The Tampa Bay Rays rode the waves of a four game winning streak into last night's game against the Texas Rangers, and although they ultimately lost the series opener due to shaky performances by Nate Karns and Co., they emerged from the water with a pair of positives nonetheless.
Desmond Jennings made his much anticipated return from the disabled list (left knee) in last night's contest, batting sixth and playing left field. In his first slice of major league action since leaving the Rays' April 25 game against the Toronto Blue Jays, Jennings collected three hits in four at-bats. Naturally, optimism abounded in the locker room after the game. Said Jennings:
"I feel good, I'm fresh and that's it. I'm just anxious and ready to play some baseball. Just come back and not try and do too much and just play the game."
And manager Kevin Cash:
"Very promising. He looked really good, his at-bats were good, he squared the ball up. It was nice to see. He's going to help us a lot over the next two months.''
While the Rays are no stranger to premature optimism in regards to the health of Jennings, his return will undoubtedly be an upgrade over the recently demoted Joey Butler. Although the extent of Jennings' offensive impact is yet to be determined, the offensive impact of Asdrubal Cabrera since his return from the disabled list (hamstring) should not go unnoticed.
Cabrera hit safely in three of his four at-bats in last night's game, continuing his scorching hot performance since his return from the disabled list on July 28. In the 14 games since his return, Cabrera has collected 27 hits in 54 at-bats (.500), improving his season batting average by 42 points and his on base percentage by 39 points.
Cabrera's surprising performance has been a welcomed addition to a Rays' offense that has finally begun to show signs of life. The addition of a healthy and productive Jennings would certainly be a satisfactory consolation prize to a disappointing trade deadline.
|TAMPA BAY RAYS||TEXAS RANGERS|
|John Jaso - DH||Delino DeShields Jr. - CF|
|Grady Sizemore - RF||Shin-Soo Choo - RF|
|Evan Longoria - 3B||Prince Fielder - DH|
|James Loney - 1B||Adrian Beltre - 3B|
|Logan Forsythe - 2B||Mitch Moreland - 1B|
|Asdrubal Cabrera - SS||Josh Hamilton - LF|
|Desmond Jennings - LF||Elvis Andrus - SS|
|Kevin Kiermaier - CF||Rougned Odor - 2B|
|Rene Rivera - C||Chris Gimenez - C|
|Chris Archer - RHP||Colby Lewis - RHP|
--The Rangers' roster has hit a combined 10 for 59 (.169) against Chris Archer in their careers.
--DeShields, Choo, Fielder, and Beltre are a combined 1 for 24.
--The Rays' roster has hit a combined 6 for 53 (.113) against Colby Lewis in their careers.
--Here's a look at the season stats of tonight's starting pitchers:
|Chris Archer||10||8||2.62||2.54||31.1%||6.2%||.205||13||24 (24G)||154.2|
|Colby Lewis||12||5||4.61||4.16||18.1%||4.4%||.256||21||23 (23G)||146.1|
The 2015 Arsenal of Colby Lewis
|PITCH||VELOCITY||FREQUENCY||vs RHH||vs LHH|
49.65% vs RHH
31.30% vs LHH
|Middle of the zone and away.||Sporadic, though a high concentration of middle of the zone and away.|
4.38% vs RHH
21.59% vs LHH
|Inner third of the strike zone and in.||Middle of the zone and away, often out of the strike zone.|
0.92% vs RHH
10.49% vs LHH
|Rarely thrown.||Middle of the zone and away, often out of the strike zone.|
41.24% vs RHH
23.52% vs LHH
|Low and away, often out of the strike zone.||Low and inside, often out of the strike zone.|
3.80% vs RHH
13.11% vs LHH
|Rarely thrown.||Low and inside.|