ST. PETERSBURG — The final time the Rays saw the Dodgers, Los Angeles was celebrating its victory in the 2020 Planet Series in Arlington, Texas, the neutral website amid serious pandemic restrictions.
Friday, they will meet once more, with the Rays in possession of the very best record (37-15) in the American League and the Dodgers the second-very best (31-20, percentage points behind Atlanta) in the National League. It will be L.A.’s 1st check out to Tropicana Field due to the fact 2019 and just its fifth general.
How massive a deal it is depends on whom you ask.
To Rays infielder Taylor Walls, it is practically nothing unique.
“I do not know, they’re just an additional group, I guess,” he mentioned. “I honestly forgot we played them (this weekend) till you just described it. We just show up every single day, appear at the job at hand, appear at the scouting report and attempt to place collectively a strategy to be productive that day. And that is fairly a lot it.
“We do not definitely place as well a lot believed into precisely who we’re playing or the hype about it or what the possibilities may well be in the future.”
Rays manager Kevin Money requires the ball from beginning pitcher Blake Snell (four) in the sixth inning of Game six of the 2020 Planet Series against the Dodgers. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
To outfielder Randy Arozarena, who had a breakout overall performance throughout the 2020 postseason, it is a reminder of a missed chance.
“I had a fairly very good Series,” he mentioned by means of group interpreter Manny Navarro, “but I wanted the Planet Series ring. I wanted to win it.”
Plus, Arozarena pointed out, “it’s a incredibly various group.”
“2020 was 2020 and it is in the previous, but this is year 2023,” he mentioned. “We’re attempting to get to the playoffs and we consider we can do it, and (want to) play a very good series against them.”
To Rays manager Kevin Money — regardless of the six-game loss and scrutiny of his choice to take out starter Blake Snell in Game six — it is a possibility to appear back and smile at the highlights, which includes the wild Game four win sparked by Brett Phillips.
“Great memories,” Money mentioned. “A lot of exciting. Clearly, we came up quick, but definitely appreciated that, seeking back how exceptional that 2020 postseason was, acquiring to the Planet Series. Proud of that, to be a aspect of that group. And I’m certain it will be talked about more than this weekend with (the Dodgers) coming in.”
Bullpen shuffle, continued
Rays relief pitcher Calvin Faucher (58) pitches in the major of the eighth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays Thursday at Tropicana Field. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]
The Rays continued their bullpen shuffle, recalling Calvin Faucher from Triple-A and activating left-hander Jake Diekman from the paternity list.
To make area, reliever Ben Heller and infielder Vidal Brujan, who had been referred to as up Wednesday, had been optioned back to Durham.
Faucher created the opening-day roster but was sent down April 30 (immediately after compiling a six.43 ERA in eight games, enabling 16 hits and six walks in 14 innings) to get function in bullpen sessions refining what Money referred to as “stupid good” stuff. Faucher pitched in only 3 games for the Bulls, enabling 3 hits and 3 walks more than four-two/three innings. Thursday, he worked a a single-stroll eighth.
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“It’s nonetheless a function in progress,” Money mentioned ahead of the game. “He can definitely support us. We’ve just got to discover a way to get him in the zone a tiny bit a lot more regularly. But his stuff fits definitely effectively with the back finish of our bullpen …. his two breaking balls that he throws, and the fastball.”
Brujan was brought up as a hedge provided uncertainty more than the availability of corner infielder Yandy Diaz due to a household matter. Diaz was back with the group Thursday and “totally available” if necessary, Money mentioned.
Diekman returned immediately after going dwelling to Nebraska for the birth of a daughter on Monday. He had a rough outing Thursday, coming in for the ninth with a six-1 lead and enabling two a single-out singles and a stroll to build a save circumstance that Colin Poche, immediately after a bases-loaded stroll and a sacrifice fly, converted.
Rays beginning pitcher Zach Eflin pitches in the 1st inning Thursday at Tropicana Field. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]
Lefty Jalen Beeks will be the opener Friday, with suitable-hander Cooper Criswell anticipated to function bulk innings. … The Rays are the 1st group with two seven-steal games in the identical season due to the fact the 1995 Astros. … As the Rays attempt to increase and stabilize their bullpen, they’ve benefited from 4 seven-inning begins (two each and every by Shane McClanahan and Zach Eflin) more than their final seven games. … Eflin is six- with a two.19 ERA in six begins at the Trop. … Attendance was ten,736 Thursday, for a 4-game total of 40,198.
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