Eduardo A. Encina’s takeaways from Wednesday’s Rays-Dodgers game

Could Avisail Garcia be the slugger the Rays need to help carry a struggling offense?
Tampa Bay Rays' Avisail Garcia connects for an RBI-triple off Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez during the third inning of a baseball game Friday, April 19, 2019, in St. Petersburg, Fla. Rays' Yandy Diaz scored on the hit. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Tampa Bay Rays' Avisail Garcia connects for an RBI-triple off Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez during the third inning of a baseball game Friday, April 19, 2019, in St. Petersburg, Fla. Rays' Yandy Diaz scored on the hit. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Published May 22

• The main thing the Rays offense is missing is a hitter who has the ability to carry the offense when the rest of the lineup is struggling. Most of the time that’s a slugger. Avisail Garcia — whose three-run homer in the seventh gave the Rays a comfortable lead — might be the closest thing the Rays have to that. You can’t ask him to do too much more than he already is, but he could develop into that guy.

• The strong defense that has been a staple of the strongest recent Rays teams re-emerged Wednesday. Kevin Kiermaier prevented the Dodgers from scoring a go-ahead run in the sixth when the centerfielder threw out Cody Bellinger at the plate. Bellinger was attempting to score on Russell Martin’s two-out single, but Kiermaier scooped the ball and made a pinpoint throw home to nab Bellinger easily,

• At 39 years old, Dodgers lefty Rich Hill isn’t dazzling anyone. But he might be one of the most frustrating pitchers to face because of his slow, sweeping breaking balls. The Rays fell victim to them Wednesday. Five of Hill’s seven strikeouts came on the breaking ball, and Hill recorded a quality start, allowing just one run over six innings.

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