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Rays ace Shane McClanahan looks for pre-All-Star break success

Notes | The ace tends to have success against the Orioles. Also, fan favorite Brett Phillips returns to the Trop.
The Rays' Shane McClanahan is 4-0 with a 2.36 ERA in nine starts against the Orioles.
The Rays' Shane McClanahan is 4-0 with a 2.36 ERA in nine starts against the Orioles. [ CARLOS OSORIO | AP ]
Published Aug. 13|Updated Aug. 13

ST. PETERSBURG — It has been one month since Rays All-Star left-hander Shane McClanahan (10-5) collected his last victory. He will try again Saturday afternoon against the Orioles at Tropicana Field.

In the three starts since McClanahan’s last victory — also accounting for the All-Star break — he is 0-2 with a 5.60 ERA, allowing 15 hits in 17 2/3 innings, while walking four and striking out 14.

“I’m doing the same thing (as before the All-Star break),” McClanahan said. “I feel great. I’m still working hard. And I have that same attitude. So I feel good.

“I’m just kind of trying to be consistent. I felt really good last start (at the Tigers) and felt like I made a lot of good pitches. I just kind of got beat by a few hits, their singles. Last time out, it was better generally.”

McClanahan has been effective against the Orioles, going 4-0 with a 2.36 ERA in nine starts. He faced them at Baltimore on July 26 and took a no-decision after allowing two runs in seven innings.

Brett Phillips returns

Current Baltimore Orioles and former Tampa Bay Rays player Brett Phillips holds a sign a fan made ahead of Friday's game.
Current Baltimore Orioles and former Tampa Bay Rays player Brett Phillips holds a sign a fan made ahead of Friday's game. [ JEFFEREE WOO | Times ]

Baseball was especially fun for ex-Ray Brett Phillips, the Seminole High product and newly minted Orioles outfielder who wasn’t in the lineup, but did interviews with Tampa Bay media, signed autographs, enthusiastically greeted his former teammates and even brought the Baltimore lineup card to home plate during the umpires’ conference.

He was also saluted in a tribute video Friday night after the second inning, then he popped out of the dugout to take a bow.

Phillips, of course, will be forever remembered for his game-winning single in Game 4 of the 2020 World Series, along with the constant goodwill he spread among fans and teammates. Phillips was batting .147 with 85 strikeouts in 75 games when he was designated for assignment by the Rays, then traded to the Orioles on Aug. 2 for cash.

“It’s a little bittersweet (being back), but first of all, I want to thank the fans,” said Phillips, wearing No. 66. “And I want to thank the Rays front office because I believe they did right by me. It’s great to see all the fans who have poured so much love into me and it’s going to be cool to give them my appreciation. I’m very excited to be home.”

Phillips, who got into the game in rightfield and batted twice, said he’s especially excited to be with an Orioles’ team that has matured into a playoff contender.

“I’m happy for Brett,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “I know that our fans really enjoyed Brett Phillips while he was here. It’ll be nice for him to get out there and say hello to the fans that he was so good to during his time here.”

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Rays first baseman Ji-Man Choi greets former teammate Brett Phillips ahead of Friday's game.
Rays first baseman Ji-Man Choi greets former teammate Brett Phillips ahead of Friday's game. [ JEFFEREE WOO | Times ]

Randy Arozarena heats up

Randy Arozarena’s two-run homer in the sixth inning was his 14th career homer against the Orioles, the sixth-most in club history against them. Former Rays Ben Zobrist, B.J. Upton and Carlos Pena each had 15 to tie for third.

Overall against the Orioles, Arozarena is batting .369 (52-for-141) with 34 RBIs in 35 games.

Miscellany

The Rays surrendered 19 hits, the most by an opponent at the Trop since the Red Sox had 21 on Septs 15, 2017. … The Orioles have called up touted left-handed pitcher DL Hall and plan to start him in Saturday afternoon’s game. … The Rays are in fourth place in the AL East for the first time in August since 2017. … Since the All-Star break, the Rays are 7-12 and averaging 3.37 runs per game. … Rays reinforcements are getting closer. Shortstop Wander Franco (hamate fracture) and outfielder Harold Ramirez (right thumb fracture) did their normal batting tee work inside and could take full batting practice this weekend. … Outfielder Manuel Margot (right patellar tendon strain) reported to Triple-A Durham and is expected to begin rehabilitation games on Saturday.

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