Thursday, June 13, 2024
Fantasy Guru - Baseball

MLB Preview: Tampa Bay Rays (80-52) at Miami Marlins (66-65)


RAY REPORT — Tampa Bay begins a five game, six-day road trip through Miami and Cleveland tonight at loanDepot Park…the Rays are 18-9 in their last 27 games, including wins in eight of 10 and 11 of their last 15, following an MLB-worst 5-15 (.250) stretch from 7/1-26…they currently occupy the first AL Wild Card spot, leading both Texas and Houston by 5.5 games…Tampa Bay is 2.5 games behind first-place Baltimore in the AL East after spending 111 consecutive days atop the division from 3/30-7/19. The Rays are 8-1-1 in their last 10 series on the heels of a 2-7-1 performance in series play from 6/12-7/23…they have posted a 19-10 (.655) record overall since 7/24, third best in the AL behind the Mariners (25-7, .781) and Orioles (21-11, .656). Tampa Bay has won five straight series for the first time since 7/5-25, 2021. The Rays are 29-13 (.690) in series openers, the best winning pct. in the AL and trailing only Atlanta and Los Angeles-NL (both 30-13, .698) in the majors. The Rays are averaging 6.00 runs per game in August, third most in the AL behind Seattle (6.12) and Houston (6.04)…this comes after posting an AL-worst 3.63 runs per game in July. Tampa Bay is 150-93 (.617) in August since manager Kevin Cash took over in 2015, the second-best winning pct. in MLB over that span behind Los Angeles-NL (.667). Tampa Bay will open the month of September with 17 games in 17 consecutive days before its first of three off days during the month…the Rays have an MLB-leading seven off days in August.

RANDY GETS ROLLING — Randy Arozarena has hit safely in 16 of his last 19 games dating back to 8/6, batting .301 (22-for-73) with four doubles, 2 HR, 8 RBI and 11 walks against 17 strikeouts…he has produced a .390 on-base pct. in 23 games this month after posting a .223 on-base pct. across 23 games in July.

CLUTCH TIME — Tampa Bay is batting an MLB-best .347 with runners in scoring position in August, ahead of Atlanta and Milwaukee (.336 each)…the Rays hit .197 with RISP in July, the third-lowest mark in the majors, ahead of only San Francisco (.180) and New York-AL (.180). Tampa Bay’s .287 batting average with RISP on the year leads MLB, ahead of Boston and Texas (.281 each)…the .287 RISP average would signal a single-season franchise record, ahead of the 2005 Devil Rays (.285).

FLASHING LEATHER — The Rays have not committed an error in their last six games, their longest streak since stringing together eight consecutive error-free contests from 6/24-7/2…during August, Tampa Bay is 4-5 when committing at least one error compared to 11-3 when going errorless, including wins in eight of their last nine such games…on the season, the Rays .988 fielding pct. ranks third in the AL/fifth in the majors. Tampa Bay’s 32 defensive runs saved are seventh most in the majors while its 10 outs above average rank eighth, according to FanGraphs.

CITRUS SERIES SHOWDOWN — Tampa Bay and Miami kick off a two-game set tonight at LoanDepot Park…the clubs split a two-game series at Tropicana Field from 7/25-26… the Rays have taken 20 of their last 23 games from the Marlins dating back to 7/22/18, including a 9-1 mark at Miami since the beginning of the 2019 campaign. SS Joey Wendle played for Tampa Bay from 2018-2021 and hit .274 with 86 doubles, 14 triples, 25 homers and 151 RBI in 400 games. OF Avisaíl García hit .282 with 20 HR in 125 games for the Rays in 2019…his 72 RBI were second on the club behind Austin Meadows (89RBI). RHP J.T. Chargois made 46 appearances (3GS) for the Rays from 7/30/21-10/5/22, going 7-1 with a 2.15 ERA (46.0IP, 11ER). OF Jesús Sánchez was named Tampa Bay’s 2017 Minor League Player of the Year after leading Rays farmhands in homers (15), RBI (82), hits (145) and runs (81).

TONIGHT’S START — The right-hander makes his fifth start with the Rays after being acquired from Cleveland at the trade deadline on 7/31…marks his 18th start of the season, including his 10th on the road…has posted a 3.54 ERA (20.1IP, 8ER) in his first four starts with Tampa Bay…ranks third in the majors with a 2.18 ERA (52.2IP, 11ER) since the beginning of July, trailing SD Blake Snell (1.74) and HOU Justin Verlander (2.17)…tonight marks his first career appearance opposite Miami.

