RAYS (35-22) AT TIGERS (22-34)
7:10 p.m. ET; FS-D, FS-SUN, MLB.TV
The Tampa Bay Rays begin a seven-game road trip on a three-game losing streak, but manager Kevin Cash sees a silver lining.
The Rays scored seven runs in the final three innings of a 9-7 loss to the Minnesota Twins on Sunday. The Rays, who begin a three-game series at Detroit on Tuesday, had scored a combined five runs in the previous two losses.
“That was encouraging,” Cash told MLB.com. “Hopefully we can carry that over into Detroit because (the offense has) been fairly quiet. … But the offense the last two or three innings was very encouraging.”
They could also get some reinforcements during the trip. Outfielders Tommy Pham (leg) and Avisail Garcia (hamstring) could return during the Tigers series. Following its trip to the Midwest, Tampa Bay moves on to Boston for a four-game weekend series.
“We went 4-3 on the homestand,” Cash said. “It would’ve been nice to be better than that, but we went 4-3 on the homestand, and more times than not, we’re going to be satisfied with a winning homestand.”
The losing streak is the Rays’ second longest this season. They had a four-game slide in April, but they’re still 13 games over .500 at 35-22.
“There’s going to be good series and bad series,” Rays catcher Mike Zunino told MLB.com. “Obviously (the Twins) are one of the best clubs in baseball. We’re getting some guys healthy coming back. All we’ve got to do is take this off-day (on Monday), reset and get ready for Detroit.”
Left-handed ace Blake Snell will start the series opener in Detroit. Snell (3-4, 3.06 ERA) has posted three consecutive quality starts, including a six-inning, two-run outing against Toronto on Wednesday.
Snell has an 0-1 record in two career starts against Detroit. He got a no-decision in May of last season at Detroit, holding the Tigers to two runs in 6 2/3 innings.
The Tigers will counter with lefty Ryan Carpenter (0-2, 7.58 ERA), who has four starts since being recalled from Triple-A Toledo. In his last outing, he gave up two runs in five-plus innings at Baltimore on Wednesday. He’ll be facing the Rays for the first time.
Detroit has dropped two straight following a three-game winning streak.
Its last game bore some similarities to the Rays’ experience on Sunday. The Tigers were down by three runs to Atlanta, rallied to tie it at 4, then gave up three runs in the eighth.
“It was pretty fun to be in that dugout,” manager Ron Gardenhire told the Detroit News. “It was pretty dull for a while, but all it takes is one hit and everybody’s up. That’s what we talk about, you play all nine innings, 27 outs.”
The Tigers’ starting staff has been decimated and injuries to shortstop Jordy Mercer (quad), second baseman Josh Harrison (hamstring) and first baseman Miguel Cabrera (knee) have forced Gardenhire to juggle his lineups.
Detroit is starting a six-game homestand after playing nine straight on the road.
“Considering everything that happened coming into this road trip, I think we did well,” staff ace Matthew Boyd told the Detroit News. “We’re never out of a game. That’s what it is. We fight.”
–Field Level Media