ST. PETERSBURG — Rays outfielder Randy Arozarena seems primed for a big weekend in Baltimore.
The 2020 postseason breakout star has been on a torrid stretch, hitting .404 (23-for-57) over his last 14 games with 12 extra-base hits (including six homers), 11 RBIs and a 1.285 OPS.
And he has been feasting all season on Orioles’ pitching, hitting .459 (17-for-37) over eight games with 10 extra-base hits (including seven homers), 16 RBIs and a 1.582 OPS.
“He’s swung the bat well,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said Wednesday. “We know what he can do when he’s really hot.
“He’s had some good games against Baltimore this year. Hopefully he can find that rhythm there and just continue it for the next couple weeks, and maybe two months. Whatever it takes. He’s such a big part of our offense.”
Overall, Arozarena is hitting .268 with 16 homers, 52 RBIs, 11 steals (and a majors-most seven caught stealings) with an .802 OPS.
Yarbrough on the attack
Friday starter Ryan Yarbrough has had some good games in Baltimore, going 1-1 with a 2.89 earned-run average in five appearances.
None better than July 14, 2019, when he followed opener Ryan Stanek’s pair of 1-2-3 innings with six of his own and went to the ninth with a chance for the first combined perfect game in major-league history. Yarbrough gave up two hits, and reliever Oliver Drake another, before sealing the 4-1 win.
Yarbrough said there are some challenges in facing the O’s for a fourth time this season, having gone 1-1, 5.60.
“I know that I’ve faced them a bunch this year, they’ve seen me a lot,” he said. “So you’ve just got to continue to work hard and understand that they’re going to have a game plan about how to face you. You kind of just go out there with your own game plan and then learn to make adjustments on the fly as you kind of see how the game’s going.”
• Reliever Collin McHugh, out since July 22 due to arm fatigue, is expected to be activated sometime during the weekend series at Baltimore.
• Days off Thursday and Monday could allow the Rays to get creative with their pitching plans heading into next week’s series with the Red Sox, the second of four meetings in a six-week period. If they stay in order, the starters would be Luis Patino, Josh Fleming and Yarbrough.
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