Game 41 Lineups and Outlook
You can’t win them all, but it sure would have been nice if the Rays hadn’t also lost, arguably, their best player. Kevin Kiermaier’s broken hand should keep him out of action for the next month, month-and-a-half, but who knows how he will hit once he is back. We have always said that the bat is bonus, but so far it has been a real weapon with a 110 wRC+ and something like the sixth best bat on the team.
Winning the series in today’s rubber match might be small solace, but this is a poor time to mourn our fallen when we can go out there and win for him. This is potentially a huge loss for the team, talking like 1-2 wins depending on how long he is out, but this is also an opportunity for someone like Desmond Jennings or Mikie Mahtook to see something resembling everyday play. If these two flop then you might even see something like Johnny Field come up for the glove and just eat it at the plate.
Today looks like a pretty even matchup with the homefield advantage for the Tigers coming into play. While this game is essentially a coinflip the Rays don’t look like a good value play today. Like living with a bone that didn’t properly set, Chris Archer is beginning to figure out how to pitch without be able to throw up or arm-side for a good strike. It’s a highwire act that has seen more oohs than gasps from the crowd or late, but it’s hard to not think that at any time he’s ready to test the net. His opponent, Jordan Zimmermann, has been very good this year, which would make six in a row if not for last year’s poorer results. Righties really struggle with him so it would have been nice to see Corey Dickerson in the lineup, but with his inability to make contact of late it makes sense to sit him.
The Rays are playing a man short on the bench, as of this time, and the guys over there don’t inspire visions of comebacks. The hope should be that the Rays can build up the pitch count in this one and try to get Zimmermann out before or during the sixth. Do that and I think the team can win this one.