The Tampa Bay Rays (69-51) will take on the Toronto Blue Jays (56-66) in the middle game of their 3-game series.
Before the game the Rays announced a trio of roster moves. Designated hitter Luke Scott was placed on the 15-day disabled list with back spasms (retroactive to Thursday, August 15th) and to take his place on the 25-man roster they activated right handed reliever Brandon Gomes who had been on the disabled list since May 8th with a right lat strain.
Gomes has made 13 rehab appearances between the Gulf Coast League Rays (1), the High A Charlotte Stone Crabs (5), and the last 7 games with the Triple A Durham Bulls. While with Durham he pitched to a 2.25 ERA (8 IP, 5H, 2R/ER, 1BB, 11K). Gomes had been on the 60-day disabled list and in order to make room on the 40-man roster the Rays moved reliever Jesse Crain to the 60-day disabled list.
His return to the roster will require a corresponding roster move which is expected to involve a pitcher. The move should not affect Crain’s expected return date as he will be eligible to come off the DL on August 29th.
Desmond Jennings took batting practice today and said he is still experiencing some pain but he will report to the Charlotte Stone Crabs for their Sunday evening game. If all goes well he is expected to rejoin the Rays in Baltimore on Monday.
The last time Hernandez faced the Blue Jays at Tropicana Field was back on June 26th working into the 9th inning and taking the loss in a 3-0 Blue Jays win. Hernandez final line was 8 innings 3R/ER on 6 hits with 5 strikeouts and 1 walk.
Hernandez has failed to make it out of the 5th inning in each of his last two starts and will look to avoid the same fate this evening. It would tie him for the longest streak since 2004. He would tie Jeremy Hellickson who has had two such streaks (July 31 through August 6, 2013 and also June 8 through 30th, 2012) and Matt Moore (Sept 11 through 22, 2012). The Rays record for streak for starts of 4.2 IP or less is 5 by Nick Bierbrodt from April 3 to June 6, 2003 – the streak included 8 relief appearances between 4th and 5th starts of streak. (Rays Game Notes).
J.A. Happ’s last start at Tropicana Field was one that he may not remember. Back on May 7th he was struck in the head by a line drive off the bat of Desmond Jennings. The ball was struck with such force that it ricocheted down the right field line and in the process spun Happ to the ground resulting in two sprained knee ligaments.
The sprained knee ligaments delayed his return more than the fractured skull he suffered from the impact of the ball. Happ returned to the mound on August 7th against the Seattle Mariners and allowed 7R/6ER in 4 innings of work. He fared much better in his second start back in Toronto holding the Oakland Athletics to 1R/ER on 3 hits in 7 innings of work.