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Game Notes: Ramirez vs Gonzalez/Harper

Harper returns to the Trop, Kevin Cash's Devil Rays debut, & Grady Sizemore becomes a Ray

Come at me Harper!
Come at me Harper!
Jennifer Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

After a sweep of the White Sox, capped off by a surprising victory over Chris Sale, the Rays will welcome the Washington Nationals to the Trop. Luckily for the Rays, they just narrowly avoided having to face Max Scherzer, who just threw one of the most dominant starts of the season and perhaps in Nationals history. However, they will have to face NL MVP candidate, Bryce Harper, whose last time at Tropicana Filed featured him hitting balls over 500 feet. The Rays having already played a strange interleague series this year against the Braves, only playing two games at Turner Field, will host the Nationals for two games, then head to D.C. for another two.

Tonight, the Rays will send Erasmo Ramirez (the only active Rays starter that Albert Pujols didn't homer off of) to the mound to faceoff against Gio Gonzalez. Ramirez has been everything the Rays could hope for after they acquired him at the end of spring training. After two disastrous outings to begin his Rays career, he has been outstanding. Since April 19th, Ramirez has a 2.66 ERA and batters have slashed .190/.269/.270 against him. His last time out, he went five innings and allowed two runs on five hits, while striking out three and walking none earning a victory against the Angels.

Gio Gonzalez Scouting Report:

So far this season, Gonzalez is 4-3 with a 4.42 ERA and a 3.08 FIP, so his defense has let him down this year. He also has a 21.8 K% and 9.1 BB% over the course of 12 starts and 71.1 innings pitched. When batters do make contact, it's usually driven into the ground as opponents are hitting ground balls 56.1%, line drives 23.9%, and fly balls 20% of the time off him.

His arsenal:

PITCH VELOCITY FREQUENCY vs LHB vs RHB
Fastball Low 90's

47% vs LHB /

14% v RHB

Keeps it away, either on the corner or out of the zone Keeps it on the inner part of the plate
Sinker Low 90's

25% vs LHB /

47% vs RHB

Runs it under the hands, or keeps it down and in on the zone Down and away, tries to pin it on the outside corner
Change Mid 80's

5% vs LHB /

24% vs RHB

Sporadically Down and away, out of the zone usually
Curve High 70's

23% vs LHB /

15% vs RHB

Down and away, out of the zone Down and in, out of the zone

Lefties haven't been totally helpless against Gonzalez this year, but his splits do show an advantage to righties. Gonzalez may have a tough time with the Rays particularly due to their recent onslaught of left handed pitched and how well they've done against them. So far this season, in 84 trips to the plate, lefties have slashed .266/.310/.354 with a HR to go along with a 14.3 K% and 6.0 BB%, meanwhile righties have slashed .284/.368/.431 with 2 HR to go along with a 24.7 K% and 10.3 BB% in 223 trips to the plate.

Today's Lineups

WASHINGTON NATIONALS TAMPA BAY RAYS
Denard Span - CF Brandon Guyer - LF
Anthony Rendon - 2B Joey Butler - DH
Yunel Escobar - 3B Evan Longoria - 3B
Bryce Harper - DH Logan Forsythe - 2B
Wilson Ramos - C Steven Souza - RF
Clint Robinson - RF Jake Elmore - 1B
Danny Espinosa - 1B Kevin Kiermaier - CF
Michael Taylor - LF Asdrubal Cabrera - SS
Ian Desmond - SS Rene Rivera - C
Gio Gonzalez - LHP Erasmo Ramirez - RHP

Other Rays Notes:

- The Rays have signed former Cleveland star, Grady Sizemore to a minor league deal, a great story if he could contribute at some point this season

- If you haven't already heard, they Rays are trying an innovative way to prevent future injuries to pitchers

- The only reason to pay attention to this is to see if Alex Rios can upstage Mike Trout. Royal Flush upcoming

- Arguably the team's two best lefty starters go to the mound today, Blake Snell went earlier for Montgomery, meanwhile Mat Moore will go at 7 for Charlotte.

- June 15 in Rays history, of which they are 9-7

  • 1958 - Hall of Fame third baseman, Wade Boggs is born. He gave the Rays one of their most memorable moments when he connected for a HR for his 3,000th hit, become the first player to homer to accomplish the feat. During his two seasons with Tampa Bay, he slashed .289/.360/.391 with 9 HR in 213 games.
  • 1987 - Jake Elmore is born, he's currently serving as a utility backup for the team.
  • 2000 - The Devil Rays walk off against the Angels, as Russ Johnson lines a single into left, scoring Miguel Cairo from third.
  • 2005 - Kevin Cash makes his debut with the Devil Rays, going 1-4 with a HR in his first at bat, also catching Hideo Nomo's 200th career victory. Prince Fielder also recorded his first career RBI during this game.
  • 2012 - Matt Moore, Burke Badenhop, and Brandon Gomes combined to 1 hit the Marlins in a 11-0 victory
  • 2013 - In of the most frightening moments in team history, Alex Cobb is struck in the head by a line drive, costing him the next two months of the season. He would return however, and helped pitched the Rays into the postseason as he helped shutout the Cleveland Indians in the AL Wild Card Game.