This is our first time seeing the Rays this year that I can remember. This whole season has been kind of a blur and I’m 86.3% sure it’s just a dream.
While we were gawking at Max Kepler’s home run burst in Cleveland, Joe Mauer flew under the radar. He went 12-18 with a homer and five doubles. Simplifying that fraction gives you a 2/3 (.667) batting average. That series saw his average go from .261 to a cool .280 which looks much better, both in that it’s higher and also aesthetically (it matters).
Oh, right, preview of the series. Let’s see, it’s been forever since I’ve done this... The 2016 Rays (44-63) are still lead by Evan Longoria and his insane 15 year contract. Longo is having a bounce back year of sorts. After hitting for just a .764 OPS last year, he has that up to .854 so far this season, and has already nearly eclipsed his WAR from last year. (2.9 in 2016, 3.2 in 2015)
Kevin Kiermaier is second on the team in WAR at 2.4, mostly due to his good defense, and a pretty good OBP. His batting average and slugging aren’t as good though.
They may have had a shot at competing, but a 3-24 stretch from June 16 to July 16 took them out of contention. They have pulled up a bit, and are 10-7 in their last 17.
TONIGHT, 6:10 PM CDT
Ervin “Still Standing” Santana (4-9, 3.66) vs Blake Snell (3-4, 3.08)
Saturday, 5:10 PM CDT
Jose “Ignore that ERA” Berrios (2-1, 8.97) vs Chris Archer (5-15, 4.38)
Sunday, 12:10 PM CDT
Kyle Gibson (3-6, 4.94) vs Matt Andriese (6-2, 2.72)