Over the last two days, Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash has seen similar games as his Rays have been stung by two losses — one ending a series, another opening one.
Excellent pitching matched up with very little hitting.
The Rays and Oakland Athletics will play the second game of their four-game series Tuesday night in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Cash would like to see better output at the plate than the 11 total hits and single run in that two-day span.
“It’s frustrating when it happens any time, certainly when it’s back-to-back,” said Cash after the Rays’ 2-1 loss to the A’s on Monday night. “Our pitching again was outstanding and gave us every opportunity to win.”
The Rays lost 1-0 Sunday to the Blue Jays to close out their three-game series.
On Monday, Randy Arozarena batted in the leadoff spot and was stellar, going 3-for-4 with a run and a stolen base.
The 26-year-old Cuban outfielder — a breakout postseason star last season — moved to .301 with the trio of hits.
Making his fifth appearance overall and fourth start on Tuesday, Michael Wacha (1-1, 4.35) will be looking to regain the form two starts ago on April 16 in New York against the Yankees.
In that start — his best of the season and only victory — the right-hander twirled six innings of one-hit, shutout ball against the Bronx Bombers, striking out a season-high nine and issuing two walks. He will be facing Oakland for the first time.
On the injury front, first baseman Ji-Man Choi (knee) is close to getting into games and will likely play at Triple-A affiliate Durham, which opens on May 4.
Relievers Cody Reed (left thumb) and Collin McHugh (back strain) are eligible to return over the next two days and could pitch later this week.
Meanwhile, Oakland manager Bob Melvin — who was ejected in the seventh inning Monday — saw their team with another close game.
The A’s improved to 5-0 in one-run games in 2021, while the Rays — who excelled in that category a year ago — fell to 2-4.
Melvin was likelier in a better mood after the win than when he argued Elvis Andrus being called out at the plate in the seventh.
The skipper challenged the play — the call was upheld — and Melvin was ejected after furiously arguing the decision.
“If Bob gets upset, there’s a very good reason for that,” said Sean Murphy, whose two-run homer accounted for Oakland’s only runs. “He’s not going to go out and get dumped just for doing it.”
Frankie Montas (2-1, 6.75) will take the ball for his fifth start for the A’s as they try to win for the 15th time in their last 16 games.
The right-hander holds no record and a 1.00 in two appearances (one start) in his career against Tampa Bay and has yielded just one earned run in nine innings.
He has allowed five hits and no walks while striking out nine against the Rays.
Oakland’s staff will get help with the addition of right-hander Mike Fiers, who started the season on the injured list due to a hip issue.
To make room for the 35-year-old Fiers, the A’s optioned left-hander Adam Kolarek to the alternate site.
In his fourth season in Oakland, Fiers registered a 6-3 mark with a 4.58 ERA in 11 starts in 2020.
–Field Level Media
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