Fri. Jun 9th, 2023

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 web page amid serious pandemic restrictions.

Friday, they will meet once again, with the Rays in possession of the finest record (37-15) in the American League and the Dodgers the second-finest (31-20, percentage points behind Atlanta) in the National League. It will be L.A.’s initially stop by to Tropicana Field given that 2019 and just its fifth all round.

How major a deal it is depends on whom you ask.

To Rays infielder Taylor Walls, it is absolutely nothing unique.

“I do not know, they’re just a further group, I guess,” he stated. “I honestly forgot we played them (this weekend) till you just pointed out it. We just show up just about every day, appear at the process at hand, appear at the scouting report and attempt to place with each other a strategy to be profitable that day. And that is fairly significantly it.

“We do not actually place as well significantly believed into specifically who we’re playing or the hype about it or what the possibilities may perhaps be in the future.”

Rays manager Kevin Cash takes the ball from starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) in the sixth inning of Game 6 of the 2020 World Series against the Dodgers.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 functionality throughout the 2020 postseason, it is a reminder of a missed chance.

“I had a fairly superior Series,” he stated by way of group interpreter Manny Navarro, “but I wanted the Planet Series ring. I wanted to win it.”

Plus, Arozarena pointed out, “it’s a really distinctive group.”

“2020 was 2020 and it is in the previous, but this is year 2023,” he stated. “We’re attempting to get to the playoffs and we feel we can do it, and (want to) play a superior series against them.”

To Rays manager Kevin Money — regardless of the six-game loss and scrutiny of his selection to take out starter Blake Snell in Game six — it is a possibility to appear back and smile at the highlights, such as the wild Game four win sparked by Brett Phillips.

“Great memories,” Money stated. “A lot of enjoyable. Naturally, we came up quick, but actually appreciated that, seeking back how one of a kind that 2020 postseason was, having to the Planet Series. Proud of that, to be a element 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 top of the eighth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays Thursday at Tropicana Field.Rays relief pitcher Calvin Faucher (58) pitches in the best 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 space, reliever Ben Heller and infielder Vidal Brujan, who had been named up Wednesday, had been optioned back to Durham.

Faucher created the opening-day roster but was sent down April 30 (right after compiling a six.43 ERA in eight games, permitting 16 hits and six walks in 14 innings) to get perform in bullpen sessions refining what Money named “stupid good” stuff. Faucher pitched in only 3 games for the Bulls, permitting 3 hits and 3 walks more than four-two/three innings. Thursday, he worked a one particular-stroll eighth.

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“It’s nevertheless a perform in progress,” Money stated ahead of the game. “He can actually enable us. We’ve just got to discover a way to get him in the zone a small bit much more regularly. But his stuff fits actually 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 offered uncertainty more than the availability of corner infielder Yandy Diaz due to a family members matter. Diaz was back with the group Thursday and “totally available” if required, Money stated.

Diekman returned right 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 permitting two one particular-out singles and a stroll to generate a save predicament that Colin Poche, right after a bases-loaded stroll and a sacrifice fly, converted.


Rays starting pitcher Zach Eflin pitches in the first inning Thursday at Tropicana Field.Rays beginning pitcher Zach Eflin pitches in the initially inning Thursday at Tropicana Field. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]

Lefty Jalen Beeks will be the opener Friday, with ideal-hander Cooper Criswell anticipated to perform bulk innings. … The Rays are the initially group with two seven-steal games in the similar season given that the 1995 Astros. … As the Rays attempt to enhance and stabilize their bullpen, they’ve benefited from 4 seven-inning begins (two every single 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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