While the first half of Tampa Bay’s six-game homestand ended poorly, the Rays can find solace in the fact that their number of entries on the team’s injured list is diminishing.
After losing two consecutive games to the Chicago White Sox over the weekend, the Rays will open a three-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday night at St. Petersburg, Fla.
Despite blowing a late 2-0 lead in Saturday’s loss and failing to come all the way back from a 6-0 deficit Sunday, the Rays have hope in their return to better health.
They received promising news when they learned shutdown reliever J.P. Feyereisen (4-0, 0.00 ERA, save) had only a bone bruise in his shoulder, alleviating any fears that a structural ailment was nagging the right-hander, who had similar discomfort in 2021.
All-Star reliever Andrew Kittredge and infielder Taylor Walls returned to action Sunday from the IL.
“Definitely excited to get back out there, and with the injuries that we’ve got, it’s all hands on deck,” Kittredge said Sunday before tossing a perfect ninth inning against the White Sox in a 6-5 loss.
Hard thrower Shane Baz, 22, made an emphatic point in his final rehab start with Triple-A Durham — 10 strikeouts over 4 1/3 innings Sunday — with the prospect that he could pitch Friday against the Minnesota Twins.
After winning three of five road contests against the rival Chicago Cubs over the weekend, St. Louis has now been victorious in six of its past eight games dating back to last Monday’s 6-3 home win over San Diego. It was the first victory in a three-game sweep of the Padres.
Trailing first-place Milwaukee by just a half game in the National League Central entering Monday, the Cardinals will have to improve their play against the Rays to pass the Brewers.
Since the 2011 season, the Cardinals have lost seven of 10 games against the Rays.
After having his 25-game hitting streak end Saturday, NL batting leader Paul Goldschmidt (.343) has a hit in two straight and improved his on-base streak to a career-high 42 games.
“You get rewarded when you’re preparing the way he is — everything that goes into the video work and just his cage routine and just keeping his body fresh,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said.
St. Louis placed outfielder Corey Dickerson (left calf strain) on the 10-day IL, and starter Steven Matz (shoulder impingement) pitched another bullpen session Sunday.
In Tuesday’s series opener, the Cardinals will start Dakota Hudson (4-2, 2.96 ERA) for the 11th time in 2022 but for the first time ever against Tampa Bay. The right-hander was 1-1 with a 3.60 ERA in five starts in May.
In his seventh start and 15th appearance overall, Rays lefty Jeffrey Springs (2-2, 1.88) will look to continue his strong showing since joining the club’s rotation.
The 29-year-old Springs has not allowed a run in 10 1/3 innings of relief this season. In six starts, the first on April 28, he is 1-2 with a 2.57 ERA.
In one relief appearance against St. Louis on May 18, 2019, while pitching for the Texas Rangers, Springs allowed one run on two hits over three innings in an 8-2 loss.
–Field Level Media