Jun 4, 2024; Miami, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Rays second baseman Brandon Lowe (8) and left fielder Randy Arozarena (56) celebrate a victory against the Miami Marlins at loanDepot Park. Mandatory Credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

Rays and Marlins Face Off in Sunshine State Series

The Tampa Bay Rays (30-31) and Miami Marlins (21-40) face off in a quick two game sunshine state series. The Rays took the first on Tuesday, June 4 by a score of 9-5.

Rays Win Game 1

The Rays offense bombarded the Marlins in a nine-run showing for the boys from Tampa.

But the game didn’t start out great for the Rays, as Miami scored three in the first. Bryan De La Cruz got the Marlins on the board with his 10th homer of the season. And after an infield single from Jake Burger, Josh Bell drove him in with a triple to right. Bell was then brought home by Otto Lopez.

After holding Tampa off for three innings however, the Rays bats caught fire in the fourth and fifth. Brandon Lowe blasted a first pitch slider to deep right to tie the game. The next batter, Amed Rosario singled, and was driven in on a Jose Siri go-ahead double. The onslaught continued in the next frame as the Rays loaded the bases with one out. Potential All-Star Isaac Paredes knocked a timely single to left, driving in two more runs.

Brandon Lowe then came up just an inning after his home run, and clobbered another first pitch, this time to center driving in another two. That gave Lowe five RBIs in just two innings of play. Tampa finished off their scoring with another Amed Rosario single driving in Lowe.

After the first inning struggle, Rays starter Ryan Pepiot cruised to six innings, striking out eight total without giving up another run. The Marlins tacked on two more against the Tampa bullpen, but Pete Fairbanks shut the door with his seventh save of the season. The final score was 9-5.

Previewing Game 2

The two-game series continues with Zach Eflin taking the mound for Tampa against Marlins’ southpaw Braxton Garrett.

Eflin returns after a stint on the 15-Day IL due to a back injury. The righty didn’t make any minor-league rehab starts, so Rays manager Kevin Cash stated he may face minor restrictions. Cash said the Rays will likely evaluate after three innings to see how the pitcher is feeling.

Eflin was 3-4 with a 4.12 ERA before his injury. It will be interesting to see how the Rays decide to use their bats today, especially Brandon Lowe. He made his first start against a lefty yesterday and performed admirably. It remains to be seen whether Cash will ride this success and give Lowe a chance at having two straight successful games against lefty pitching.

On the other side is Braxton Garrett, who comes in with a 2-0 record and ERA of 4.56. Garrett began his season poorly, giving up 11 runs over his first two starts. This drove up his ERA and may be attributed to the shoulder injury which caused him to begin 2024 on the IL. The southpaw has been magnificent in his third and fourth start of the season, possibly showing a return to strength.

Garrett tossed his first career complete game shutout against the Diamondbacks. He followed that up with another solid performance, giving up just one run against the Padres. The Marlins’ pitching staff has struggled during their three-game skid, giving up 22 runs. The bats will also have to pick it up, as besides their three-run first inning yesterday, the Miami offense has scored just 2 over their losing streak.

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