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MONDAY GAME NOTES

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A game between two mediorce teams battling for third in the division

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Rays won two games last week. Both victories prevented the opposing teams from completing sweeps of Tampa Bay, and they somehow only slipped two games back in the wild card. There are some mediocre teams battling for this second wild card spot. The addition of the second wild card has allowed teams, such as the Rays, who have been struggling to stay above .500 since mid-July, a chance at making it to the post season and if the right amount of breaks occur, they could actually advance into the later rounds.

Today, the Rays will face off against the Baltimore Orioles as they continue to battle against Wild Card opponents. Going to the mound for the Rays will be their young ace, Chris Archer and he'll be going against Baltimore's southpaw, Wei-Yin Chen.

Today's Starting Pitchers:

PITCHER W L ERA FIP K% BB% AVG HR GS IP
Chris Archer 11 10 2.88 2.55 31.1% 6.2% .212 15 27 175
Wei-Yin Chen 8 6 3.17 4.27 19.5% 5.5% .254 24 25 156

Chris Archer has been phenomenal this year for the Rays in what has turned out to be a breakout campaign for the young righty. He's still quite young as he only turns 27 in September and the Rays still have him under relatively team friendly contract until the year 2022 meaning he has a long future with the team (at least until he's traded for a carbon copy of himself in 2019).

He's quickly approaching the Rays season strikeout mark set by Scott Kazmir back in 2007 when the southpaw tied for the major league lead with 239 strikeouts. Archer currently sits at 217, and with 5-6 remaining for him this season, it seems like a sure thing he'll blaze past the mark by a significant amount. Archer has recorded 575 outs this season, so that means that 41% of his outs have come via the strikeout.

Archer's last time out, he added 12 punchouts to his total for the year and pitched a decent game, but he'd be responsible four runs (two scored after he was already out of the game), while walked one and allowed nine hits. It wasn't a horrible outing, but also not one that we've come to expect out of the young ace. He hopes to rebound tonight against the Orioles.

Wei-Yin Chen Scouting Report:

Chen may not be having as good of a year as his numbers indicate, but he's still having a solid year in his fourth full season in the majors. He's been very quietly the Orioles most consistent pitcher having only allowed four earned runs or more in two of his 25 starts thus far this season. Chen has pitched against the Rays three times this season and has allowed a total of 10 runs in just over 15 innings pitched. His last time out was on Wednesday against the Royals where gave up three runs on 10 hits, while he walked one and struck out four.

Chen has struggled more at Camden Yards this season as he's allowed 17 at home compared to the 7 he's allowed on the road, although he has pitched almost 40 more innings at home. Meanwhile, opponents have also hit .264 off him at home compared to the .237 mark on the road.

Chen has always been more of a flyball pitcher throughout his career, with 2015 being no exception. He's given up about an even rate of ground ball to fly balls as grounders have been hit 40.8% of the time off him, with flies being hit 41.3% and the remaining 17.9% have been line drives.

His arsenal:

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

45% vs LHB

***

56% vs RHB

Tends to stay away, usually at the waist or knees Stays middle-in, tries to paint the inside corner most often
Sinker Low 90's

17% vs LHB

***

10% vs RHB

Usually in, off the plate Will use the bottom half of the zone or tries to paint the outside corner
Splitter Low 80's

01% vs LHB

***

12% vs RHB

Sporadic Paints the outside corner, or stays below the zone
Slider Low 80's

29% vs LHB

***

14% vs RHB

Low and away, off the plate Low and in, off the plate
Curve Mid 70's

07% vs LHB

***

09% vs RHB

Low and away, off the plate Low and in, off the plate

His splits:

TBF AVG OBP SLG K% BB% HR
vs LHB 149 .236 .267 .374 16.1% 2.7% 3
vs RHB 493 .259 .312 .478 20.5% 6.3% 21

Today's Lineups

TAMPA BAY RAYS BALTIMORE ORIOLES
Brandon Guyer - RF Manny Machado - SS
Joey Butler - LF Gerardo Parra - LF
Evan Longoria - 3B Adam Jones - CF
Logan Forsythe - 2B Chris Davis - RF
Asdrubal Cabrera - SS Matt Wieters - 1B
Tim Beckham - DH Steve Clevenger - DH
James Loney - 1B Jonathan Schoop - 2B
Kevin Kiermaier - CF Ryan Flaherty - 3B
Rene Rivera - C Caleb Joseph - C
Chris Archer - RHP Wei-Yin Chen - LHP

NEWS:

- The Rays have purchased the contract of Jose Constanza from the York Revolution, an Independent team in the Atlantic League. He is the first player the Rays have ever acquired from the Independent Leagues during the regular season. Constanza will be added to the Rays 40-man roster and will likely see playing time in September, mainly as a defensive replacement or pinch runner. He has spent parts of four major league seasons with the Atlanta Braves and slashed .273/.316/.323 in 112 games.

August 31st in Rays History:

  • They are 6-10 all-time on this date
  • One former Rays player celebrates his birthday today, as Hideo Nomo was born on this date in 1968 in Osaka, Japan. Nomo took the MLB by storm when he was first introduced in 1996, but his career quickly faded out in the 2000's and it eventually brought him to Tampa Bay in 2005. He spent half a season with the Devil Rays before being released in July after accumulating 7.24 ERA and a record of 5-8 over 19 starts. Here's a decent outing of him with Tampa, but below is a much better outing from the "Tornado".

  • 1998 - Despite delivering an excellent start for the Devil Rays, Tony Saunders is saddled with a loss after a complete game effort, as Tampa Bay took a 2-1 loss at hands of the Twins
  • 1999 - Ryan Rupe delivered some of the Rays best starts during the early years of franchise and this outing added to that as he combined to throw a three hit shutout of the Orioles, alongside Albie Lopez and Roberto Hernandez. Rupe, for his part, walked two and struck out eight, while only allowing two hits during his seven innings on the mound.
  • 2003 - Another decent pitching performance by a Devil Rays starter results in a loss as Geremi Gonzalez picks up his 7th loss of the season, despite pitching a complete game.
  • 2004 - The Devil Rays and Orioles engaged in a back forth game that required extra innings after Aubrey Huff clubbed a game-tying homer in the ninth inning. In the 11th, the two teams traded run, but in the 12th, the Orioles tallied four runs off of former all-star, Lance Carter with Melvin Mora and Jay Gibbons both homering off the righty en route to a 10-6 victory.
  • 2006 - In a game that required 10 innings, Tampa Bay came out victorious thanks in part to Brandon McCarthy's lack of command as he sandwiched two walks in between two singles that allowed the Devil Rays to take the lead, and eventually the win.
  • 2012 - After years of devastating the Rays pitching staff, the team finally brings Ben Francisco to play for them. Unfortunately, he wouldn't face Andy Sonnanstine every time he hit and he offered little production for Tampa Bay. He did arrive with a bang as he homered in his first start with the team, but after that game he'd hit just above .210 the rest of the season.

  • 2014 - Clay Bucholz dominated the Rays last year only allowing three hits during a shutout victory, but Kevin Kiermaier would provide the Rays with a memorable play in center field as he made an insane catch after taking a bad route running back for a ball.