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SUNDAY GAME NOTES:

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Nathan Karns hopes to rebound from his previous start during this afternoon's series finale

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Remember back on June 20th when everything was going awesomely for the Rays? They were 40-30, in first place in the American League East, and were among the top three teams in the AL. We were thinking that things could only get better once the team's reinforcements arrived from the disabled list, a group that included the team's starting DH, first baseman, left fielder, and three of their starting pitchers. However, only a couple of those players have been productive and the rest of the team has free fallen from their earlier output, Since June 20th, they are 23-36, which makes them the worst team in the American League over that time and it's not really close.

Today, the Rays hope to avoid being swept for the second series in a row in separate categories as they were swept by the Royals in their last series back in July, but also had to avoid being swept in their previous series against the Twins. Going to the mound for the Rays will be Nathan Karns and he'll faceoff against Danny Duffy.

Today's Starting Pitchers:

PITCHER W L ERA FIP K% BB% AVG HR GS IP
Nathan Karns 7 5 3.69 4.12 23.2% 9.2% .231 18 25 139
Danny Duffy 7 6 4.13 4.50 14.0% 8.9% .263 10 20 109

Nathan Karns has been excellent this season but he hits the occasional bump in the road about once a month or so. His last start marked one of the bumps as he only lasted three innings against the Twins on Tuesday, giving up five runs on four hits, while he walked four and struck out three. Today Karns will take on the Royals, who are responsible for tacking on the most runs against Karns this season as they got to him for seven runs back on July 9th.

Danny Duffy Scouting Report:

Duffy had a rocky start to the season, then spent a month on the DL from mid-May to mid-June, but since that point he has been on point for the Royals. allowing two runs or less in eight of his 12 starts since returning. His last time out was on Tuesday against the Orioles and he allowed two runs on five hits, while he struck out five and walked two in just over five innings on the mound.

Duffy is producing the highest ground rate and lowest fly ball rate of his career this season as opponents have hit grounders 37.9% of the time, meanwhile flies have been hit 35.5% of the time with the remaining 26.6% being line drives. There's not a strong difference between Duffy's result on the road or at home, with the exception of the home run bug while on the road. He's given up seven homers on the road this season while he's faced 15 less batters than at home.

His arsenal:

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

50% vs RHB

***

59% vs LHB

Tends to stay near the outside corner Stays middle-in, changes hitter's eye level
Sinker Mid 90's

15% vs RHB

***

07% vs LHB

Sporadic Sporadic
Change Mid 80's

12% vs RHB

***

02% vs LHB

Sporadic Either beneath the zone, or tries to paint the outside corner, high or low
Slider Low 80's

18% vs RHB

***

24% vs LHB

Low and away Low and in
Curve High 70's

05% vs RHB

***

08% vs LHB

Low and away Anywhere in the zone

His splits:

TBF AVG OBP SLG HR K% BB%
vs LHB 95 .253 .319 .326 0 15.8% 7.4%
vs RHB 375 .256 .351 .428 10 13.6% 9.3%

Today's Lineups

KANSAS CITY ROYALS TAMPA BAY RAYS
Alcides Escobar - SS Brandon Guyer - RF
Ben Zobrist - RF Daniel Nava - 1B
Lorenzo Cain - CF Evan Longoria - 3B
Eric Hosmer - 1B Logan Forsythe - 2B
Kendrys Morales - DH Joey Butler - LF
Mike Moustakas - 3B Tim Beckham - SS
Paulo Orlando - LF J.P. Arencibia - DH
Omar Infante - 2B Kevin Kiermaier - CF
Drew Butera - C Rene Rivera - C
Danny Duffy - LHP Nate Karns - RHP

August 29th in Rays History:

  • They are 7-8 all-time on this date
  • A couple of former Rays pitchers celebrate their birthdays as both Mike Eckstrom (1983) and Roberto Hernandez (1980?) were (possibly) born on this day
  • 2001 - The Devil Rays are shutout by four Mariners pitchers (Freddy Garcia, Norm Charlton, Jeff Nelson, and Arthur Rhodes), despite recording nine hits. The team as a whole, went 1-14 with runners in scoring position meanwhile Seattle recorded their 96th! win of the season.
  • 2005 - Taking a 6-4 lead into the bottom of the 8th against Boston, Lou Pinella goes to Joe Borowski to try and hold the lead. Borowski fails as Boston ties the game. An inning later, Borowski is still in the game and after a strikeout and a walk, he is removed in favor of Danys Baez who promptly gives up a single, a walk, and a single to give the Red Sox a walkoff victory.
  • 2006 - Once again the Devil Rays were primed for victory heading into the final innings of a game, this time vs the Chicago White Sox. In the bottom of the 8th, Dan Miceli allowed a run to score, but that was more Jorge Cantu's fault than his. An inning later, Brian Meadows gave up a 2-Run HR to Tad Iguchi to tie the game and two batters later, Jim Thome singled in the go-ahead run to give Chicago a 5-4 lead, which would be the final score.
  • 2008 - In a game where the lead changed hands five different times, the Rays would come out victorious. But, not before a dramatic ninth inning. Dan Wheeler was brought on to try and close out the game and started out dominantly striking out the first two Baltimore batters, but then he served up a solo-HR to Nick Markakis to tie the game. Fortunately for the Rays, Rocco Baldelli would hit a walkoff double in the bottom half of the inning to send the Rays home winners.
  • 2011 - The Rays suffer a frustrating loss to the Texas Rangers as they are shutout, 2-0 by Scott Feldman and the Rangers' bullpen. All of the runs that Texas scored, came in the the 6th inning.
  • 2012 - For the second year in a row, the Rays are again shutout 2-0, thanks to Carlos Villenueava and the Toronto Blue Jays' bullpen. All of Toronto's runs came in the first inning.
  • 2013 - The team signed Freddy Guzman, who'd been playing in the Mexican Leagues. Guzman would appear in one game for the Rays that season. With the Rays trailing by one in extra innings, Guzman entered a pinch-runner, stole second, then promptly scored on a single. He has not appeared in a major league game since.
  • 2014 - Jake Odorizzi, Jeff Beliveau, and Kirby Yates combined for a one hit shutout of the Boston Red Sox as the Rays took the game, 7-0. Both starters however were wild as they combined to hit five batters and walk six of them.