So far this series the Rays have given up 25 runs collectively in only three games. However, the offense has managed to battle back against the Royals normally fearsome bullpen, forcing Greg Holland into two games thus far and having him throw a total of 39 pitches the past two days (meanwhile Jake McGee has stayed seated in the bullpen).
The Rays have lost 14 of their past 17, but are still just 3.5 games back in the division. However, the Red Sox have quietly kept within reach of the division and find themselves just a game and half behind the Rays. There are just four games left before the team reaches a must needed break.
But, before they reach it, they'll have to take on young fireballer, Yordano Ventura, who has prompted the ire of several players around baseball this year and will also be making his first start in almost a month. It'll be up to Nathan Karns to try and secure the Rays first win of the series, preventing a four game sweep.
So far this year, Karns is 4-4 with a 3.21 ERA and a 3.58 FIP to go along with a 22.9 K% and a 9.3 BB% over the course of 17 starts and 98 innings pitched. Meanwhile, opposing hitters have slashed .226/.304/.348 off him and have hit 9 HR during his time on the mound. His last start was back on the fourth against the Yankees where he went toe to toe against Michael Pineda, delivering seven innings and allowed two runs on five hits, walking two, and striking out a career high 10 batters.
Yordano Ventura Scouting Report:
So far this year, Ventura is 3-6 with a 4.68 ERA and a 3.94 FIP to go along with a 19.5 K% and a 7.6 BB% over the course of 12 starts and 67.1 innings pitched. Hitters have slashed .256/.322/.408 off him this year with 7 HR. His last time on a major league mound was back on June 12th against the Cardinals and he was pulled after only three innings. He'd be placed on the DL a week later due to an inflammation of an ulnar nerve.
|PITCH||VELOCITY||FREQUENCY||vs LHB||vs RHB|
35% vs LHB
29% vs RHB
22% vs LHB
35% vs RHB
07% vs LHB
05% vs RHB
23% vs LHB
08% vs RHB
14% vs LHB
23% vs RHB
Ventura has been a worm killer this year as he has generated ground ball more than half the time hitters make contact as they've hit them 52.3% of the time. Meanwhile fly balls have been hit 27.9% and line drives have been hit 19.8% of the time.
So far this year, lefties are hitting Ventura far better than righties, so Kevin Cash has stocked his lineup full of lefties (including starting Sizemore and Jaso in the outfield). Lefties have slashed .281/.359/.472 off Ventura with 5 HR to go along with a 19.6 K% and 9.8 BB%. Meanwhile righties have slashed .226/.284/.341 with 2 HR to go along with a 19.4 K% and a 5.2 BB%.
|TAMPA BAY RAYS||KANSAS CITY ROYALS|
|John Jaso - LF||Alcides Escobar - SS|
|Grady Sizemore - RF||Eric Hosmer - 1B|
|Evan Longoria - 3B||Lorenzo Cain - CF|
|James Loney - 1B||Kendrys Morales - DH|
|Logan Forsythe - 2B||Salvador Perez - C|
|David DeJesus - DH||Omar Infante - 2B|
|Asdrubal Cabrera - SS||Alex Rios - RF|
|Kevin Kiermaier - CF||Cheslor Cuthbert - 3B|
|Rene Rivera - C||Jarrod Dyson - LF|
|Nate Karns - RHP||Yordano Ventura - RHP|
- Alex Gordon has been placed on the DL after his frightening injury during last night's game. He's expected to miss around eight weeks.
- John Jaso has failed to reach base only twice so far this season and is 6-8 with 3 BB's. He'll be making his first career start in the outfield today.
Other Rays Notes:
- Interesting tidbit on the Ramirez/Montgomery deal
AL's top two pitchers in ERA since April 19 (min 50ip): Mike Montgomery, SEA - 1.62 Erasmo Ramirez, TB - 2.12 Traded for each other 3/31.— Dave Haller (@HallerDave) July 9, 2015
- July 9th in team history of which they are 3-10
- 1998 - Andy Pettite and Mariano Rivera combine to shutout the Devil Rays on only five hits in a 2-0 victory.
- 2005 - Released pitcher Rob Bell, who suffered from some extreme anxiety attacks during the season. That season was the first time in his life that had experienced anxiety problems. During his time with TB (2003-2005) he was 14-13 with a 5.28 ERA and a 5.36 FIP over the course of 51 games (40 starts) and 249 innings pitched.
- 2005 - Also in 2005, entering the bottom of the 9th, trailing 4-3 against the Detroit Tigers, Troy Percival was brought in to try and close the game out. After Travis Lee hit a one out single, Jonny Gomes swung at the first pitch thrown to him and mashed it 474 ft to straightaway center giving Tampa Bay a 5-4 walkoff win.
- 2008 - The Rays suffer a walkoff loss at the hands of the Yankees. After Grant Balfour walked Derek Jeter on eight pitches, Bobby Abreu lifted a double to the right-center field gap, scoring Jeter and winning the game 2-1.
- 2014 - Heading into the top of the 9th with a 4-2 lead, Joe Maddon called upon Joel Peralta to try and close the game out. Unfortunately, he'd leave the game after recording only one out and left runners on the corners. Kirby Yates was then brought in, and promptly gave up a three run HR to Salvadore Perez and Royals would go on to win the game, 5-4.