|3:10 PM PT4:10 PM MT5:10 PM CT6:10 PM ET18:10 ET22:10 GMT6:10 3:10 PM MST5:10 PM EST5:40 PM VEN2:10 UAE (+1)5:10 PM CT, August 3, 2019
Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida Attendance: 14,092
Marlins aim to spark interest in series opener vs. Rays
Miami Marlins at Tampa Bay Rays
- The Marlins beat the Twins yesterday, 5-4, on a Harold Ramirez walk-off home run in the 12th inning. Ramirez is the first Marlin to hit a walk-off home run in extra-innings in his first MLB season since Miguel Cabrera on June 20, 2003.
- The Rays swept a three-game series at Boston to move to 8-1 at Fenway Park this season. Tampa Bay currently occupies the second Wild Card spot in the AL, half a game up on Oakland.
- Tampa Bay has recorded 12+ hits in a franchise record five consecutive games. The only team with a longer such streak this season is the Rockies, who had 12+ hits in six straight games from June 13-19.
- Travis d'Arnaud has 22 RBI since the All-Star break, tied with Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Rafael Devers for most in the majors over that time. Those 22 RBI have come in a 15-game span, making d'Arnaud the first Ray with that many RBI over any 15-game span since Evan Longoria (23) in 2011.
- Miguel Rojas has hit safely in nine straight games, posting a .387 (12-for-31) batting average over that time with three home runs and seven runs scored. Rojas' career-best hitting streak is 10 games, which has he done twice.
- The Rays have won three consecutive games against the Marlins, including a two-game sweep in Miami in May. The Rays lead this intrastate rivalry, 59-56, all-time.
- Twins try to get closer to Central title
- Athletics go for 11th win in 13 games
- Cubs host Pirates looking for sweep
- Surging Brewers set to take on Cardinals
- Trout expected back for finale vs. Rays
When the Tampa Bay Rays play host to the Miami Marlins on Saturday in the opener of a two-game series, there will be virtually no buzz in the Sunshine State ... or anywhere else.
The Marlins are last in the majors in attendance, and the Rays are just one spot above them. The Marlins are also last in the National League in win-loss record.
Fortunately for the Rays, they are relevant on the field, ranking second in the American League East and factoring in strongly in the wild-card race. They won their fourth straight game on Thursday, beating the Boston Red Sox 9-4 to complete a road series sweep.
One angle for Saturday's game is the presence of Rays reliever Nick Anderson, who was acquired from the Marlins in a deadline trade on Wednesday. Anderson, who is 2-4 with a 3.83 ERA, has 71 strikeouts in 44 2/3 innings. The 29-year-old has a 37.1 strikeout rate, which ranks in the top three-percent in the majors.
"His fastball plays big," Rays general manager Erik Neander said of Anderson, who made his Rays debut on Thursday with one scoreless inning and two strikeouts. "He keeps his walks (16) down, and he provides us with an elite level on strikeouts. He can make a big impact for us for years to come."
As for Saturday's starting pitchers, Miami will hand the ball to Elieser Hernandez (1-4, 4.93 ERA), while Tampa Bay will have Diego Castillo (1-6, 3.73) serve as an opener.
In Hernandez's most recent start -- a 5-1 Marlins win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday -- he was limited to 66 pitches. It was his first start since July 4 as the Marlins brought him in from out of the bullpen.
Hernandez, who allowed just one run in four innings against Arizona, should be able to go deeper into the game on Saturday, perhaps 75 to 80 pitches. He has never started against Tampa Bay, although he has pitched three scoreless innings in relief.
The Marlins, who beat the Minnesota Twins 5-4 in 12 innings on Thursday, have shown fight this year despite their dismal record. The Marlins trailed the first-place Twins 4-1 entering the ninth before rallying for three runs. Then, in the 12th, Harold Ramirez homered for his second walk-off hit in a seven-game homestand.
However, the Marlins -- in their walk-up to the trade deadline -- subtracted four pitchers from their active roster, including Anderson but also closer Sergio Romo, starter Zac Gallen and swing man Trevor Richards, who also went to Tampa Bay.
In addition, the Marlins in the past week also have suffered a couple of injuries to a pair of hitters in their starting lineup: first baseman Garrett Cooper (hamstring) and shortstop Miguel Rojas (hip).
Cooper, who was used as a pinch hitter on Thursday, may be ready to start on Saturday. Rojas, who hurt his hip while running the bases on Thursday, is optimistic he can return on Saturday.
"My hip tightened up on me, but nothing to worry about," Rojas said. "Hopefully I will be back in the lineup for the Tampa series."
Castillo has opened just once in 42 appearances this year, but he did so 12 times in 2018. He is 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA in four career appearances against the Marlins.
--Field Level Media
Updated August 2, 2019