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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)
Published May 23
Updated May 23

• 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.


  1. Rays relief pitcher Andrew Kittredge rushes to cover home after delivering a wild pitch during the fourth inning in a loss to the Red Sox. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Martin Fennelly: Magic takes a day off against the Red Sox, with a winning streak snapped.
  2. Rays relief pitcher Andrew Kittredge (36) sits in the dugout during Tampa Bay's 7-4 loss to Boston Sunday, September 22, 2019, in St. Petersburg. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Red Sox 7, Rays 4: After back-to-back dramatic comebacks, Tampa Bay’s only excitement Sunday comes on Brendan McKay’s first major-league home run.
  3. Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (39) is out stealing second on a call review during the second inning while playing the Boston Red Sox on Sunday, September 22, 2019, in St. Petersburg. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Takeaways from the Rays’ 7-4 loss Sunday to Boston. | Martin Fennelly:
  4. The Tampa Bay Rays face the Red Sox in Game 3 of the series at Tropicana Field. The Red Sox defeated the Rays 7-4.
  5. Brandon Lowe was back in the Rays lineup  Sunday for the first time since his July 2 injury. ALLIE GOULDING  |  Times
    Rays-Red Sox: All-Star infielder Brandon Lowe is playing for the first time since July 2.
  6. The Rays' Yonny Chirinos, shown here pitching on July 23, 2019, at the Trop. DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The right-hander, out since early August with right middle finger inflammation, works one inning of relief Saturday.
  7. Rays starter Tyler Glasnow pitches against the Red Sox during the first inning Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019, at Tropicana Field. CHRIS O'MEARA  |  AP
    Tyler Glasnow sets the tone; Joey Wendle’s bad out; Willy Adames’ power shot.
  8. According to unofficial statistics, the Rays have wasted more power drinks than any team in baseball. Tampa Bay's seven walkoff victories since the beginning of August are the most in the majors. This time, it's Nate Lowe getting the cold refreshment treatment after his two-run homer in the bottom of the 11th beat the Red Sox 5-4.  CHRIS O'MEARA | AP Photo CHRIS O'MEARA  |  AP
    The team that could not win one-run games in the first half of the season won its third consecutive game in the 11th inning against the Red Sox on Saturday.
  9. A shirtless Nate Lowe celebrates with his Rays teammates after his walkoff, two-run homer off Red Sox reliever Josh Smith during the 11th inning on Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019, at the Trop. CHRIS O'MEARA  |  AP
    Nate Lowe is the star on Saturday with a two-run homer after Diego Castillo gave up the lead.
  10. Most Valuable Ray? It could be All-Star Charlie Morton or All-Star Austin Meadows. MARC TOPKIN  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Also up for discussion in Rays Tales: Most pleasant among many surprises and biggest of several disappointments.