The New York Mets and Tampa Bay Rays
The Mets’ Chris Flexen (0-1 http://www.packerscheapstore.com/dexter-williams-jersey-cheap , 10.80 ERA) is scheduled to face the Rays’ Nathan Eovaldi (2-3, 3.92) in a battle of right-handers.
The Rays posted a 3-0 win Saturday afternoon when ace left-hander Blake Snell tossed 7 1/3 strong innings and Wilson Ramos collected two RBIs.
The Mets and Rays have combined for just nine runs in the first two games, four of which were registered when New York’s Jose Bautista hit a walk-off grand slam to lift the Mets to a 5-1 win on Friday night. The teams had just eight hits in 77 plate appearances with runners on base on Friday and Saturday.
Such struggles have become routine for the Rays and Mets, who ranked 26th and 27th in the majors in runs scored after Saturday’s game — during which Tampa Bay moved past New York.
The offensive woes have threatened to negate the strong work of both pitching staffs. The Rays (44-44) have a 2.77 ERA since May 19, when they began infusing their rotation with the “opener” in select games.
“I think that with the way we’ve pitched, we find ourselves being in a lot of ballgames,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said before Saturday’s game. “But when the bats are quiet, it just becomes really, really tough to find ways to win ballgames.”
Starting pitchers for the Mets (35-50), meanwhile, have a 2.25 ERA in the last six games and a 3.94 ERA this year. New York’s three most utilized starters — Jacob deGrom, Zack Wheeler and Steven Matz — are 11-16 despite a 3.06 ERA in 51 games.
“If we win just five games of deGrom’s and Matz’s and Wheeler’s — and that’s being conservative — we’re right where we want to be,” Mets manager Mickey Callaway said after Saturday’s game. “And it just hasn’t happened.”
Flexen will make his first start of the season and his first appearance since June 24 Josh Allen Jersey , when he took the loss after giving up one run in one inning as the Mets fell to the Los Angeles Dodgers 8-7 in 11 innings. He hasn’t started in the majors since last Oct 1, when Flexen allowed six runs (five earned) in 1 1/3 innings as New York fell to the Philadelphia Phillies 11-0 in the season finale.
Eovaldi didn’t factor into the decision in his most recent start Monday, when he gave up two runs in six innings as the Rays fell to the Miami Marlins 3-2 in 10 innings. He has allowed two runs or fewer three times in seven starts this season but has surrendered at least four runs three other times.
Flexen has never faced the Rays. Eovaldi is 1-4 with a 5.01 ERA in nine career starts against the Mets.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Rays continue to win games they perhaps shouldn’t, and they’ll have an opportunity for more of that Saturday against Houston’s Justin Verlander.
The Rays (40-41) hit the midway point of their 2018 season with a 3-2 win over Houston, giving them six wins in their last seven games. Their pitching has led the way — three times in the last four games, they have held their opponent to three hits or less, this after doing so only three times in the first 77 games of this season.
“If we are going to win a lot of game and we are going to string a bunch together, we have to have good pitching,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “The timely hitting is great, but we have to stay in the ballgame. For us to have allowed three runs in 18 innings against arguably the best team in baseball, we should find a way to win one.”
Houston will send Verlander, who has been dominant (9-3 http://www.jaguarscheapstore.com/jawaan-taylor-jersey-cheap , 1.82 ERA) but has gotten surprisingly little run support from a potent Astros lineup.
Houston is just 11-7 in games he starts, and the Astros have scored a total of two runs in five of those losses.
So Saturday could look like Thursday’s 1-0 Astros win, or could look like Friday’s 3-2 loss, which saw two errors factor in Tampa Bay’s scoring.
Verlander faced the Rays just 11 days ago in Houston, again pitching well, allowing one run on six hits in 6 2/3 innings, but ultimately taking a no-decision in a 2-1 loss. He has 136 strikeouts in 113 innings this season and a ridiculous 0.81 WHIP.
Against the Rays for his career, Verlander is 8-3 with a 3.18 ERA, but since 2010, he’s just 4-3, despite a 1.72 ERA in his last five starts against the Rays. At Tropicana Field, he’s 5-2 all-time with a 2.53 ERA, including a 1.20 ERA in his last two outings.
The Rays counter with reliever-turned-starter Ryne Stanek Josh Oliver Jersey , who has thrived in the “opener” role that Tampa Bay has essentially created in the past six weeks. He’s starting for the second time in three days against the Astros having thrown 1 2/3 innings of scoreless, hitless baseball Thursday night. For the month of June, he’s pitched in 11 games and 14 2/3 innings without allowing a run.
He’s held opponents to just four hits, lowering his season ERA to 1.85, just barely above Verlander’s.
The Astros know they have to be careful with the white ceiling of Tropicana Field — the Rays’ three-run fourth inning got a spark Friday when center fielder Jake Marisnick couldn’t hold onto a pop at the warning track, allowing a run to score.
“When you play here, you try to not take your eye off the ball,” Marisnick said. “With the ceiling, I kind of glanced quickly at the ball, then looked back up and lost track. I wasn’t able to come up with it. That’s a play I need to make 10 out of 10 times.”
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