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THURSDAY GAME NOTES:

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

As I was writing out the paragraphs below, news broke that Jake McGee would miss the rest of the season due to a tear in his knee. He'll undergo surgery that'll effectively end his season and honestly the last trickles of hope are fading away for this season. The Rays have promoted Enny Romero back up due to the the injury.

* * *

How much optimism can one carry after the past two games? During the six games of this road trip so far, the Rays have lost five of them, with the bullpen being responsible for three of those losses. Last night, the Rays were up by a run in the ninth and Alex Colome remained in the game and secured the much-needed win Brad Boxberger allowed the tying run to score. The Rays offense would only muster one more runner the rest of the night and the Astros would hand the Rays their 10th walkoff loss this year, also making them 2-10 in extra inning games. If the Rays had been more fortunate in just four of those games, they'd be tied for the second wildcard spot.

Alas, the Rays have not been fortunate during those contests are they are now four games back in the wild card chase, separated by three teams. Tonight, the Rays will hopefully be able to even the series against the Astros behind their ace, Chris Archer, who is coming off one the worst outings of his season against Texas. Opposing him will be Houston right-hander, Collin McHugh.

Today's Starting Pitchers:

Chris Archer vs Collin McHugh

PITCHER W L ERA FIP K% BB% AVG HR GS IP
Chris Archer 10 9 2.93 2.64 30.3% 6.4% .214 14 25 160
Collin McHugh 13 6 4.09 3.70 19.1% 6.1% .264 15 24 152

Chris Archer has been one of the best pitchers in all of baseball this season, and if it weren't for a few rough outings, he'd be a front line candidate for the Cy Young award. However, his rough outings have been really rough. His last time out was on the 15th against the Rangers where they were able to get to him for eight runs in just over five innings on the mound.

Collin McHugh Scouting Report:

McHugh has had a fairly decent season as well, which has been marred by a couple of bad outings. His win total however, is significantly helped by the run support he receives per game. He has been a nice run as of late though. Since June 18th, McHugh has a 2.99 ERA and a 2.95 FIP over the course of 11 starts and 72 innings pitched. His last time out was on the 15th against the Tigers where he went seven innings and only gave up a run on four hits, while he struck out seven and walked two.

His arsenal:

PITCH VELOCITY FREQUENCY vs LHB vs RHB
Fastball Low 90's

32% vs LHB

***

33% vs RHB

Paints the outside corner Anywhere in the zone
Sinker Low 90's

01% vs LHB

***

01% vs RHB

Sporadic Sporadic
Slider High 80's

39% vs LHB

***

40% vs RHB

Tends to work up in the zone and in on the hitter Stays low and away
Change Low 80's

08% vs LHB

***

01% vs RHB

Stays away from, or below the zone Sporadic
Curve Low 70's

20% vs LHB

***

25% vs RHB

Works anywhere in the bottom of the zone Low and away from the zone

McHugh has struggled more at home than on the road this season, with his home ERA being almost a full point higher than his road ERA. Meanwhile, McHUgh has generally been a ground ball pitcher this year, generating them 45.6% of the time, with flies being hit 34.8%, and the remaining 19.6% have been line drives.

His splits:

TBF AVG OBP SLG HR K% BB%
vs LHB 302 .229 .286 .350 5 19.5% 6.0%
vs RHB 343 .296 .350 .450 10 18.7% 6.1%

Today's Lineups

TAMPA BAY RAYS HOUSTON ASTROS
John Jaso - DH Jose Altuve - 2B
Grady Sizemore - RF Marwin Gonzalez - 1B
Evan Longoria - 3B Carlos Correa - SS
James Loney - 1B Colby Rasmus - RF
Logan Forsythe - 2B Carlos Gomez - CF
Asdrubal Cabrera - SS Evan Gattis - DH
Desmond Jennings - LF Luis Valbuena - 3B
Kevin Kiermaier - CF Preston Tucker - LF
Rene Rivera - C Jason Castro - C
Chris Archer - RHP Collin McHugh - RHP

Other Rays Notes:

- August 20th in team history, of which they are 7-9 all-time

  • 1999 - The 1999 Devil Rays would have made the current team proud as they walked off in the bottom of the ninth in a game against the Royals, as Kansas City pitcher, Scott Service walked Davey Martinez, Fred McGriff, and Jose Canseco to start the inning. Then after getting ahead of John Flaherty, Service hit the Tampa Bay back stop to force in the winning run.
  • 2000 - During a slugfest between the White Sox and Devil Rays, Tampa Bay would come out on top. Chicago took a 11-10 lead in the eighth after Jose Valentin scored on a wild pitch from Esteban Yan. However, Tampa Bay immediately tied it in the ninth thanks to a lead-off homer from Bob Smith off of Keith Foulke. The Devil Rays would score once more after Jason Tyner doubled in Aubrey Huff to make it 12-11, D-Rays, which would turn out to be the final score.
  • 2002 - Aubrey Huff came up big in the top of the ninth against the Orioles as hit a go-ahead homer to give Tampa Bay a one run lead. However, it'd be short lived as Lee Gardner relieved Joe Kennedy for the bottom half of the inning. After one out was recorded, things fell apart as an error, a walk, a single, and a sac fly set the stage for Gary Mattews to lift a three run walkoff homer to send Baltimore home winners. Ben Grieve also hit this monstrous homer during the game.

  • 2007 - Tim Wakefield and the Red Sox bullpen combined to shutout the Devil Rays on only four hits as three pitchers combined to strike out seven and walk only one hitter.

Scott Kazmir Strikes Out 8 [] Tim Wakefield's Outing

  • 2011 - Jeremy Hellickson and Joel Peralta combine to shutout the Seattle Mariners as Hellickson went eight innings and struck out five and walked only a batter, while he gave up six hits as the took an 8-0 victory.

  • 2014 - Rick Porcello of the Detroit Tigers delivers a masterful performance against the Rays as he throws a complete game shutout, only allowing three hits, while he walked zero, and struck out four.