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Rays vs Athletics Preview: The first of two

The Rays look to take the first game of their double header

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s Play Two.

Today and tonight, the Tampa Bay Rays and Oakland Athletics will engage in a planned double-header at the Trop with the first game set to commence at 2 and then the follow up game will proceed approximately 45 minutes following the final out of game one.

The Rays have probably been the steakiest team in baseball in 2017, after losing four in a row, they have now bounced back to win their last three games. With their winning way, they’re back above .500 at 32-31, but still remain five and half games back in the division.

The Athletics meanwhile, fell to 26-34 after losing to the Rays last night.

Starting Pitchers

Erasmo Ramirez has been a bit shaky over his last two starts since making that relief appearance during the marathon game in Minnesota. During his last outing, Ramirez allowed four runs on seven hits — one homer — while he walked one and struck out five before departing with two outs in the fifth inning.

Sonny Gray has been decent this year and certainly better than his 2016 campaign, but he is still a shell of the former ace we seen back in 2015. During his last outing, on the 4th against the Nationals, Gray worked seven innings allowing three runs on four hits, while he walked three and struck out six.

Gray will feature an arsenal of five pitches (fastball & sinker in the low 90’s and a change-up, slider, and curve in the low to upper 80’s). He does a great job of mixing his pitches as well with the hard stuff being thrown the most, under 50% of the time.

His splits this year suggest that he doesn’t really have splits as lefties and righties have done about the same against him. Righties have a better average against him, but they almost never walk compared to lefties who walk twice as much but don’t get nearly as many hits.

Gray’s first time through the order this year has been dominant, but after that, things go south in a hurry.

Starting Lineups

Today's Lineups

Matt Joyce - RF Mallex Smith - CF
Chad Pinder - SS Corey Dickerson - LF
Jed Lowrie - 2B Evan Longoria - 3B
Khris Davis - LF Logan Morrison - 1B
Yonder Alonso - 1B Steven Souza - DH
Ryon Healy - DH Colby Rasmus - RF
Trevor Plouffe - 3B Tim Beckham - SS
Jaycob Brugman - CF Michael Martinez - 2B
Josh Phegley - C Derek Norris - C
Sean Manaea - LHP Erasmo Ramirez - RHP