This afternoon, the Tampa Bay Rays will look to sweep the Oakland Athletics for the first time ever at the Coliseum. They’ve managed to win the first two games of this series, the first game on Monday in nail biting fashion and last night in exhilarating fashion. The Rays have now won six of their last seven games, improving their record to 51-44 and just two games back in the division while they have sole control over the top Wild Card spot.
Jacob Faria out pitched Chris Sale during his last start prior to the All-Star break and he has been a catalyst for the Rays surge up the standings. Since his promotion in early June, the Rays are 22-13, which is the best record in the American League over that time. His last time out came on the 14th against the Angels where he pitched two outs into the 7th inning, allowing just a run on a solo homer while he walked two and struck out four.
Sonny Gray has returned to prominence after a rough 2016 season. He has been tremendous for the Athletics over the past month (four starts) having allowed just four earned runs over 27 innings pitched. His last time out came on the 14th against the Indians, holding Cleveland scoreless for six innings, yielding just two hits while he walked one and struck out five.
Typically a groundball pitcher, he generates gopher balls well over 50% of the time. He does this by living in the bottom of his zone with his fastball and sinker in the low 90’s. Meanwhile, during his recent run of success, Gray has been relying less and less on his curveball and attacking more with his sinker, leading to much more dominance. He has become more a three pitch pitcher, tossing in a slider every so often as well.
Gray has been particularly effective at home this year with opponent mustering .251 wOBA against in Oakland, compared to .336 away. Gray is also a reverse splits guy as righties fare worse than lefties, although the batter’s handedness hasn’t really mattered this year.
|TAMPA BAY RAYS||OAKLAND A'S|
|Steven Souza - RF||Matt Joyce - RF|
|Corey Dickerson - LF||Marcus Semien - SS|
|Evan Longoria - 3B||Yonder Alonso - 1B|
|Logan Morrison - DH||Khris Davis - DH|
|Wilson Ramos - C||Jed Lowrie - 2B|
|Brad Miller - 2B||Bruce Maxwell - C|
|Tim Beckham - SS||Matt Chapman - 3B|
|Mallex Smith - CF||Jaycob Brugman - CF|
|Trevor Plouffe - 1B||Rajai Davis - LF|
|Jacob Faria - RHP||Sonny Gray - RHP|