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 Dexter Williams Jersey , 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, 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 Max Scharping Jersey ,” 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.
Athletics pitcher Sean Manaea took an important step forward in battling the mental hurdles that have hindered him for the past six weeks.
His Oakland teammates took an equally big leap at the plate when they batted around during a four-run sixth inning.
Manaea pitched four-hit ball and allowed three runs over six innings, Stephen Piscotty hit a tiebreaking, two-run single with two outs in the sixth inning and the A’s broke out of their funk to beat the Los Angeles Angels 6-4 on Saturday.
”I wouldn’t say I’m back,” said Manaea, who has had an uneven season since throwing the first no-hitter in the majors this season on April 21. ”I’m going to think and it’s just going to be a natural part of it but I would say I’m a little more calm in gathering my thoughts and not just thinking about the very, very little things that I can’t be worried about during games.”
Manaea was perfect through the first four innings but was on the verge of coming unraveled after giving up three consecutive hits including Chris Young’s three-run home run in the fifth.
After walking Jabari Blash after Young’s home run, Manaea settled down to retire the next two batters then set down three of the four he faced in the sixth to end his day.
”Definitely collected myself and slowed the game down,” Manaea said. ”Kind of was just going through the motions a little bit. I was just throwing it and not executing. After the home run I just stepped off and really had to focus and slow the game down.”
Chad Pinder homered and tripled, Marcus Semien also went deep and Jonathan Lucroy drew a bases-loaded walk to help Oakland end its season-high four-game losing streak.
Manaea (6-6) struck out four and walked one to win for the second time in nine starts.
”All it takes for a guy of his caliber and talent level is to get a good outing or two under his belt and then he’s back to pitching confidently,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. ”When he’s confident he usually pitches game like that.”
The A’s had lost six straight and 12 of 13 to AL West teams before rallying to beat the Angels for only the third time this season.
Semien homered leading off the sixth to chase Los Angeles starter John Lamb. Reliever Noe Ramirez (2-3) hit Pinder with a pitch, retired Jed Lowrie on a fly out, then walked Khris Davis before hitting Matt Olson to load the bases.
Ramirez struck out pinch-hitter Dustin Fowler but Lucroy walked to force in the tying. Piscotty then lined a 1-1 pitch to center, scoring Davis and Olson.
”We needed it,” Piscotty said. ”We haven’t lost any confidence, any faith, we’ve just got to keep going. We’ve got a good team.”
Yusmeiro Petit and Lou Trivino retired three players apiece. A’s closer Blake Treinen gave up a two-out RBI single to pinch-hitter Jose Fernandez in the ninth but got Luis Valbuena to ground out for his 15th save.
Lamb pitched into the sixth inning and allowed a pair of solo home runs in his first start since July 16, 2016. He struck out five and walked one. The 27-year-old left-hander missed 50 games last season after testing positive for drugs while in the minors.
”I thought he had all his pitches working,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. ”He may have gotten a little tired coming out for the sixth. Got us to a nice point in the game. Unfortunately, we couldn’t hold it.”
GEM OF A DEBUT
Angels right-hander Jake Jewell made his major league debut with a scoreless eighth inning. He hit Piscotty with a pitch but got Franklin Barreto to strike out looking for the third out.
JUST GET THERE
The A’s are 31-0 when leading after the eighth.
Angels: Upton was a late scratch due to lower back stiffness.
Athletics: Third baseman Matt Chapman was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a bruised right hand and will meet with hand specialist Dr. Steven Shin on Monday in Los Angeles. Chapman took infield practice before the game but did not throw. … LHP Brett Anderson threw 30 pitches in the bullpen.
Lefty Andrew Heaney (3-5, 3.68 ERA) starts for the Angels in the series finale Sunday at the Coliseum. Right-hander Daniel Mengden (6-6, 3.90) starts for the A’s.
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