After an off day on Monday, the Los Angeles Dodgers return home and host the Tampa Bay Rays for a rare two-game Interleague series at Dodger Stadium. The teams previously faced off in May and split a two-game set at Tropicana Field.
With 11 games remaining in the regular season, the Dodgers can rejoice in the fact that they have already clinched home-field advantage for the National League Division Series.
The Rays, however, are still fighting for a postseason berth themselves. They are currently penciled into the second American League Wild Card spot, but the Cleveland Indians have closed the gap and trail by only 1.5 games.
Looking to keep pace in the win column, the Rays send 2018 AL Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell to the mound for his 21st start of the season. It’s his first outing since July 21 due to an elbow injury that kept him sidelined for nearly two months.
Snell enters with a 6-7 record, 4.28 ERA, 3.40 FIP and 1.25 WHIP with 136 strikeouts against 35 walks in 101 innings pitched. Prior to landing on the injured list, the left-hander was in the midst of a dominant month of July and posted a minuscule 1.16 ERA across three starts.
Opposing him is Caleb Ferguson, as the Dodgers have made a change from Ross Stripling. The start is Ferguson’s first since April 13 and just his second this season. Stripling is expected to follow him in relief and the change was made so he could begin preparing for a spot in the postseason bullpen.
Ferguson is 1-2 with a 5.13 ERA and 1.49 WHIP in 41 games this year. He’s been much improved of late, which Ferguson attributed to Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt helping adjust the grip on his curveball.
Although Dodgers manager Dave Roberts had indicated Justin Turner would return to the lineup on Tuesday, he softened on that stance after the club concluded their road trip. Sure enough, Turner is missing an eighth consecutive game due to a sprained left ankle.
Tuesday’s game is exclusively being streamed as the MLB Game of the Week Live on YouTube.
1B: David Freese
LF: A.J. Pollock
3B: Chris Taylor
CF: Cody Bellinger
2B: Max Muncy
RF: Kiké Hernandez
SS: Corey Seager
C: Will Smith
P: Caleb Ferguson
LF: Tommy Pham
RF: Austin Meadows
C: Travis d’Arnaud
1B: Ji-Man Choi
3B: Matt Duffy
2B: Joey Wendle
SS: Willy Adames
CF: Kevin Kiermaier
P: Blake Snell