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  W: A. Busenitz (3-0)   L: M. Andriese (2-4)
11:10 AM PT12:10 PM MT1:10 PM CT2:10 PM ET14:10 ET18:10 GMT2:10 11:10 AM MST1:10 PM EST1:40 PM VEN22:10 UAE1:10 PM CT, July 15, 2018
Target Field, Minneapolis, Minnesota  Attendance: 25,561

Rays missing Ramos in series finale vs. Twins

According to STATS
According to STATS

Tampa Bay Rays at Minnesota Twins

  1. The Rays are on a five-game winning streak and have won 14 of their last 18 games dating back to June 22. The Rays pitching staff leads MLB with a 2.15 ERA during that span, nearly a full run lower than the Rockies (3.01), who rank second.
  2. The Twins have won six of their last seven games, recording series wins against the Orioles and Royals. During that span, they've outscored their opponents 36-22. Minnesota has yet to win three straight series this season.
  3. The Rays swept the Twins in a three-game series in April and are 7-2 against Minnesota since 2017. Joe Mauer went 1-for-10 against Tampa Bay in April, but owns the fourth-highest career batting average (.350) against the Rays (minimum 150 PA).
  4. C.J. Cron is slashing .464/.500/.893 in July which includes eight extra-base hits, eight RBIs and four multi-hit games. In contrast, he had a .130/.244/.299 slash line in June with five extra-base hits, six RBIs and one multi-hit game.
  5. Blake Snell has pitched 7.0 or more innings and hasn't allowed more than a single run in each of his last four starts, allowing two runs total in that span (0.63 ERA). The streak is tied with Jacob deGrom for the longest this season.
  6. Kyle Gibson allowed three earned runs in the first inning of his most recent start. Prior to that game he had only allowed a total of four earned runs in the first innings of his first 17 starts. He has a 6.81 ERA over seven career starts against Tampa Bay.
Notes Applicable For Series Dates: 7/12/2018 thru 7/15/2018

MINNEAPOLIS -- Wilson Ramos will not be in the Tampa Bay Rays' starting lineup Sunday when the wrap up the first half against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field.

Tampa Bay's catcher was removed from the Saturday's 19-6 win after experiencing tightness in his left hamstring while running out a groundout in the sixth inning.

He was supposed to be the American League's starting catcher in the All-Star Game Tuesday but will now sit that contest out because of the injury and is getting replaced as the starter by Kansas City's Salvador Perez.

"I was very excited to participate in that game," Ramos said. "Now, I'm very sad. I worked really hard to make that team. But I will be there with my family and get some time there."

Ramos is batting .297 with 14 home runs and 53 RBIs this season. He is hoping a few days of rest will allow him to avoid a trip to the disabled list and be back on the field next Friday when the Rays open the second half against the Miami Marlins.

"Hopefully it gets better soon," Ramos said. "I still have half a season left It's better to miss one game than two months. Just have to be smart, do my rehab well and come back strong."

Avoiding Ramos could good news for right-hander Fernando Romero who will return from Triple-A Rochester and get the start for the Twins.

Romero went 3-3 with a 4.38 ERA through his first 10 big league starts but was demoted June 23 after allowing four runs on four hits and a pair of walks over six innings in an 8-1 loss to the Texas Rangers.

The move wasn't as much about his performance as it was about the Twins' immediate need for fresh bullpen help at the time. The 23-year-old took the news in stride.

"It's just something that happens in baseball," Romero said. "At some point you're not waiting for it, but all you have to do is handle the situation and get back to work. I'll be back as soon as possible. As soon as they give me the chance again, I'll get it back."

He's pitched well since the demotion, allowing just three runs while striking out 15 with seven walks in three starts spanning 18 2/3 innings. Overall, he has a 2.04 ERA with Rochester this season.

He gets the start after right-hander Aaron Slegers landed on the disabled list Saturday with inflammation in his right shoulder. Slegers told the St. Paul Pioneer Press that the shoulder wasn't an issue last Tuesday when he was tagged for five runs over just 1 1/3 innings.

Instead, he noticed something while playing catch ahead of the his previously scheduled start Sunday and decided to mention the issue to the team's medical staff.

So, with Slegers out, Romero is headed back.

"I don't know if that was a front-burner as far as options we were considering," Twins manager Paul Molitor said, "But the way it worked out, that's the way we're going to go."

Rays manager Kevin Cash plans to turn to his bullpen for the series finale with right-hander Ryne Stanek getting his 12th start as an "opener".

Stanek (1-2, 1.93 ERA) has gone unscored upon in 22 of his 27 appearances this season including four of six this month. In his "starts" he is 0-1 with a 1.08 ERA while totaling 16 2/3 innings and striking out 21.

"He's taken to that role," Cash told the Tampa Bay Times. "I think he enjoys going up there knowing he has that ball for an inning or two and he's making the most of it when he attacks and pounds the strike zone and then opens up."

Stanek struck out a pair and didn't allow a run in his one inning against the Twins on Friday when he faced Eduardo Escobar, Jorge Polanco and Max Kepler.

Updated July 14, 2018

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