As one of the major leagues’ weakest clubs comes to St. Petersburg, Fla., for a four-game series starting Thursday, the Tampa Bay Rays seem to have righted their suddenly leaky ship somewhat
The Rays broke their season-worst, three-game losing streak with a 7-2 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday
The day was largely about Tampa Bay slugger Randy Arozarena, who is making a push to play in next month’s All-Star Game in Seattle. His second-inning homer opened the game’s scoring, and Isaac Paredes made it back-to-back shots.
The dynamic left fielder is batting .292 and tops the club with 14 homers and 50 RBIs. He also has nine stolen bases.
Arozarena, 28, did not get his 50th RBI until early August in 2022.
“I’ve sped up the times,” joked Arozarena, who was 3-for-3 with a homer, double and two RBIs in the slump-busting win. “I’ve started doing everything earlier. I think I pushed (Paredes) a little bit. When I hit a home run before him, he gets a little more motivated.”
Buoyed by a career-high, six-inning start from rookie Taj Bradley in the matinee, the Rays won for the 32nd time in 40 home games
Since 2017, Tampa Bay is 22-12 against the Royals, including a 10-game winning streak across the 2017 to ’19 campaigns
Rays manager Kevin Cash will start the series by rolling out ace Shane McClanahan, who will try to become the majors’ first 12-game winner
McClanahan (11-1, 2.12 ERA) is 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA in two career starts against Kansas City and has won all three of his June starts thus far.
The Royals have been jockeying with the Oakland Athletics, who had been on an historically awful run in baseball’s cellar, for the worst record in the majors
On June 1, the A’s held a .207 winning percentage and were six games behind the Royals
However, Oakland then produced a seven-game winning streak before losing their past seven games. Meanwhile, the Royals come to Florida owning a dreadful 3-15 June mark after losing 9-4 at Detroit on Wednesday. The Tigers took two of three in the series
In Kansas City’s Wednesday defeat, second baseman Samad Taylor and right fielder Matt Beaty collided in the eighth inning. Both players remained down on the field for a few minutes, but Taylor stayed in the game while Beaty was removed.
“It was pretty scary,” Royals manager Matt Quatraro said of the collision. “(Beaty) went down hard, Samad went down hard. … Fortunately, it’s not a serious injury (for Beaty) — non-concussive, whiplash-type injury. All things considered, he’s in a good spot.
In an opener role during what could be a bullpen game for Kansas City, right-hander Jose Cuas (3-0, 4.15 ERA) will make his first career start on Thursday after 79 relief outings.
Over two appearances against the Rays, both last year, he went 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA. In 1 1/3 innings, he yielded a run on two hits and a walk while striking out one
Cuas likely will be followed on the mound by either Austin Cox (0-0, 0.00 ERA) or Brooks Kriske (0-0, 9.00).
–Field Level Media