Mariners at Rays: Chance for a revenge, plus return of Diego Castillo

The Mariners swept the Rays in Seattle in June, outscoring Tampa Bay 23-13.
After five seasons in a Rays uniform, Diego Castillo returns to Tropicana Field as a Mariner just four days after being traded.
After five seasons in a Rays uniform, Diego Castillo returns to Tropicana Field as a Mariner just four days after being traded. [ TONY GUTIERREZ | Associated Press ]
Published Aug. 2, 2021|Updated Aug. 2, 2021

The Rays are back in first place. And back facing the Mariners.

That scenario didn’t work out so well in Seattle last month when the Mariners swept Tampa Bay in a four-game series and the Rays tumbled out of first spot in the American League East.

The three-game series beginning tonight at Tropicana Field will feature a new matchup for Rays hitters. Seattle right-hander Chris Flexen has never faced Tampa Bay.

Flexen has had reverse splits this season, meaning he has been more effective against left-handed hitters. With that in mind, the Rays opted to go ahead and give Austin Meadows and Wander Franco planned days off tonight.


⋅ Manager Kevin Cash said the Rays are hopeful that RHP Chris Archer’s sore hip will be a minor setback.

Archer, who has been on a rehab assignment at Triple-A Durham, left his scheduled start on Sunday after one inning. Archer was getting nearer a return to the Rays roster and the hope is that this might only delay him by a handful of days.

“We’re hoping that it was more minor,” Cash said. “Most likely, just the way we go about doing things, it will probably delay him from being on a five-day start from Sunday. Maybe it doesn’t, but if it does it will be just a little bit.”

⋅ Diego Castillo, who technically leads the Rays in saves with 14, makes his return to Tropicana Field after being traded to the Mariners on Thursday.

“I was a little said when I heard the news I had been traded,” Castillo said through interpreter Manny Navarro on the field Monday. “I feel very fortunate for the opportunity they gave me here.”

⋅ Rays prospect Shane Baz had a shaky Olympic debut in Monday’s 7-6 loss to Japan.

Baz, 22, started for the USA and gave up five hits, three walks and two runs in 2.2 innings. The U.S. was losing 2-0 when he left the game in third, but took the lead in the fourth before losing in 10 innnigs.

The control problems were unusual for Baz who has a 2.26 ERA and 82 strikeouts with only 10 walks in 55.2 innings of work between Double-A Montgomery and Triple-A Durham this season.

Here’s the Rays lineup with Michael Wacha on the mound:

Brandon Lowe 2B

Nelson Cruz DH

Ji-Man Choi 1B

Yandy Diaz 3B

Joey Wendle SS

Randy Arozarena LF

Manuel Margot RF

Kevin Kiermaier CF

Mike Zunino C

And here is Seattle’s lineup:

Crawford SS

Haniger RF

Seager 3B

France 1B

Toro 2B

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Fraley LF

Torrens DH

Kelenic CF

Raleigh C

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