Once again sporting their all-white Players Weekend uniforms, the Rays will look to make it three straight over the Orioles tonight.
As importantly, they will try to get struggling reliever Jose Alvarado straightened out by using him as an opener. In 34 games over a season interrupted once for a month-long family leave and then another month-plus for an oblique injury, he is 1-5, 4.55 with 28 hits and 24 walks in 29 2/3 innings.
That strategy, of allowing a pitcher to work with no pressure at the start of the game and only for a limited time, has helped in the past with Diego Castillo and Ryne Stanek among others.
The Rays brought up Austin Pruitt, for the ninth time this season, so he can handle the bulk of the innings. Reliever Aaron Slegers, who got his first big-league save on Friday, was sent down.
The Rays also have OF Avisail Garcia back in the lineup, having activated him off the 10-day injured list. Guillermo Heredia was sent down.
Here is the lineup for the 76-54 Rays, who woke up today holding the top AL wild-card spot, against Orioles lefty John Means, who hasn’t been nearly as good as in the first half when he made the All-Star team:
And here is the Orioles lineup: