The Texas Rangers host the Tampa Bay Rays Tuesday in the first game of a three-game series. Both teams are red hot. The Rays come in with a record of 86-59 while the Rangers are 72-73. Left-hander Ryan Yarbrough (11-3) gets the start for the Rays while the Rangers go with right-hander Lance Lynn (14-10). Game time is 8:05 p.m. Eastern at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas.
Rays locked in playoff battle
The Tampa Bay Rays are involved in a good old-fashioned pennant race. Well, it’s the 2019 version of the pennant race — it’s really a wildcard race, because they have no chance of catching the Yankees in the AL East. But they are among three teams vying for two wildcard spots in the AL. They have been on an absolute tear, winning 10 of their last 11 and 5 in a row. And yet, they are only one game ahead of the Oakland A’s and 2.5 games up on the Indians in the 3 team race. They haven’t been able to shake anyone with this winning streak, so there is no rest for the weary as they head to Texas for a three-game series.
The Rays offense has been clicking during this run. They average 4.7 runs per game, which is 19th in the league. They have a team batting average of .254, which is 13th in the league and they have a slugging percentage of .432, which is 15th. They are 20th in home runs. And they are battling some injuries. Two of their better hitters, Brandon Lowe and Yonny Diaz, are on the IL. Also, Eric Sogard and Kevin Kiermaier have missed the last few games and are questionable for this one. Sogard leads the Rays batting .299 with 13 home runs and 40 RBIs. Austin Meadows has been raking lately. He is batting .288 with 28 home runs and 78 RBIs. He leads the team in home runs and RBIs. Tommy Pham has 20 home runs and 61 RBIs and is batting .279.
The Rays pitching has been awesome this year, despite losing key starters for large stretches of the season. but they have a lot of their arms back, except Blake Snell and Yonny Chirinos, who are still out but due back this month. They have a team ERA of 3.60, which is second in the MLB. They have a WHIP of 1.17, which is third. Ryan Yarbrough has been one of those guys who has stepped up. The left-hander, who gets the start Tuesday, is 11-3 on the year with a 3.49 ERA. Yarbrough gave up 4 runs in 6 innings in his last outing.
Rangers have won 4 straight
Any chance the Texas Rangers had of making the playoffs are long gone, but they have still been playing hard and have proven to be a tough out. They come into this series with a 4 game winning streak that has brought them close to .500 at 72-73. Now, I’ll qualify the above statement by saying their 4 wins were over the lowly Orioles, but still, last weekend they took out the Yankees, so they are not a team to be overlooked. They are coming off a game where they pounded the Orioles for 20 hits on their way to a 10-4 win. That’s the kind of game that really helps pad those stats. Nick Solak led the way with 3 hits and 4 RBIs. Shin-S00 Choo, Ronald Guzman, and Jose Trevino also had 3 hits each. Rougned Odor and Guzman each had home runs. Mike Minor got the easy win, allowing 2 runs in 8 innings to improve to 13-8
The Rangers offense has been very good all year. They come into this series averaging 4.9 runs per game, which is 9th in baseball. They have a team batting average of .248, which is 20th in the majors, and a team slugging percentage of .431, which is 17th. They are 19th in home runs. Danny Santana leads the team with a .286 batting average, along with 24 home runs and 65 RBIs. Shin-Soo Choo has 21 home runs along with 53 RBIs and a .265 batting average. Rougned Odor leads the team with 24 home runs and 75 RBIs. Hunter Pence and Joey Gallo are on the IL. Nomar Mazara has missed the last few games and is questionable for Tuesday.
The Rangers pitching has struggled most of the year, especially the bullpen. They have a team ERA of 4.85, which is 22nd in the league. They have a WHIP of 1.44, which is 25th. Lance Lynn gets the start on Tuesday. Lynn has been excellent this year. He is 14-10 with an ERA of 3.812. Lynn lost to the Yankees last time out, but only allowed 3 runs in 5 innings.
- Rangers are 4-0 in their last 4 vs. American League East.
- Rangers are 4-0 in their last 4 overall.
- Rangers are 4-0 in their last 4 games on grass.
- Rangers are 5-1 in their last 6 when their opponent scores 5 runs or more in their previous game.
- Rangers are 7-3 in their last 10 home games vs. a left-handed starter.
- Rangers are 10-4 in Lynn’s last 14 home starts.
- Rangers are 7-3 in Lynn’s last 10 starts after scoring 5 runs or more in their previous game.
- Rays are 2-5 in their last 7 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
- Rays are 1-4 in their last 5 road games.
- Rays are 1-4 in their last 5 games on grass.
- Rays are 1-4 in Yarbrough’s last 5 starts when their opponent scores 5 runs or more in their previous gam