LAST TIME OUT — Did not factor into the decision of the Rays 6-5 win over the Rockies on 8/23 at Tropicana Field (5.0IP, 4H, 3ER, 9SO, HR)… allowed an Elias Díaz homer in the fifth inning before departing in the sixth with a pair of baserunners — both would come around to score… matched a season high with nine strikeouts (also 7/7 vs. KC)…marked his third career outing with 9+ strikeouts and zero walks (also: 7/7/23 vs. KC; 8/2/20 at MIN)…he collected a season-high 16 swings-and-misses in the outing, his most since 10/5/22 vs. Kansas City (17)…recorded five whiffs on his four-seam fastball, tying a career high (4x, last: 7/2/23 at CHC).

CITRUS SERIES CIV — Civale will be making his first career appearance against Miami…has gone 1-1 with a 3.38 ERA (32.0IP, 12ER) in six Interleague starts this season, holding opponents to a .238 (28-for-120) average…over his last four such starts, he has posted a 2.42 ERA (22.1IP, 6ER) and 0.90 WHIP while limiting opposing hitters to a .207/.261/.268 (17-for-82) clip and yielding only one home run (0.40 HR/9.0IP). The right-hander is 3-6 with a 4.11 ERA (92.0IP, 42ER) over 17 career starts against NL opponents…he has made one previous appearance against the NL East, taking the loss while working into the sixth inning on 8/22/19 at New York-NL (5.2IP, 4H, 2ER, 3SO). Civale has held NL batting leader Luis Arraez to a .150 (3-for-20) average in his career, marking Arraez’s third-lowest batting average against any opposing pitcher (min. 10AB), ahead of only CLE Triston McKenzie (.143, 3-for-21) and DET Tarik Skubal (.083, 1-for-12).

ROAD DOG — Civale’s 1.86 ERA on the road is the lowest mark in the majors (min. 40.0IP), ahead of HOU J.P. France (1.92)…he has allowed three or fewer runs in 15 of his last 16 road starts, including 11 consecutive starts dating back to 9/20/22 (9GS in 2023), the longest streak of his career and tied with SD Blake Snell for the longest active streak in the majors…during the streak, Civale has turned in a 2.16 ERA (58.1IP, 14ER) and a .154 (6-for39) opponent batting average with runners in scoring position.

SOFT SERVE — Civale has limited opponents to an average exit velocity of 83.9 mph over his last three starts since 8/11, the third-lowest mark in the majors in that span (min. 30 batted balls) behind CHC Kyle Hendricks (83.3) and BAL Cole Irvin (83.7)…he entered that stretch with an average opponent exit velocity of 89.4 mph through his first 15 starts of the season… opposing hitters are batting .258 (16-for-62) against him during his current run despite posting an expected batting average of .218 (Baseball Savant)… eight of the 16 hits against him in that span (since 8/11) have registered an exit velocity below 80 mph, the most such hits against any pitcher in the majors during that timeframe, ahead of MIL Wade Miley (7).

READY TO RUMBLE — Civale’s 0.53 ERA (34.0IP, 2ER) in the first two innings is the lowest mark in the majors (min. 15GS), outpacing CHC Justin Steele (1.50)…opponents are slashing .167/.254/.225 (20-for-120) against him in innings 1-2 compared to .258/.295/.385 (63-for-244) from the third inning on. Twenty of the 28 runs he’s allowed have come in innings 3-5…he has posted a 3.67 ERA (49.0IP, 20ER) and .278 (53-for-194) opponent average in those frames compared to a 1.49 ERA (48.1IP, 8ER) and .171 average (29-for-170) in all other innings. Opposing hitters are slashing .175/.257/.234 (24-for-137) against Civale the first time through the lineup vs. .290/.320/.407 (42-for145) the second time through.

IS THE MAGIC NUMBER — For his career, Civale is 28-1 with a 2.95 ERA (271.1IP, 87ER) in games when he receives three or more runs of support… he has a 2-23 record with a 4.98 ERA (179.0IP, 99ER) in games receiving two or fewer runs of support…Civale has received 5.31 runs of support per 9.0 IP in his first four starts with the Rays compared to 4.56 over 13 starts with Cleveland to begin the season.

SUMMER HEAT WAVE — Civale was one of the AL’s top pitchers in July, going 3-0 with a 1.45 ERA (27.IP, 6ER) in six starts…he ranked among MLB leaders during the month (min. 30.0IP) in ERA (2nd), opp. OPS (2nd, .458), opp. batting average (3rd, .176) and WHIP (3rd, 0.80)…it marked his lowest ERA in any month of his career (min. 2GS), ahead of August 2019 (2.35)… allowed two or fewer runs in each start and yielded only one home run.


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