The Rays came just three outs away from sweeping what had been one of the hottest teams in baseball. They were able to hit good pitching, rebound from early deficits, and capitalize when they needed to. They ended up going 4-2 over the past week and are against at an even .500 on the season. They currently sit 3.5 games back in the wild card chase with only one team (the Orioles) separating them from the second wild card team.
Back in May, the Rays traveled to Atlanta, Georgia to begin a short two game set with the Braves. The Rays would take game one, with Atlanta taking game two. Erasmo Ramirez actually started the first game of that series (this was back before fans actually had faith in him to keep a game close) and displayed a glimmer of hope for his season as he only allowed three runs in five innings of work.
That was over 70 games ago and not much has changed for either team since that point other than Atlanta acquiring two expensive veterans and the Rays trading away a reliever and an outfielder, while also receiving several players back from the DL. Heading into play tonight the Braves are 51-61, which is somehow good enough for third in the NL East.
Erasmo Ramirez vs Williams Perez
|Erasmo Ramirez||8||4||3.83||3.80||19.2%||7.1%||.219||9||17 (24G)||103.1|
|Williams Perez||4||2||4.48||4.59||15.9%||10.7%||.275||5||10 (13G)||60.1|
During his last time out, Ramirez seemed on his way to an early exit after the White Sox got him for five runs in the first inning. However, that's all they'd be able to score off him as he settled down and was able to pitch six innings. Only two batters would reach base against him following the disastrous first. His final line on the day was six innings pitched, five runs allowed on six hits, while he walked two and struck out two. The Rays actually came back to tie that game, but would eventually lose thanks to a walkoff-walk.
Ramirez has pitched into the sixth inning in seven of his past nine starts and since April 19th, he has an ERA of 2.66 meanwhile opposing batters have hit just .195 off him.
Williams Perez Scouting Report:
Perez is in the midst of his first season in the major leagues and he had excellent start to his career. He had an awful major league debut giving up four runs and only recording an out during a relief appearance. After that however, he went on a run where he allowed a run or less in seven of eight outings.
Unfortunately for him and the Braves, Perez would be struck on the foot by a comeback during a start towards the end of June. He'd have to leave the game and eas placed on the DL the next day, causing him to miss most of July. He'd return on July 31st and he made two starts since his return, but they have awful. During his last two outings, he's thrown 10 innings and has given up 15 runs on 19 hits.
|PITCH||VELOCITY||FREQUENCY||vs LHB||vs RHB|
68% vs LHB
75% vs RHB
|Tries to paint the outside corner.||Tends to stay low and away, occasionally out of the zone.|
23% vs LHB
09% vs RHB
|Stays middle-away. Will use it high and away or even low and in, but usually out of the zone||Low and away|
09% vs LHB
16% vs RHB
|Usually below the zone||Sweeps it low and away|
If you're a right handed batter, odds are the pitch will be low and away.
Perez is a strong groundball pitcher thanks to his reliance on the sinker. Batters are hitting the ball on the ground against him about 50% of the time, meanwhile flies are hit 29% and line drives are hit 21% of the time.
|ATLANTA BRAVES||TAMPA BAY RAYS|
|Michael Bourn - LF||John Jaso - DH|
|Cameron Maybin - CF||Grady Sizemore - LF|
|Nick Markakis - DH||Evan Longoria - 3B|
|A.J. Pierzynski - C||James Loney - 1B|
|Nick Swisher - 1B||Logan Forsythe - 2B|
|Jace Peterson - 2B||Asdrubal Cabrera - SS|
|Adonis Garcia - 3B||Daniel Nava - RF|
|Andrelton Simmons - SS||Kevin Kiermaier - CF|
|Eury Perez - RF||Curt Casali - C|
|Williams Perez - RHP||Erasmo Ramirez - RHP|
- Kevin Kiermaier and Curt Casali are both back in the lineup after injuries didn't allow them to play on Sunday.
- Asdrubal Cabrera's 11 game hit streak was snapped on Sunday, but he's still hit .375/.413/.594 with 16 XBH, good for 182 wRC+ in 27 games since June 26th.
- Evan Longoria has been on fire since July 22nd. He's slashed .375/.429/.672 with 4 homers over the past 16 games and has only been held hitless during one of those games. He carries a 9 game hit steak into tonight's game.
Other Rays Notes:
- Drew Smyly is set to start tonight for Durham, meanwhile Desmond Jennings will play with Charlotte
- Richie Shaffer receiving attention from Baseball America (the best infield arm surprised me)
- August 11th in team history, of which they are 7-8 all-time
- 1980 - Kurt Birkins is born, he'd spend a few weeks with the Rays 2008 and didn't pitch poorly. Nonetheless he'd spend the majority of the season with Durham and released towards the end of the season.
- 1998 - The Devil Rays walkoff against Armando Benitez of the Baltimore Orioles. With the game tied in the bottom of the ninth, John Flaherty led off the inning with single, but would be forced out at second after Kevin Stocker laid down a bunt. Stocker would steal second, then came around to score the winning run, thanks to a Bob Smith single.
- 2001 - During a 4-3 victory over the Twins, current Durham Bulls manager, Jared Sandberg, lifts his first career homer.
- 2003 - Trailing 3-1 entering the bottom of the eight, the Devil Rays would begin a rally. With two outs and Rocco Baldelli on first, Travis Lee would hit a game tying two run homer. The following inning, Julio Lugo singled with one out. An out later, Jared Sandberg had a pinch-hit double that scored Lugo from first for a walkoff win.
- 2007 - Young Devil Rays right hander, Edwin Jackson, hurls the (at that point in time) best game of his career as he shuts out the Texas Rangers on only four hits, walking one and striking out eight.
- 2008 - In a crushing loss to the team, Evan Longoria is placed on the DL after being hit a by a pitch a few days prior. However, Willy Aybar would make the blow a little softer as he helped carry the team while Longoria was on the shelf.
- 2013 - The Rays released former team closer, Kyle Farnsworth. He had an excellent year for the team back in 2011, but his performance had faltered since that time. Over the course for three season with the Rays, Farnsworth recorded 25 saves to go along with a 3.54 ERA and a 3.52 FIP over the course of 136 games and 114 innings pitched.
- 2014 - Making only his second start for the Rays since being acquired in the David Price deal, Drew Smyly pitched an excellent game as he went two outs into the eighth inning. The Rays bullpen would close it out and they all combined to shutout the Texas Rangers, allowing only three hits while walking six and striking out 10.