On Tuesday night, after a lost weekend in Baltimore, the Rays were back home to play their in-state rivals, the Miami Marlins.
Shane McClanahan started for the Rays, and he was outstanding once again, giving up four hits and striking out nine through six innings of work as the Rays notched their fourth shutout of the season, a 4-0 win over Miami.
McClanahan has been one of the best starting pitchers in the American League this season. He improves to 4-2 with a 2.06 ERA and 74 strikeouts on the season with the shutout.
Kevin Keirmaier started the game with an inside-the-park home run, his sixth hime run this season to give the Rays an early 1-0 lead.
Since moving into the leadoff spot, Keirmaier has raised his overall batting average from .219 to .255, with seven hits in his last 14 at-bats.
Ji-Man Choi and Harold Ramirez also homered as the Rays beat their in-state rivals.
Wander Franco was back in the lineup but went 0-4. Franco is hitting just .255 and has cooled off considerably since his hot start to the season.
More good news for the Rays as Manuel Margot and Yandy Diaz are both expected to ready to play on Wednesday.
After a rough weekend series in Baltimore, where the Rays gave away the lead in the late innings in two games, McClanahan was happy to get back to playing solid baseball.
“That was a tough series for us, but this shows what this team is, and that is resilient. I knew there was going to be a bounce back.”
Keirmaier talked about McClanahan and what he brings to the Rays pitching staff. “That dude is nasty. He’s incredible. I’ve got no other words. That guy has been lights out all year, and I don’t think many guys want to face that guy.”
The Rays bullpen, still reeling from the weekend fiasco in Baltimore, pitched well Tuesday night. Dusten Knight and Ryan Thompson both pitched scoreless innings in the win.
Thompson, who has been hit hard lately, giving up seven runs in his last five innings, did not allow a hit with a strikeout in one inning of work against the Marlins.
The Rays bullpen has blown eight of their last 15 save opportunities.
The Rays are 25-17 on the season and will play the Marlins on Wednesday night before the first-place New York Yankees come to town for a four-game series.
Drew Rasmussen will pitch for the Rays on Wednesday.
The Rays trail the Yankees by four and a half games in the American League East. This will be a big series for both teams this weekend.
The Yankees have been the best team in baseball the first two months, so this will be a good measuring stick for the Rays.
The weekend’s best matchup looks to be on Sunday, with Shane McClanahan facing Gerrit Cole.
The Rays now have 25 wins and are on pace to win 95 games this season.