During their red-hot streak in May, the Tampa Bay Rays have been receiving offensive production up and down their lineup.
Austin Meadows is the most recent player to lead the way.
Meadows has knocked in seven runs in the last two games, and the Rays will look for their 15th win in the last 16games when they host the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday.
Meadows homered, singled and drove in three runs in Saturday’s 5-3 win. He has 11 home runs and 36 RBIs this season.
“He’s getting his pitch, and he’s driving it,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said.
The Rays scored twice in the eighth inning on Saturday, the first run on an infield hit and the second on a bases-loaded walk. During this recent run of victories, the team has continued to hit, especially in clutch situations.
“I think that hitting becomes contagious,” Cash said. “And you know you’re taking advantage and making the most of opportunities that are presented.”
The Rays are expected to use Collin McHugh (0-1, 4.02 ERA) as an opener for Sunday’s game. He has pitched two innings on two occasions in that role this season, both this month.
McHugh has faced the Phillies twice, once in a traditional starting role, and has no wins or losses. He has a 1.80 ERA in 10 innings.
Tampa Bay’s bullpen will be ready to provide a lift. The relief corps has been quite steady, including its newest member, J.P. Feyereisen. The right-hander earned his second save of the season, both with the Rays, with a scoreless ninth inning on Saturday.
Feyereisen was recently acquired in a four-player trade with Milwaukee, a swap that sent shortstop Willy Adames to the Brewers.
“It’s been great,” Feyereisen said of joining the Rays. “Everyone here is great. It’s easy to adjust to. It’s also my third time moving teams, so it gets easier every single time. It’s a great clubhouse here, and it’s been really fun so far.”
The Phillies will send Zach Eflin to the mound to try to salvage a split of this two-game series.
Eflin (2-4, 3.84) has lasted at least six innings in all 10 starts this season. Eflin has made one career appearance against the Rays, going 2 2/3 scoreless innings in relief last season.
“We need to take care of business,” Eflin said. “We need to get back on the winning train and get some motivation in the locker room and just take it with that.”
“What I’m saying is, feeling the energy in the win and taking that motivation into the next game,” Eflin said. “Getting on a streak, winning three, four in a row. Taking care of series wins. That only feeds motivation. Once that stuff starts clicking and we start winning ballgames, we start blowing some guys out, the motivation is going to set in and it’s going to be a really fun time.”
The Phillies received a boost Saturday with the return of catcher J.T. Realmuto off the injured list. But they will continue to play without Bryce Harper (wrist) and Didi Gregorius (elbow, COVID list). And Roman Quinn could very well join them on the injured list with a left Achilles injury.
Quinn had to be helped off the field Saturday after scoring on a double by Ronald Torreyes, and manager Joe Girardi said the Phillies would have an update on Sunday.
The manager added, however that he is not expecting Quinn back anytime soon.
“It doesn’t look good. I don’t expect to get any good news from the MRI. We’re pretty sure it’s not good,” he said.
The inconsistent Phillies have dropped to 10-17 on the road, and they’ve been plagued by strikeouts and defensive miscues. The Phillies struck out 15 times Saturday, although they had a rare game with no errors.
“It’s just playing baseball the right way,” Girardi said. “It comes down to situational hitting, situational pitching and defense.”
–Field Level Media