Wed, 27 Sep 2023

Offense powers Dodgers, Rays to play for series win

Field Level Media
28 May 2023, 16:40 GMT+10

The Tampa Bay Rays have reached the century mark in home runs and are within three runs scored of the major league lead.

The Los Angeles Dodgers, the team with the most wins and the most runs scored in the National League, have two of the top offensive weapons in the sport in Freddie Freeman andMookie Betts.

Betts and Freeman each had RBIs in the seventh inning on Saturday in the Dodgers' 6-5 win over the Rays, evening the interleague series at 1-1 ahead of Sunday morning's deciding game in St. Petersburg, Fla.

"We just came up short there at the end," Rays manager Kevin Cash said after his team scored one run in the ninth but stranded the potential tying and winning runs at third and first.

Harold Ramirez connected on the Rays' 100th team homer earlier in the game.

In the finale, the Dodgers will go with rookie right-hander Gavin Stone (0-0, 10.13 ERA) in his third big league start.

The Rays have yet to announce a starter and are expected to make it a bullpen game.

A fifth-round pick from Central Arkansas in 2020, Stone made his major league debut on May 3 against the Phillies, and the 24-year-old keeps drawing tough assignments since being promoted from Triple-A Oklahoma City. He faced the Braves in his second start, making the Rays his second straight first-place opponent.

Stone went four innings in each of his first two starts, and he has given up 10 total runs (nine earned).

"This is a dream come true," Stone said in a Dodgers' radio interview. "Every day is a new opportunity, and I'm so thankful that the Dodgers have given me one."

At Triple-A, Stone made eight starts, sporting a 2-2 record and 4.04 ERA in 35 2/3 innings.

As part of his preparation for Sunday, Stone has been observing the Rays during batting practice.

"The more you can see hitters, the better," Stone said. "If I can see them in BP, it gives me a little bit of better chance out there on the field Sunday."

Rated as the Dodgers' fourth-best prospect by, Stone is maintaining his between-starts routine as he transitions to the majors.

"It's the same stuff as in the minors," Stone said. "With my routine, you've got to stick with your plan and your workouts, and your progressions. Just sticking to a routine is huge. I think the Dodgers really help outlining that for us."

Facing the high-powered Rays is a challenge for any pitcher, of course.

"I've always said that this team is capable of doing anything," Rays center fielder Jose Siri said through an interpreter. "We have home runs. We can run. We play defense. We're able to do everything."

The Dodgers witnessed that in Friday's 9-3 loss. Siri and Yandy Diaz each homered and the Rays stole four bases.

"Everyone's just doing their part," Diaz said through an interpreter. "Everyone's just doing the little things, and then when everyone's doing the little things, it turns into something big."

--Field Level Media

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