For starters: Longoria returns for the finale
The Rays end the worst homestand in franchise history this afternoon with the last of four games against the AL Central-leading Indians.
3B Evan Longoria (bruised left thumb) returns to the lineup.
The Rays begin the day one game back in the Wild Card standings. They are tied with the Royals and Mariners. Ahead are the Wild Card-leading Yankees. The Angels – the Angels? – occupy the second spot. The Twins are a half-game out.
Of bigger concern is the Rays offense, which has been shutout a team record five times during the first eight games of this homestand, including Friday and Saturday against the Indians. They have scored eight total runs in these eight games, the fewest runs during any eight-game stretch in team history.
Today the face Indians RHP Corey Kluber (10-3, 2.65). They counter with rookie RHP Austin Pruitt (6-3, 5.14), who is once again matched up against the opposing team’s ace. The good news is Pruitt has gone toe-to-toe with the likes of Chris Sale and Dallas Keuchel.
The bad news … the Rays offense.