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Rays head to Cincinnati

James Loney
James Loney
Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Rays (5-5) will go on the road to face off against the Cincinnati Reds (3-6) this weekend. Tampa Bay went on the road for the first time this season to face off against the Kansas City Royals this week. The Rays battled hard but dropped the series as the Royals took two of the three games. The Rays fell 7-3 on Wednesday afternoon to finish the series. The Rays went (4-3) on their seven game homestand to start the season. James Loney has come up with some timely hits for the Rays. He provided the winning hit on Tuesday night for a 1-0 victory against the Royals. This allowed the Rays to collect their first road victory this season. Some late inning magic from James Loney on Saturday night against the Texas Rangers was incredible as well. The Rays were down 4-3 until a two-run double by Loney gave the Rays the lead in eighth inning. Grant Balfour came in for the save in the ninth inning and closed out the victory. Tampa Bay opened up with a powerful win against the Toronto Blue Jays on Opening Day but then dropped the next two games. Last Thursday the Rays picked up a victory to even the series against the Blue Jays. The Rays then beat the Texas Rangers on Friday and Saturday to take the first two games of the series last weekend at Tropicana Field before heading to Kansas City.

The pitching will be a strong point this season for the Rays. But trouble is brewing in Tampa Bay. Matt Moore was placed on the 15 day disabled list due to an elbow injury. Hopefully it is nothing serious as he started out terrific last season for the Rays. It sure sounds like Matt Moore may have to have Tommy John surgery which would end his season. Chris Archer was fantastic on his first start of the season. Even Jake Odorizzi looked great on Friday night at Tropicana Field. Jeff Beliveau was called up on Tuesday to add depth to the bullpen. Erik Bedard or Cesar Ramos would take Matt Moore's spot in the rotation. This is a big blow to the Rays' starting pitching as Jeremy Hellickson is hurt as well. Hopefully everyone can step up this season. Alex Cobb has been pitching well in his two starts but has not collected the run support from his bats.

Desmond Jennings hit his first homer of the year on Wednesday. Evan Longoria was the first Ray to hit a home run this season which has tied him with Carlos Pena for the most all-time in a Ray’s uniform. A handful of Rays have already gone deep this season. The Rays are hitting the ball well but still not hitting good enough with runners in scoring position. Matt Joyce is off to great start once again. Hopefully he can keep it going as his average usually dies as the season continues. James Loney has been providing terrific protection behind Evan Longoria in the Rays lineup. Wil Myers is struggling with the pitches on the outside of the plate. Rays’ fans hope he can figure this out soon enough.

The Reds will bring good pitching to the battle this weekend just like the Rays will. So as long as the Rays bring the bats to Cincinnati they should be golden this weekend. David Price will take the mound on Friday night followed by Alex Cobb on Saturday. The question is who takes the mound on Sunday as Matt Moore is hurt. The Rays also called up OF Kevin Kiermaier from Durham on Friday.