The Tampa Bay Rays (42-41) are red-hot traveling to Miami Monday night after coming off a homestand in which they were 8-1. Meanwhile, the Miami Marlins (34-51) have lost four of their last six games at home and are looking to pick up momentum wherever they can find it.
The Rays have just finished their second-best homestand in franchise history. And this homestand was not filled with any easy games — the stretch included 16 games against the Houston Astros, New York Yankees and Washington Nationals.
They suffered a few more losses on the road than they did at home, but still came out with a 10-6 record, enough to improve their overall record to above .500.
The unconventional Rays pitching staff is a big part of the team’s success. They allowed a total of just seven runs in their last five games, carrying Tampa to five wins and a 1-0 loss.
The Rays now have 16 straight games against teams with losing records coming up, including their series with the Marlins that kicks off Monday night.
The Marlins have been struggling on all sides of the ball all season. After losing two of three to the New York Mets, they currently sit last in the NL East, 15.5 games behind the first-place Atlanta Braves.
The team is still hurting from all the trades the front office made during the off-season, making the rebuilding process just about as difficult as it can be.
Right now, Miami is in the middle of a 10-game homestand in which they are 3-4.
Monday night’s game will feature a pitching matchup between the Rays’ Nathan Eovaldi (2-3, 4.08 ERA) and the Marlins’ Wei-Yin Chen (2-5, 6.14 ERA).
This will be Eovaldi’s second career appearance against his former team. In his only other start against the Marlins back in June of 2015, he gave up nine hits and eight earned runs and was only able to get two outs before leaving the game.
However, Eovaldi was able to shut down the Nationals in his last start. He picked up a win after shutting out their offense and allowing just one hit. He also struck out nine while walking only two batters.
For the Marlins, Chen will get the ball to make his 22nd career start against the Rays, which is more than any other opponent. Throughout those appearances, he has a 5-6 record with a 3.72 ERA.
Although Chen’s numbers are down so far this year, his last start was also solid. He held the Arizona Diamondbacks to just one run on five hits in his six innings pitched.
First pitch is set for 7:10 pm, but live coverage of the game will start at 6:30 pm on ESPN 98.1 FM/850 AM WRUF.