wins.
Last night in Seattle, the Rays beat the Mariners 8-2 to extend their winning streak to six games. The Rays are 18-10 and trail the Yankees by a game and a half in the AL East.
Drew Rasmussen pitched five innings giving up one run while striking out five. Rasmussen improves to 3-1 on the season with a 2. 89 ERA.
It was a homecoming for Rasmussen, who grew up in Washington and had 42 friends and relatives in attendance to cheer him on.
Manuel Margot had the big hit again for the Rays with a grand slam in the eighth inning to put the Rays up 8-1.
Brandon Lowe, who has struggled to start the season, hit two home runs last night, both solo shots, to help the Rays win.
Lowe, who has gotten off to a slow start this season, appears to be rounding into his 2021 form. Earlier this week, Kevin Cash talked about Lowe getting better at-bats, and it was just a matter of time before he would break out of his slump.
Cash was happy to see Lowe hit the two homers. “Yeah, that was really encouraging. Good for Brandon. I know he likes hitting home runs. We like it when he hits home runs.”
The first home run by Lowe in the fourth inning ended the longest home run drought of Lowe’s career, which spanned 79 at-bats.
The Rays have the second-best offense in the league, hitting .249, trailing the Cleveland Guardians.
Ray’s pitching, which had kept them in many games early in the season when the offense was ice cold, is fourth in the league with a 3.34 ERA.
Last season the Rays played .500 baseball till mid-May. Then, everything started to come together for the Rays.
It is no different this year. As the calendar has flipped to May, Ray’s bats are heating up, and it looks like it will be another fun summer of baseball in the bay area.
This afternoon, the Rays will look for a sweep of the Mariners in the series finale.
Ryan Yarbrough will start for the Rays. In his first outing against Oakland, Yarbrough struggled, giving up five runs in two and one-third innings.
The Mariners have called up one of their top prospects George Kirby to start against the Rays. This season, Kirby has gone 2-0 with a 1.82 ERA at AA Round Rock and is averaging a strikeout per inning. Kirby has a fastball that averages 97.3 MPH.
–The Rays made a roster move yesterday, sending Josh Fleming to Durham and recalling Ralph Garza Jr. Fleming has struggled in any role that he has pitched in this season, going 2-3 with a 6.38 ERA.
Jeffrey Springs will take his spot as starter/bulk inning guy with Fleming now in Durham. Springs is scheduled to start Monday in Anaheim against the Angels.