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TUESDAY GAME NOTES

Drew Smyly hopes to contain the Baltimore Offense as the Rays seek their 3rd win a row

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

The Rays have won two games in a row! They hadn't done that in over a week, so it should be celebrated, just like Cal Ripken's ironman streak is being celebrated today by the Baltimore Orioles. The two streaks seem identical in their importance, but the Rays may winout over Ripken with a victory tonight.

Yes, the Rays playoff hopes are dwindling, but there is still a chance as fangraphs has them at a 0.5% chance of winning the world series, which is substantially better than a 0.05% chance, and hey, the Rays just promoted Luke Maile from Durham, along with some other all-stars so why couldn't they make a run for the postseason?

Also, as fate would have it, back in 2011 the Rays opened September with a three game series with Baltimore. It was that series that would trigger the Rays miraculous march towards the postseason and the greatest night in baseball history. What does fate have in store for the final month of the 2015 season? Hopefully the Rays celebrating a world series victory.

Today's Starting Pitchers:

PITCHER W L ERA FIP K% BB% AVG HR GS IP
Drew Smyly 1 2 3.82 4.69 24.4% 5.3% .250 7 6 30.2
Chris Tillman
9
9
4.58
4.33
16.1%
8.4%
.256
15
24
135.2

Drew Smyly takes the mound tonight for the Rays and he'll hope to keeps the Baltimore offense contained. In his previous outing, he managed to allow just four runs (three earned) despite giving up eight hits, along with two walks against the Twins, in just over four innings on the mound. Smyly has been shaky since return from the DL, sandwiching an excellent outing between two not so excellent outings.

Chris Tillman Scouting Report:

Tillman has had the Rays number throughout his career (as have many other pitchers), although they were able to get to him for six runs back on May 31st. But, he's faced them three other times this year and has only allowed four runs in just under 21 innings pitched.

Tillman had an excellent month of July where he posted a 1.31 ERA only allowing five runs in five starts during the month. However, during his final start of the month, he injured his ankle causing him to miss a couple of outings. His return went poorly as he allowed five runs in just over two innings against the Mariners. Sine then, Tillman has returned to his usual ways. His last time out was on Thursday and he allowed four runs on nine hits against the Royals.

Although he started off his career as a flyball pitcher, Tillman has converted into a full-fledged ground ball generator as he's produced the highest ground ball rate of his career thus far at 43.7%, meanwhile flies are being hit 36.5% of the time, and the remaining 19.8% have been line drives.

Tillman has pretty much been a different pitcher at home than on the road, as his road ERA is a full point higher than his home ERA (4.15/5.15), with opposing hitters also hitting 70 points lower at home, than at Camden Yards where they're hitting just .228.

His arsenal:

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

57% vs LHB

***

52% vs RHB

Paints the outside corner, high or low Tends to stay middle-away, high or low
Sinker Low 90's

11% vs LHB

***

13% vs RHB

Paints the outside corner, high or low Sproadic
Cutter Mid 80's

03% vs LHB

***

10% vs RHB

Sporadic Low and away, usually out of the zone
Slider Low 80's

00% vs LHB

***

01% vs RHB

Non-existent Sporadic
Change Low 80's

14% vs LHB

***

11% vs RHB

Tends to stay low and away, usually out of the zone Anywhere in the bottom of the zone
Curve Mid 70's

16% vs LHB

***

14% vs RHB

Either away from the zone, or below it Low and away, usually out of the zone

His splits:


TBF AVG OBP SLG HR K% BB%
vs LHB 291
.255
.328
.342
2
17.2%
9.3%
vs RHB 280
.257
.321
.500
13
15.0%
7.5%

Today's Lineups

TAMPA BAY RAYS BALTIMORE ORIOLES
Grady Sizemore - LF Manny Machado - 3B
Daniel Nava - RF Steve Pearce - LF
Evan Longoria - 3B Adam Jones - CF
John Jaso - DH Chris Davis - 1B
Logan Forsythe - 2B Matt Wieters - C
Asdrubal Cabrera - SS Jonathan Schoop - 2B
James Loney - 1B Caleb Joseph - DH
Brandon Guyer - CF Dariel Alvarez - RF
J.P. Arencibia - C Paul Janish - SS
Drew Smyly - LHP Chris Tillman - RHP

News:

- Six Rays prospects are going to the Arizona Fall League as the team selected three pitchers and three position players to go:  Buddy Borden, Mike Franco, Brad Scheiber, Casey Gillaspie, Daniel Robertson, and Jake Bauers.

- Taylor Motter has been named an International League All-star after his fantastic year with the Bulls. I expect we may see him with the big league team later in the month, due to his versatility.

- In order for the Rays to add Luke Maile ot the 40mna roster, someone had to go, and that someone turned out to be former prized prospect, Hak-Ju Lee as he has been DFA'd.

September 1st in Rays History:

  • They are 5-9 all-time
  • 1998 - The Devil Rays looked primed for victory after tallying three runs in the seventh to tie a game in Minnesota, then they struck for a run in the 11th thanks to a Rich Butler homer. Unfortunately, Roberto Hernandez failed to record an out in the bottom half as a leadoff walk, followed by a bun single set the stage for Matt Lawton to hit a walkoff triple.
  • 1999 - Dan Wheeler makes his major league debut with Tampa Bay, hurling five innings against the Orioles, allowing two runs on three hits, while struck out three and walked two.
  • 2004 - The Devil Rays are dominated by the Baltimore Orioles, whose trio of Daniel Cabrera, Todd Williams, and John Parrish combined to shutout Tampa Bay on only two hits as the Orioles cruised to an 8-0 victory.
  • 2006 - Following an excellent pitching duel between James Shields and Gil Meche, the Mariners and Tampa Bay were tied at 1 with both starting pitchers out of the game heading into the bottom of the ninth. After two quick outs, Dioner Navarro coaxed a nine pitch walk, was moved to third after Jorge Cantu singled. Josh Paul would then pinch-run for Navarro, then Ty Wigginton would drilled a walkoff singled into left field giving the Devil Rays a victory.
  • 2009 - A few days after the Scott Kazmir deal was announced, the Angels sent Sean Rodriguez to the Rays to complete the deal, much to the chagrin of the Tampa Bay faithful. Rodriguez would turn out to be the most productive player involved in the deal as Kazmir would be eventually released by the Angels.
  • 2010 - As rosters expand, the Rays promoted top prospect Desmond Jennings

  • 2012 - In one of the most dramatic moments of the season, Fernando Rodney (who was nearly inhittable in 2012), allowed a leadoff walk to Omar Vizquel. He'd move to second after a sac-bunt, then Rodney was able to get Russ Davis to fly out setting the stage for Mevlin Upton Jr to gun down Vizquel at the plate after Colby Rasmus singled to center to end the game.

  • 2014 - In a game against the Red Sox, the Rays would require extra innings to defeat them in a walkoff fashion. Leading off the bottom of the 10th, Ryan Hanigan doubled, he'd be pinch ran for by Sean Rodriguez. Boston pitcher, Burke Badenhop, chose to intentionally walk Kevin Kiermaier to get to Ben Zobrist (what?), who laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt because he's Ben Zobrist. Badenhop then intentionally walked Wil Myers for Matt Joyce, which turned out to be ill-fated as Joyce blasted a walkoff single.