After starting the season with two straight losses, the Rays hope to bounce back today in the rubber game against the Baltimore Orioles. Wade Davis takes the mound today for the Rays in his first start since signing a 7 year, $35.1 million contract extension. The Rays have high hopes for Davis this year, as he pitched well in his rookie season (4.07 ERA, 4.79 FIP) and improved as the season went along.
The Rays have struggled on offense over the past two nights, and today's match-up may not be much easier. Brian Matusz was originally scheduled to pitch yesterday, but missed the start due to a back injury that placed him on the disabled list, so Zach Britton was called up from Triple-A to start today's game. Britton is widely considered to be the Orioles' top prospect and he impressed last season in Triple-A, posting a 2.98 ERA / 3.18 FIP while striking out 7.6 batters per nine. Britton is a left-handed pitcher and throws a sinking 94 MPH fastball, a slider, and a changeup.
Players To Watch
- Evan Longoria is not in today's lineup due to his sore oblique muscle, and he could end up on the 15-day disabled list and miss as much as three weeks. Sean Rodriguez is expected to be the primary third baseman in his place, and he's starting there today.
- Ben Zobrist is hitting third in today's lineup, and based solely on his performance these last few games, he deserves it. Zobrist has the Rays lone homerun of the season, and he nearly tied the game in the ninth inning last night with a deep drive to right field. Nick Markakis made an impressive leaping catch to rob Zobrist, but regardless, Zobrist is hitting the ball hard right now. He's also made some spectacular defensive plays at second base.