Game 53 Lineups and Outlook
The outlook, well, it’s bleak, but maybe that’s just from the rain here. Not that we can’t use it, but when it rains it pours. The Rays can relate. Seemingly nothing is going right, and the frustration may have finally boiled over for some. Brian Anderson said what we all were thinking, and it’s worth your time.
The game dictates, however, that we must trudge ever onward. This powderkeg feels like it just needs a spark for things to start clicking. One in the gap, if you will. Tonight’s feast takes the team up to the great, white north to face the Minnesota Twins. The team gets the chance to finally play a team with a worse record, though that might not mean a whole lot.
Initially, Kyle Gibson was slated to get the call tonight, but the team has opted to skip this start against the Rays in order to keep him down on a rehab stint. I never knew the Rays offense to intimidate a team, but throwing Phil Hughes in there against the homer-happy Rays isn’t exactly like sending for the Mountain:
The Rays look like a slight favorite tonight, and Vegas mostly agrees. Hughes has demonstrated a pronounced reverse split in his career to the point that you can believe it is real. Hence, the Rays lefties don’t exactly have great matchups tonight. This does mean that the righties should enjoy more favorable matchups than you would expect. While the top of the order obviously needs to produce this could be an opportunity for Mahtook and Motter to gain a little confidence against a same-hander. They’re going to need to play, especially if Pearce needs a couple days off so it would be nice to see them be able to contribute.
Minnesota is taking a page out of the Rays playbook from last series by carrying an extra reliever at the expense of a bench bat. If you think the Rays pen is shaky you should get a load of these guys. Abad is the primary LOOGY and Jepsen has been serving as the closer. Tonkin and Kintzler can be a tough matchup, but the rest aren’t fit for high leverage. Running it up in the first game could spell doom for the Twins pen over the course of the series. Of course, the same could be said for the Rays who have some decent matchup options in front of Colome.
If it feels like you are looking into a mirror you should know you are not alone. The Twins have dramatically under-performed the contender status many shared for this team after a breakout 2015. Perhaps their best hitter, Miguel Sano, was recently placed on the disabled list with a hamstring injury, which is fortunate for the Rays, but just as devastating as losing a Forsythe for the fans of the Twins. These two teams have a lot more in common than many of the foes faced, but this is no time for pity or sympathy. Those guys don’t want to lose anymore than the Rays so better get out there and get it done.