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Jun 5, 2024 7:33 am

Rays’ Zach Eflin set to return from IL in finale vs. Marlins

Zach Eflin

Right-hander Zach Eflin will come off the injured list and pitch on Wednesday evening when his Tampa Bay Rays look for a sweep of their two-game series against the host Miami Marlins.

Eflin (3-4, 4.12 ERA), who hasn’t pitched since May 18 due to lower back inflammation, has struggled in 18 career appearances (17 starts) against the Marlins. He is 5-8 with a 4.91 ERA in those outings.

The Rays are 5-5 this year when starting Eflin, who will be on a pitch count Wednesday.

“We will probably start at the three-inning mark and see how efficient (Eflin) is,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “But Eflin, being who he is and with his track record, we will trust what he tells us coming off the mound.”

Offensively, the Rays are happy to see second baseman Brandon Lowe get untracked.

He hit just .170 with one homer and eight RBIs in 53 at-bats through the end of May. But Lowe has to be feeling better after hitting a three-run homer and a two-run double Tuesday in Tampa Bay’s 9-5 win over Miami.

The Rays also hope Tuesday’s game serves as a breakthrough for left fielder Randy Arozarena, who is hitting just .166.

On Tuesday, he reached base all five times – one hit, two walks and two hit-by-pitches. His on-base average is now .278 and his OPS is .590.

“Getting on base five times allowed me to contribute and support the team,” said Arozarena, who was OK after being struck on the bill of his helmet by a pitch on Tuesday.

Tampa Bay started just one player in the series opener with an OPS north of .800. That’s third baseman Isaac Paredes at .869.

The Marlins, who are just 3-22 against the Rays since the beginning of the 2019 season, will start left-hander Braxton Garrett (2-0, 4.56 ERA) on Wednesday.

Garrett, who has never faced Tampa Bay, has better career numbers on the road (10-7, 3.54 ERA) than at home (6-10, 4.27).

This year, the Marlins are 4-0 when starting Garrett, who has allowed just one run in his past two outings, covering 14 innings.

The Marlins, who have the worst record in the National League at 21-40, showed some fight on Tuesday. They fell behind 9-3 after five innings, but they scored one run in the seventh and one run in the eighth before loading the bases with no outs in the ninth.

And although they couldn’t score in the ninth, Marlins manager Skip Schumaker appreciated the effort.

“There’s never any quit in our dugout,” he said.

Left fielder Bryan De La Cruz hit his team-leading 10th homer of the season on Tuesday and is on track to eclipse his career high in home runs, set last year when he hit 19.

Meanwhile, the Marlins might start catcher Christian Bethancourt on Wednesday. He was activated from the bereavement list Tuesday.

–Field Level Media

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