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Game Notes: Ramirez vs McHugh

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Perhaps the most important game of the season up to this point

The fate of the Rays season depends on Ramirez
The fate of the Rays season depends on Ramirez
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

As I type this, I'm going to try and act as if the past three weeks meant nothing. The fact that the Rays are now two games under .500 and a half game from being last in the AL East shows how quickly the game can turnaround. Four days from now, the best players in the sport will be taking part in the annual mid-summer classic to decide who'll have home field advantage during the World Series. Two Rays will be taking part, Chris Archer and Brad Boxberger (although I personally think they should take the time to rest). The rest of the team will be off for four days in a row, giving them much needed time to recuperate after their sudden fall from the top of the division.

Even with their recent slide, losing 15 of their past 18, whilst losing their past four in a row allowing a combined 32 runs over the series, the Rays find themselves just four and half games out of first. The climb back to the top starts today as the Rays return back to the Trop to face the AL West leading Houston Astros, who have been treading their own water, losing their past three in a row.

Going to the mound for Tampa Bay will be their second most dependable starter this year, Erasmo Ramirez. So far this season (excluding his first two outings), Ramirez is 7-2 with a 2.12 ERA and a 3.60 FIP to go along with a 20.8 K% and a 7.2 BB% over the course of  17 games (11 starts) and 68 innings pitched. Opponents have slashed .182/.265/.275 with five HR off him during that span as well. His last time out was actually the last time the Rays won, back on Sunday against the Yankees. Ramirez went six innings and allowed a run one three hits, walked three, and also struck out three earning the win.

Collin McHugh Scouting Report:

Ramirez will be facing off against Collin McHugh, who heading into play today is 9-4 with a 4.54 ERA and a 4.02 FIP, to go along with a 18.6 K% and a 5.9 BB% over the course of 17 starts and 107 innings pitched. The last time McHugh pitched was back on the fourth against the Red Sox in which he went five plus innings, and allowed three runs on seven hits, three walks, and he struck out one.

His Arsenal:

PITCH VELOCITY FREQUENCY
Fastball Low 90's

33% vs LHB

***

33% vs RHB

Sinker Low 90's

01% vs LHB

***

01% vs RHB

Slider High 80's

38% vs LHB

***

40% vs RHB

Change Low 80's

10% vs LHB

***

01% vs RHB

Curve Low 70's

19% vs LHB

***

25% vs RHB

McHugh has been more of a ground ball pitcher this year, generating them 45.8% of the time, meanwhile fly balls are hit 35.8% and line drives are hit 18.5% of the time off him. McHugh has been prone to the homerun ball this year, having given up a team high 13 so far this season.

Righties have fared far better off McHugh this year than lefties, having slashed .291/.347/.459 with 8 HR to go along with a 17.1 K% and a 5.7 BB% in 245 trips to the plate. Meanwhile lefties have slashed .236/.295/.385 with 5 HR to go along with a 20.4 K% and a 6.2 BB% off him in 211 trips to the plate.

Today's Lineups

HOUSTON ASTROS TAMPA BAY RAYS
Jose Altuve - 2B John Jaso - DH
Preston Tucker - RF David DeJesus - LF
Carlos Correa - SS Evan Longoria - 3B
Luis Valbuena - 3B James Loney - 1B
Evan Gattis - DH Logan Forsythe - 2B
Colby Rasmus - LF Asdrubal Cabrera - SS
Chris Carter - 1B Brandon Guyer - RF
Jason Castro - C Kevin Kiermaier - CF
Jake Marisnick - CF Rene Rivera - C
Collin McHugh - RHP Erasmo Ramirez - RHP

Other Rays Notes:

- Steven Souza Jr is looking to return on the 21st.

- A delightful exchange between Rays prospects

- July 10th in team history, of which they are 3-5 all-time

  • 2009 - Jeff Niemann hurls a complete game shutout against the Oakland Athletics, only allowing seven hits, walking three, and striking out six. He'd be assisted by solo HR's from Carlos Pena and Evan Longoria in a 6-0 victory.
  • 2010 - Matt Garza, Grant Balfour, Joaquin Benoit, and Lance Cormier combine to shutout the Indians on only four hits in a 4-0 victory.
  • 2011 - During one of the many pitching duels C.C. Sabathia has engaged in with Rays pitching, he comes out victorious as the Yankees defeated Tampa Bay, 1-0. Both Sabathia and James Shields threw complete games with the lone run scoring in the bottom of the 7th thanks to two errors committed by Melvin Upton and Shields himself.
  • 2013 - In a game that lasted 13 innings, the Rays walked off against Ryan Pressly of the Minnesota Twins after Yunel Escobar singled, advanced to second after an errant pickoff throw, and finally scored thanks to a Ben Zobrist single sealing the Rays 4-3 victory.