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Rays aim for seventh straight win vs. Marlins

Aug 25, 2022; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Drew Rasmussen (57) throws a pitch against the Los Angeles Angels during the second inning at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Rays have defeated the Miami Marlins in six straight games.

Going back further, the Rays are 18-2 against the frustrated Marlins since the end of 2018.

On Wednesday night, the host Marlins will get another shot to snap Tampa Bay’s winning streak when they close a two-game series against the Rays. Tampa Bay won Tuesday’s opener, 7-2.

Tampa Bay, which leads the American League wild-card race, will start right-hander Drew Rasmussen (9-4, 2.77 ERA) on Wednesday.

Miami did not announce a starter Monday, but left-hander Trevor Rogers (4-10, 5.85) was expected to be recalled from an injury-rehab assignment.

Rogers, who finished second in 2021 National League Rookie of the Year voting after posting a stellar 2.64 ERA, has struggled this season. He landed on the injured list due to back issues, which were caused by attempting to change his mechanics.

Now, after four minor league rehab starts, Rogers appears set to return to the Marlins. His most recent appearance came on Thursday, when he tossed six no-hit innings for Triple-A Jacksonville, striking out 12 batters.

Even better, Rogers said his back feels the best it has in his entire pro career, putting him in a great place physically and mentally.

“It’s starting to become second nature, and I really don’t have to think about my mechanics anymore,” Rogers said. “In my last rehab start, I finally found what I’ve been searching for since last year. All my pitches were playing like they did last year.”

Rogers has faced the Rays once, a 5-4 Tampa Bay win in 2020. Rogers got a quality start and a no-decision, striking out 10 batters while allowing three runs in six innings.

Rasmussen, meanwhile, is 1-0 with a 3.38 ERA in three career appearances against the Marlins, including one start.

At age 27, the third-year major-leaguer is having a career season. His nine wins are more than double his previous high of four. He’s also started 22 games, 12 more than he started last season. On top of that, the Rays are 16-6 when he pitches this year.

Rasmussen has held his opponent scoreless in five of starts this year. But his best outing came on Aug. 14, when he took a perfect game into the ninth and allowed just one hit, no walks and one run in 8 1/3 innings against Baltimore. He struck out seven.

“I’ll take it,” Rasmussen said of his performance in a 4-1 victory over the Orioles. “It helps our team’s chance of winning. When our team has a chance to win a game, that’s first and foremost, the most important thing.”

The Rays will need more innings from Rasmussen after teammate Shane McClanahan — whose 2.20 ERA ranks second in the American League — was scratched from his scheduled start on Tuesday due to a shoulder impingement.

In addition, two Tampa Bay hitters were hurt in Tuesday’s game: third baseman Yandy Diaz injured his right thumb after diving into second base and first baseman Ji-Man Choi was hit on his left arm by a ninth-inning foul ball.

–Field Level Media