After playing a dreadfully sloppy game on Saturday that resulted in a loss to the Twins, the Rays bats awakened in a big way on Sunday as they scored 11 times on 19 hits. After a much-deserved day of rest on Monday, the Rays travel down to Atlanta to take on the Braves for a quick two-game set. The first game of the series will be later tonight, as Erasmo Ramirez takes on Mike Foltynewicz at 7:10.
Erasmo Ramriez surprised nearly everyone with his last start, as most fans considered it a throwaway game despite his recent success out of the bullpen. Instead, he proved himself competent, shutting down the Yankees for five innings before being relieved, and the Rays would go on to win last Thursday by the score of 6-1. With the exception of his first two appearances with the Rays (which were disastrous), Ramirez has been outstanding in his new role of longman/spot starter. In 19 innings, he's allowed three runs on nine hits, to go along with three walks and 14 strikeouts.
For more on his Ramirez's sudden improvement, Jason Hanselman had a great writeup over at DoTR.
His opponent on the mound will be Mike Foltynewicz. He was drafted by the Houston Astros in the first round of the 2010 draft. After a slow start to his pro career, Foltynewicz had a breakout year in 2013 that left him knocking on the door of triple-A, and established him as one of the top prospects in the game. He'd make his major league debut in 2014, but the results weren't great. Nonetheless he was ranked as the third best prospect in the Astros' system. This past offseason, as the Braves expelled a number of their big name players, they acquired Foltynewicz as the key piece in the Evan Gattis trade.
Foltynewicz made his Braves debut on May 1st against the Reds, and he's made two starts since that time. So far this season, he has struggled with his command averaging a little more than five innings (and four walks) a game. Heading into play today, he is 2-0 with a 4.24 ERA and a 4.56 FIP over three starts and 17 innings pitched. For what it's worth, that's slightly better than the ZiPS projection system expected for Foltynewicz (4.75 ERA, 4.74 FIP).
#Rays lineup: Kiermaier CF, Souza Jr RF, Longoria 3B, Loney 1B, Forsythe 2B DeJesus LF, Cabrera SS, Rivera C, Ramirez P— Neil Solondz (@neilsolondz) May 19, 2015
Kevin Kiermaier leading off, with Steve Souza returning to the lineup. No DH tonight as the Rays are playing at Turner Field.
#Braves lineup: Peterson 4 Ciriaco 5 Freeman 3 Markakis 9 Cunningham 7 Pierzynski 2 Simmons 6 Maybin 8 Foltynewicz 1— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) May 19, 2015
Mike Foltynewicz Scouting Report:
Foltynewicz can attack opposing batters with his high-octane fastball (58%) and sinker (15%) in the upper 90's, while mixing his curve (15%), change (3%), and slider (9%) in the high 70's to the mid 80's.
With his fastball, he keeps it up in the zone and away from the opposing batters. With his sinker, he'll have it tail low and away from lefties, while throwing it anywhere in the zone to righies. He's only thrown his slider a handful of times to lefties, while most often sweeping it along the bottom of the zone to righies. It seems he's had some trouble keeping his curve down this year, as it either stays up and away from the zone, or he has it break down and out of the zone. He's thrown his change exclusively to lefites this year and he usually plants it on the outside corner.
So far this season, he holds a 20.8 K% to go along with a 13 BB%. With his heavy fastball usage and the nubmer of pitches he locates up in the zone, Foltynewicz has generated a lot of flyballs: 62.5% (12.5% of those are infield flys). He's generated groundballs 27.1% and linedrives 22.9% of the time.
Other Rays News:
- Georgia native, Tim Beckham has a number of people coming to the game tonight
#Rays Beckham - native of Griffin, Ga. - said he'll have more than 30 relatives and friends on the pass list for tonight— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) May 19, 2015
- Now that Jake McGee is back, he may eventually return to the closer's role in which he thrived last year. When he does inevitably record his next save, he'll tie J.P. Howell (21) for 10th in team history in all-time saves with the team.
- The AL East is up for grabs
The AL East is separated by 4.5 games, the closest it has has been on this date (May 19) since divisions realigned in 1994.— Nick Kappel (@NickKappel) May 19, 2015
- Blake Snell continued his astonishing scoreless steak that has captivated many of the Rays faithful. He now has 49.1 consecutive scoreless innings, dating back to last year. The modern day MiLB record is 57.2 set from 2003-2004, and the all-time record is 72 set back in the early 1900's.
- May 19 in Rays History:
- Scott McClain (1972) and Josh Paul (1975) are born.
- 1998 - Signed Lee Gardner as an amatuer free agent
- 2010 - Released Pat Burrell, who was in his 2nd season with the team. He slashed .218/.311/.361 with 16 HR in 146 games with TB.