When: 6:40 p.m. Friday.
Where: Comerica Park in Detroit.
TV: Apple TV+ (no Bally Sports Detroit broadcast).
Radio: WXYT-FM (97.1 in Detroit; Tigers radio affiliates).
Tigers lineup: TBA.
WEDNESDAY’S VICTORY: Zack Short drives in three runs for Tigers in 6-3 win over Pittsburgh Pirates
Game notes: It’s a rematch of the Tigers’ season-opening series, in which they were swept by the Rays over three games by a combined 21-3 score. The Rays ran their season-opening win streak to 13 games, and still had a winning percentage of .818 (27-6) though their first 33 games. It’s not the 1984 Tigers’ 35-5 start, but what is? Since that game, however — a win over the Yankees on May 5 — Tampa Bay is a mere 39-39. (The 1984 Tigers, by the way, went 69-53 over their final 102 games; everybody falls back to earth at some point.)
The bad news for the Rays — and good news for the Tigers — is that injuries have torn through Tampa Bay’s rotation and bullpen. In that March series in St. Petersburg, the Rays’ three starters — Shane McClanahan, Zach Eflin and Jeffrey Springs — struck out 23 Tigers in 17 innings while allowing just one run on seven hits. Of those three, only Eflin is healthy; the Rays have since lost Springs (as well as Drew Rasmussen) to Tommy John surgery and McClanahan hit the injured list on Thursday with — uh-oh — left forearm tightness after earning his second straight All-Star berth this season and starting Wednesday night in New York.
Tampa Bay isn’t completely without arms, however; they dealt for Cleveland’s Aaron Civale (who has a career 2.06 ERA against the Tigers in 10 starts) before the trade deadline and got ostensible ace Tyler Glasnow back in late May. They’ll start against the Tigers on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
The good news for the Rays — and bad news for Tigers pitchers — is that their bats keep slugging. Eight different Rays have at least 10 homers this season, with DH Harold Ramírez not far behind at nine dingers. They’re led by third baseman Isaac Paredes (21 homers), who you may remember from the Tigers as recently as last spring; he was shipped to the Rays in April 2021 for outfielder Austin Meadows, who is on the IL with anxiety and has yet to homer as a Tiger (albeit in only 6 games). Before you get mad all over again at Al Avila, take some comfort in knowing that almost all of the Rays’ sluggers have come in eventually lopsided trades with other teams: outfielder Jose Siri (20 homers) came from Houston, outfielder Randy Arozarena (18) came from St. Louis, first baseman Yandy Díaz (15) came from Cleveland and utilityman Luke Raley (15) came from the L.A. Dodgers.
As noted earlier, the Tigers and Rays have two more games in the series at Comerica Park, both during the early afternoon on Bally Sports Detroit. The Tigers then leap right into the next series, a four-game visit from the Minnesota Twins beginning Monday night. The Rays, meanwhile, have Monday off before heading home to host St. Louis on Tuesday night.
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This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Tigers game score vs. Tampa Bay Rays: Time, TV