ST. PETERSBURG — The final time the Rays noticed the Dodgers, Los Angeles was celebrating its victory within the 2020 World Collection in Arlington, Texas, the impartial web site amid extreme pandemic restrictions.

Friday, they are going to meet once more, with the Rays in possession of the perfect report (37-15) within the American League and the Dodgers the second-best (31-20, proportion factors behind Atlanta) within the Nationwide League. It is going to be L.A.’s first go to to Tropicana Area since 2019 and simply its fifth general.

How huge a deal it’s relies on whom you ask.

To Rays infielder Taylor Partitions, it’s nothing particular.

“I don’t know, they’re simply one other workforce, I suppose,” he stated. “I truthfully forgot we performed them (this weekend) till you simply talked about it. We simply present up day-after-day, take a look at the duty at hand, take a look at the scouting report and attempt to put collectively a plan to achieve success that day. And that’s just about it.

“We don’t actually put an excessive amount of thought into precisely who we’re taking part in or the hype round it or what the chances could also be sooner or later.”

Rays manager Kevin Cash takes the ball from starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) in the sixth inning of Game 6 of the 2020 World Series against the Dodgers.Rays supervisor Kevin Money takes the ball from beginning pitcher Blake Snell (4) within the sixth inning of Sport 6 of the 2020 World Collection in opposition to the Dodgers. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]

To outfielder Randy Arozarena, who had a breakout efficiency through the 2020 postseason, it’s a reminder of a missed alternative.

“I had a fairly good Collection,” he stated through workforce interpreter Manny Navarro, “however I wished the World Collection ring. I wished to win it.”

Plus, Arozarena identified, “it’s a really completely different workforce.”

“2020 was 2020 and it’s previously, however that is 12 months 2023,” he stated. “We’re making an attempt to get to the playoffs and we expect we are able to do it, and (need to) play a very good collection in opposition to them.”

To Rays supervisor Kevin Money — regardless of the six-game loss and scrutiny of his determination to take out starter Blake Snell in Sport 6 — it’s an opportunity to look again and smile on the highlights, together with the wild Sport 4 win sparked by Brett Phillips.

“Nice reminiscences,” Money stated. “A variety of enjoyable. Clearly, we got here up quick, however actually appreciated that, wanting again how distinctive that 2020 postseason was, attending to the World Collection. Happy with that, to be part of that workforce. And I’m positive it will likely be talked about over this weekend with (the Dodgers) coming in.”

Bullpen shuffle, continued

Rays relief pitcher Calvin Faucher  (58) pitches in the top of the eighth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays Thursday at Tropicana Field.Rays aid pitcher Calvin Faucher (58) pitches within the prime of the eighth inning in opposition to the Toronto Blue Jays Thursday at Tropicana Area. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]

The Rays continued their bullpen shuffle, recalling Calvin Faucher from Triple-A and activating left-hander Jake Diekman from the paternity checklist.

To make room, reliever Ben Heller and infielder Vidal Brujan, who had been referred to as up Wednesday, had been optioned again to Durham.

Faucher made the opening-day roster however was despatched down April 30 (after compiling a 6.43 ERA in eight video games, permitting 16 hits and 6 walks in 14 innings) to get work in bullpen classes refining what Money referred to as “silly good” stuff. Faucher pitched in solely three video games for the Bulls, permitting three hits and three walks over 4-2/3 innings. Thursday, he labored a one-walk eighth.

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“It’s nonetheless a piece in progress,” Money stated earlier than the sport. “He can actually assist us. We’ve simply bought to discover a approach to get him within the zone slightly bit extra persistently. However his stuff matches rather well with the again finish of our bullpen …. his two breaking balls that he throws, and the fastball.”

Brujan was introduced up as a hedge given uncertainty over the supply of nook infielder Yandy Diaz because of a household matter. Diaz was again with the workforce Thursday and “completely out there” if wanted, Money stated.

Diekman returned after going residence to Nebraska for the beginning of a daughter on Monday. He had a tough outing Thursday, coming in for the ninth with a 6-1 lead and permitting two one-out singles and a stroll to create a save state of affairs that Colin Poche, after a bases-loaded stroll and a sacrifice fly, transformed.


Rays starting pitcher Zach Eflin pitches in the first inning Thursday at Tropicana Field.Rays beginning pitcher Zach Eflin pitches within the first inning Thursday at Tropicana Area. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]

Lefty Jalen Beeks would be the opener Friday, with right-hander Cooper Criswell anticipated to work bulk innings. … The Rays are the primary workforce with two seven-steal video games in the identical season for the reason that 1995 Astros. … Because the Rays attempt to enhance and stabilize their bullpen, they’ve benefited from 4 seven-inning begins (two every by Shane McClanahan and Zach Eflin) over their final seven video games. … Eflin is 6-0 with a 2.19 ERA in six begins on the Trop. … Attendance was 10,736 Thursday, for a four-game whole of 40,198.

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By Editor