ST. PETERSBURG [url=http://www.kansascitychiefsteamonline.com/justin-houston-jersey]Authentic Justin Houston Jersey[/url] , Fla. — The Tampa Bay Rays might be the surprise hottest team in baseball, and if anything can slow them down, it might be Washington Nationals starter Max Scherzer, who takes the mound against them Tuesday.
The Rays have been dominant of late, with seven wins holding opponents to one or zero runs in the last 13 games, and four wins in a row after a 11-0 drubbing of the Nationals on Monday. Tampa Bay didn’t hold an opponent under two runs once in its first 19 games and just once in its first 38, but their patchwork pitching has been a major impetus to their recent surge.
Then there’s Scherzer, who is 10-3 with a 2.09 ERA, this despite a near-mortal stretch where he has no wins in his last three outings, having allowed all of six earned runs in 20 innings during that stretch. The Rays remember him well from June 5, when he struck out 13 batters — matching his second-highest total of 2018 — while allowing two earned runs in eight innings. He’s had 16 starts this season, and he’s only allowed more than two runs once, and only four in that blemish.
For his career against the Rays, he’s 5-2 with a 2.82 ERA, and even that is notable in that he went 0-2 as a rookie in 2010 and hasn’t lost since. For the season, just slightly less than half his outs have come by strikeout, with 161 strikeouts in 107 2/3 innings.
The Rays will counter with Nathan Eovaldi (1-3, 4.91 ERA), who has made five starts since returning from Tommy John surgery, with one dominant debut and then four starts since where he’s averaged four earned runs in less than six innings. More of a concern is the home runs he’s allowed — eight in 29 1/3 innings [url=http://www.dallascowboysteamonline.com/customized]Customized Dallas Cowboys Jerseys[/url] , including four in his last start, a 5-1 loss to Houston.
He’s faced the Nationals once this year, giving up four runs on four hits in five innings in the game against Scherzer on June 5. Eovaldi got his start in the National League, so he’s had 10 starts against Washington, going 2-5 with a 5.30 ERA.
An 11-run outburst like Monday’s win shows the Rays might be finding their bats as well, with Kevin Kiermaier, struggling at the plate since returning from the disabled list, getting a key grand slam as part of a six-run second inning.
“Baseball is hard. It’s really hard,” Kiermaier said of his slow start. “Adjusting back to big-league pitching is not an easy thing. Trying to get acclimated up there at the plate again. I felt really good and it was a good momentum swing for our team to put us up early.”
The Nationals will at least be better rested on Tuesday — after a long rain delay that pushed back their Sunday night game against Philadelphia, they didn’t get to their hotel in St. Petersburg until 4:40 a.m. on game day.
“We’re a little tired, but we had all day to rest,” Nationals manager Davey Martinez said.
Adalberto Mondesi is back with the Kansas City Royals as part of a roster shuffle.
The Royals made six moves Sunday before playing Houston.
Mondesi, the first player to make his major league debut in a World Series game, was recalled from Triple-A Omaha.
The Royals also called up outfielder Rosell Herrera and purchased the contract of right-hander Wily Peralta from Omaha. They optioned right-hander Scott Barlow and infielder Ramon Torres to their Pacific Coast League affiliate. They transferred left-handed pitcher Eric Skoglund to the 60-day disabled list.
Mondesi struck out as a pinch-hitter in the 2015 World Series against the New York Mets. He was once the Royals’ top prospect, but has been derailed by injuries and a 50-game drug suspension in 2016.
The 22-year-old opened the 2017 season as Kansas City’s starting second baseman, but was sent back to the minors after hitting .109 in his first 14 games. Mondesi, the son of former major league outfielder Raul Mondesi, has a .181 batting average with 60 strikeouts in 188 at-bats in 72 games in the majors.
”He’s never had success up here,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. ”He’s a young guy. You just try to pace him a little bit, play a couple of games here [url=http://www.denverbroncosteamonline.com/customized]Customized Denver Broncos Jerseys[/url] , a couple of games there and get his feet on the ground, let him start to have some success, which we all know he’s going to have, just let him ease into that.”
Yost said he plans to play Mondesi about four days a week.
”Every year he’s been hurt, so that’s the concern,” Yost said. ”We want to try to get him through the year healthy. We wanted to get Mondesi back playing and get him up here, again to get some of our younger kids up that we’re going to move forward with up here and gaining that experience.”
Mondesi hit .250 with 16 extra-base hits, 21 RBIs and 10 stolen bases in 29 games at Triple-A.
The Royals claimed Herrera off waivers from Cincinnati on June 2. He hit .278 in 10 games with Omaha. He went 2 for 11 in 13 games earlier this season with the Reds.
”Herrera is very athletic,” Yost said. ”As an organization we haven’t seen him that much. He can play multiple positions. He can play all three positions in the outfield, can play some third base. It will be interesting to get a look at him.”
Peralta, a 17-game winner in 2014 with Milwaukee, signed with the Royals on December 5 as a free agent, but in spring training allowed 14 runs on 16 hits, including four home runs, and eight walks over eight innings. He began the year in the minors and posted a 4.37 ERA in 18 outings with Omaha, but had a 1.96 ERA on his last nine outings.
”Our whole goal with (Brandon) Maurer and Peralta was to get them throwing good and get them back here. That has been the case,” Yost said.
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