The Texas Rangers and Tampa Bay Rays will resume a three-game series when they meet again at Globe Life Park in Texas on Wednesday night.
The Rays are not giving pursuers in the race for American League wild-card spots much help with 11 victories in 12 games and can extend their winning streak to a season-high seven on Wednesday. Tampa Bay rallied to tie it in the eighth inning on red-hot Austin Meadows’ two-run homer and scored twice in the 11th for a 5-3 victory in Tuesday’s series opener. Meadows is 16-for-31 with five of his 29 homers and 11 RBIs during his nine-game hitting streak for Tampa Bay, which leads Oakland by 1.5 games for the top wild-card spot and improved to 44-27 on the road this season. Kevin Kiermaier (neck) and Tommy Pham (elbow/forearm) sat out Tuesday’s game and are day-to-day. Outfielder Avisail Garcia saw his five-game hitting streak come to an end Tuesday after leaving the contest due to tightness in his right hip.
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Reliever Andrew Kittredge (1-0, 4.17 ERA) is starting as the opener of a “bullpen day” on Wednesday. The right-hander will be the opener for the seventh time in 2019 and he has allowed seven runs–six earned–and 14 hits with 20 strikeouts over 11.2 innings in such a role. Kittredge will give way to either right-hander Austin Pruitt (2-0, 4.43 ERA) or lefty Jalen Beeks (6-3, 4.32 ERA), who are primed for a bulk of the pitching load.
Winning streak over
The Rangers saw their four-game winning streak come to an end with Tuesday’s setback after committing two errors in the 11th inning. Former Rays farmhand Nick Solak belted a two-run homer and is 6-for-13 with six RBIs in his last three games, while Willie Calhoun has hit safely in four straight contests (7-for-20, five RBIs).
“We did nothing at the end of the game to win the game, and that’s what’s frustrating to me,” manager Chris Woodward lamented. “Just little things that we obviously didn’t execute, at the plate, in the field.”
We don’t hate it. We just don’t like it at all and it’s terrible. pic.twitter.com/2anIg4ZmBK
— Texas Rangers (@Rangers) September 11, 2019
Ariel Jurado (7-10, 5.40 ERA) will oppose Kittredge and the rest of Tampa Bay’s bullpen on Wednesday. The right-hander has won just once in his last seven outings. He tossed 6.0 scoreless innings while allowing two hits and one walk to beat the Angels in his final outing of August but struggled in his first appearance this month. Jurado gave up five runs and seven hits (two homers) over 4.0 innings of relief against the Yankees last Tuesday. Mike Zunino is 2-for-5 with a double against Jurado, who will face Tampa Bay for the first time in his young career.
The Tampa Bay Rays are:
- 27-11 in their last 38 overall
- 21-7 in their last 28 games against right-handed starters
- 4-1 in their last five games against starters with WHIPs over 1.30
The Texas Rangers are:
- 8-20 in their last 28 games against teams with winning records
- 0-7 in their last seven home games against teams with winning records
- 0-5 in Jurado’s last five starts