Rays at Royals
The Tampa Bay Rays look to finish off a three-game sweep when they visit the Kansas City Royals for the finale on Wednesday afternoon after a pair of clutch one-run victories. C.J. Cron belted a two-run homer in the first inning to extend his hitting streak to eight games and his on-base run to a career-best 21 contests for the Rays, while Joey Wendle drove in the go-ahead run in the ninth for a 6-5 triumph Tuesday.
Tampa Bay could be without two key performers when it goes for a fourth win in five outings Wednesday as Matt Duffy (hamstring), who is 11-for-23 during a six-game hitting streak, and Carlos Gomez (groin) both left Tuesday’s contest and will be evaluated before the finale. Jake Faria gets the start on the mound for the Rays on Wednesday against struggling Jason Hammel, who is still looking to add to his 92 career wins in 2018. The Royals have dropped four straight after posting 11 hits and rallying to tie the game on a two-run single in the seventh inning by Whit Merrifield, who has hit safely in nine consecutive games (16-for-35). Kansas City outfielder Jorge Soler (ribs) and infielder Cheslor Cuthbert (back spasms) both missed Tuesday’s setback, but could return for the last game of the series.
TV: 2:15 p.m. ET, FS Sun (Tampa Bay), FS Kansas City
PITCHING MATCHUP: Rays RH Jake Faria (3-2, 5.09 ERA) vs. Royals RH Jason Hammel (0-4, 6.13)
Faria’s five-game unbeaten streak came to an end Friday when he allowed seven runs on eight hits (two homers) across six innings in a loss at Baltimore. The 24-year-old Californian permitted one run or fewer in five of his first seven starts before getting pounded by the Orioles to put a halt to a 3-0 run over four outings. Faria, who faces Kansas City for the first time, has been more successful at home (5-2, 2.64 ERA) than on the road (3-4, 5.18) in his career.
Hammel makes his ninth start and is still searching for his first win after yielding 20 runs on 24 hits (five homers) over 15 innings in his last three appearances. The 35-year-old South Carolina native, who started his career with the Rays, had four quality starts in his first seven games of the season but took the loss in two of them. Wilson Ramos is 4-for-12 with a pair of homers versus Hammel, who is 2-3 with a 4.89 ERA in seven career games against Tampa Bay.
1. Kansas City OF Jon Jay is 13-for-37 during an eight-game hitting streak, raising his average from .268 to .288.
2. Tampa Bay SS Adeiny Hechavarria has gone 85 games without an error and is 4-for-12 with the bat over the last three contests.
3. The Royals are last in the majors with a 5.48 ERA, including 5.64 from the bullpen - the second-highest mark in the majors.