Throughout the Rays turnaround from perennial dwellers in the American League East cellar to the dominant powerhouse of the late 2010's, they have been underdogs with their back against the wall and all but forgotten (with the exception of 2010).
In 2008, they came back from a seven game losing steak heading into the all-star break, Jason Bay being snatched away by the dreaded Red Sox, and a late season injury to Evan Longoria to make it to the world series. In 2010, the Rays had their potentially best team ever, but unfortunalley made an ill-fated decision to stand pat at the trade deadline. A decision that was even more costly as the player they were mainly linked to (Cliff Lee), is the one who dominated the Rays during the ALDS.
On July 24th, 2011 the Rays were 9.5 games back of the division leading Boston Red Sox and they were 6.5 games back in the wild card. Everyone knows how that story ended (another loss to Texas in the ALDS), nonetheless the Rays made the postseason. The Rays playoff chances on that date in 2011, 14%. Present day, their chances are 14%. The turnaround starts today and it begins as it on Opening Day.
The Rays ace, Chris Archer, heads to the mound for Tampa Bay as they return to the Trop to take on Chris Tillman and the Baltimore Orioles. So far this season, Archer is 9-7 with a 2.73 ERA and a 2.69 FIP to go along with a 30.0 K% and a 6.1 BB% over the course of 20 starts and 128.2 innings pitched. After struggling in his final start leading up to the all-star game, Archer returned to from against Toronto on Sunday, going seven innings allowing two runs on five hits, while walking one and struck out six.
Chris Tillman Scouting Report:
So far this season, Tillman is 7-7 with a 4.96 ERA and a 4.13 FIP to go along with a 17.6 K% and a 9.3 BB% over the course of 18 starts and 98 innings pitched. His last time out he dominated the Tigers only allowing a hit through eight innings while he struck out eight and walked one earning the victory. He's faced the Rays three times this year, the last time of which Tampa Bay finally tacked some runs on against him knocking him out of the game before the sixth inning.
|PITCH||VELOCITY||FREQUENCY||vs LHB||vs RHB|
61% vs LHB
58% vs RHB
|Keeps it middle away, usually in the upper part of the zone||Will throw it anywhere in the zone, but tends to stay away|
6% vs LHB
5% vs RHB
|Runs it low and away, usually out of the zone||Buries it down and in|
3% vs LHB
11% vs RHB
Runs it up and in, stays on the inner half
|Keeps down and away|
13% vs LHB
11% vs RHB
|Paints the outside corner, changing the hitters eye level||Anywhere low in the zone|
00% vs LHB
01% vs RHB
16% vs LHB
14% vs RHB
|Outside or low to lefties, usually out of the zone||Sweeps it through the zone|
Tillman has pretty much been an equal ground ball/fly ball pitcher this year, generating balls on the ground 41.1% of the time and flies 38.8% of the time, with the remainder being line drives.
He has also struggled more against righties than lefties this year as righties have slashed .281/.355/.523 off him with 8 HR to go along with a 16.2 K% and a 9.6 BB% in 198 trips to the plate. Meanwhile lefties have slashed .262/.332/.353 with 2 HR to go along with a 18.8 K% and a 9.0 BB% in 223 trips to the plate.
|BALTIMORE ORIOLES||TAMPA BAY RAYS|
|Jimmy Paredes - DH||Steven Souza - RF|
|Ryan Flaherty - 2B||John Jaso - DH|
|Manny Machado - 3B||Evan Longoria - 3B|
|Adam Jones - CF||James Loney - 1B|
|Chris Davis - RF||Tim Beckham - SS|
|J.J. Hardy - SS||David DeJesus - LF|
|Travis Snider - LF||Jake Elmore - 2B|
|Caleb Joseph - C||Kevin Kiermaier - CF|
|Chris Parmelee - 1B||Rene Rivera - C|
|Chris Tillman - RHP||Chris Archer - RHP|
Other Rays Notes:
- Injury updates
#Rays Asdrubal Cabrera (hamstring) ran the bases for the first time today. He said he went about 80 percent and could return "soon."— Troy Provost-Heron (@Troy_Provost) July 24, 2015
#Rays Jennings (knee surgery) and Cabrera (hamstring) talking early BP— Roger Mooney (@RMooneyTBO) July 24, 2015
- Blake Snell will be making his Triple-A debut tonight
- Life in the minors
Large alligator spotted in visitor's dugout at Charlotte Sports Park http://t.co/UgNidtN77Q #StoneCrabs pic.twitter.com/f3KjPw4E3Y— Josh Vitale (@JoshVitale) July 24, 2015
- July 24th in team history, of which they are 9-6 all-time.
- 1977 - Jason Smith is born, also known as the player to named later that was sent to Tampa Bay in the Fred McGriff deal in 2001. Smith played in part of nine seasons (two with Tampa Bay) at the major league level and slashed .212/.248/.361 with 17 homers in 278 games.
- 1998 - Despite allowing seven walks and five hits during his six plus innings on the mound, Tony Saunders, along with Jim Mecir, combine to shutout the Oakland Athletics in a 6-0 victory.
- 2007 - The Devil Rays are shutout on only two hits (both of which came from Melvin Upton Jr) by Daniel Cabrera, Paul Shuey, and Jamie Walker of the Baltimore Orioles.
- 2009 - The Rays come out with a victory after an excellent pitching duel between Matt Garza and Roy Halladay went into extra innings. Each starter threw nine innings and both gave up two runs. The Rays would score twice in the top of the tenth thanks to a two out double from Evan Longoria scored Carl Crawford and Melvin Upton.
- 2011 - Recently promoted top prospect, Desmond Jennings, instantly provides a spark atop the Rays lineup doubling twice and also stealing a base in his second game of the season. Alex Cobb and the bullpen also pitched an excellent game shutting out the Royals on six hits in a 5-0 victory.
- 2012 - Acquired former all-star Ryan Roberts from the Arizona Diamondbacks for minor leaguer, Tyler Bortnick. Roberts would homer in first Rays at bat on July 26th
- 2013 - Continuing his excellent return from the disabled list, David Price hurls a complete game against the Boston Red Sox, only allowing a run in a Rays victory.