The Tampa Bay Rays will be glad to see Jeimer Candelario leave town for the rest of the season.
The Detroit third baseman has four home runs off Rays pitchers over the past two weekends, including a three-run blast in the Tigers’ 4-3 win on Saturday. The teams will conclude a four-game series in St. Petersburg Fla., on Sunday.
Candelario had only 12 home runs this season before he ripped a pair in an 11-inning Tigers victory over the Rays last Sunday. He also hit a solo shot off them on Thursday and now has 16 for the season, along with 65 RBIs.
“Candy is never going to be a guy who’s going to chase homers,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. “He wants to put up a good at-bat, put up a good swing. … Hit it hard and the ball goes far. That type of philosophy is important for Candy because of the style of hitter he is — quality at-bat, quality contact (rather than) some sort of bravado approach where you’re trying to leave the yard on every swing.”
The victory on Saturday was costly for the Tigers (71-78), as center fielder Derek Hill suffered a knee injury in a collision with Tampa Bay first baseman Ji-man Choi. Hill, who left in a wheelchair, likely will require an injured-list stint, and his season could be over.
“He got banged up pretty good at first base,” Hinch said. “They were concerned about his left knee. I think he hyperextended it. He was uncomfortable, so they were not even going to waste any time trying to walk him off the field.”
Shane McClanahan is expected to be activated from the 10-day injured list and start for the Rays (92-57) on Sunday. His back stiffened before his last start on Sept. 8 at Boston, but he was still able to toss five scoreless innings.
The 24-year-old rookie left-hander has struck out 128 in 110 1/3 innings. McClanahan (9-5, 3.59 ERA) is 6-2 with a 3.81 ERA in 11 home starts.
He’ll be opposed by Wily Peralta (3-3, 3.32), who is coming off one of his best outings this season. Peralta held Milwaukee scoreless in six innings on Tuesday, allowing just two hits while recording five strikeouts.
Peralta has given up two or fewer earned runs in his six of his past seven outings. He’s made three relief appearances against the Rays during his career, giving up four runs in three total innings.
The Rays placed outfielder Kevin Kiermaier on the COVID IL on Saturday, though they termed his condition “general illness symptoms.”
“He’s been dealing with it for a couple days,” manager Kevin Cash said. “He said he thought he turned for the better the day before, and then (Friday) just was kind of out of sorts. Pretty drained, tired, has had some symptoms. So we sent him home when we took him out of the game (Friday). And then (Saturday) we’ve kept him away from the ballpark.”
Designated hitter Nelson Cruz has missed the past two games with a bruised right forearm after being hit by a pitch on Thursday. He could return to the lineup on Sunday.
The Rays had six baserunners during the final three innings on Saturday but couldn’t score the tying run.
“We did put some pressure on there at the end,” Cash said. “Got to credit Detroit’s pitching. Every one they lined up really did a nice job against us.”
The Rays won the first two games of the series. Their magic number to clinch the American League East title is six.
–Field Level Media