ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays will try again tonight to see if they can measure up to the American League-leading Astros, but will do so without Randy Arozarena and Yandy Diaz, two of their best offensive players, in the lineup.
Manager Kevin Cash said it is a matter of “just trying to manage workloads” and both are available if needed off the bench. Arozarena missed the Saturday and Sunday games with an illness, and didn’t look good Monday going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. Diaz sat out Saturday, then played Sunday (2-for-4) and Monday (0-for-4).
“I’m not sure where we would be without them,” Cash said. “Both their contributions, certainly at the plate and on defense, have been just so solid for us. And I think a lot of the thinking behind giving them a day is to make sure we do everything for that to continue.”
Shane McClanahan is set to make his second start since his 15-day injured list stint. McClanahan made an impressive return Thursday in Toronto, throwing five scoreless innings, and said he feels more into his normal routine now.
Though this is the Rays’ first series with the Astros this season, it is the second time McClanahan and Houston manager Dusty Baker have been together, as Baker was the starter for the AL All-Star team managed by Baker.
Offense has been a problem of late for the Rays, as Cash has been pushing for them to score early and often.
Here is the Rays lineup:
And for the Astros, with most of the regulars playing despite clinching the AL West on Monday:
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